Corporal Punishment in Schools: Why is this still a thing? Podcast episode 244

This is the only kind of paddling your child should ever be exposed to.

Recently one of the moms in my parent coaching community wrote in to share that her 4-year-old sons were about to start school… in a preschool-through-12th-grade school where corporal punishment is used.

“I can’t imagine [my boys] doing anything that would warrant a paddling, but I could not make myself check that box saying it was okay,” she wrote in our forums.

She then shared that, if parents check the “no, don’t spank my kid” box, children are exposed to other punishments such as a 3-day suspension and zeros on any assignments missed!

I was shocked. In every state there are laws against striking people in prisons and in the military; in most every state it’s illegal to strike an animal.

But it turns out that in 19 states, it’s okay to strike a child in school.

Come down the rabbit hole with me, into the world of corporal punishment.
It’s a world that might be much closer to you than you ever imagined.

Go to for:

  • Links to the articles I discuss today
  • The video I made recently about what to do when your young child wants to do everything all by him or herself… but can’t, and then has a fit
  • Also to hear my story about being in a flash flood this week!! I talk about that during the break. It was scary, that’s for sure!

And thank you so much for listening!

Here is this week’s YouTube live video:


3 Things to know about corporal punishment and your child

In a nutshell:

  1. It’s legal in 19 states.
    So like the Ninja Parenting Community member who first brought this idea up for me, you may be living in a state where corporal punishment is allowed… and know this: where it’s allowed, it is used.

2. It is damaging to children and families.
Study after study after study, for decades, has shown this to be true. Kids who get hit as punishment learn that might makes right; they more frequently go on to hit their own children, perpetuating this cycle; and they are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
See below in the Key Links section for the articles that I quote in this episode.

3. Any supposed “lessons” taught by corporal punishment can easily and effectively be taught without it.

If you need help with this I have something to offer! Included in Ninja Parenting Community membership is access to the Streamline Your Whole Life Challenge, and one part of that is focused on how to work effectively with caregivers or teachers.

Click here to find out more about NPC membership!


Key Links


Click here for episode 107, the conversation I got to have with the (at the time) sitting president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Benard Dreyer.

Click here for the episode I did that includes my live story about dealing with the traumatic events around adopting, and then needing to give away, two dogs.

This article, Why Are 19 States Still Allowing Corporal Punishment in Schools?, gives details and facts about corporal punishment that you may not know, and certainly that I didn’t know until I read it.

From a nonprofit organization called comes this article, attempting to make an argument both for, and against, corporal punishment in schools.
While I am completely impressed that this organization exists, this particular article didn’t work for me because, on the surface, it looks like there’s a case to be made for corporal punishment in schools. But when you read, you realize that on the pro side you hear from three individual people, and on the con side study after study after study shows the dangers and detriments of corporal punishment. It feels like, though unintentionally, the article ends up justifying corporal punishment. Still, an interesting read; click here to check it out.

Here is an article about one high school in which corporal punishment is offered to students as a form of punishment.
The article above, at, bases one entire point (of 3) on this article, and makes a specious argument that “most kids choose corporal punishment”… I found it really frustrating, as you’ll hear when you listen to today’s episode. Click here to read this article for yourself.

Click here for episode 243, my conversation with Jonathan Greene. In the aftermath of the flashlight I was in last week, listening to this episode helped me so much (I share about this in today’s break.)

Click here for the #AmWriting with Jess and KJ podcast, where last week I learned that it was possible to change my twitter name (now it’s @weturnedoutokay. Isn’t that cool?)

Need help with your reluctant reader?

Click here for my concise roadmap to helping your child love reading




If you need practical advice to deal with your child’s bad behavior, work closely with me and learn some fantastic Parent Ninja Tactics so you can feel happy inside and truly enjoy family time… join the Ninja Parenting Community! Click here.

Click here for the free 5-part podcast series on how to get good weeknights with kids.

Join the private WTOO Facebook group… Click here!

Click here for the We Turned Out Okay Facebook page.
And click here for the EXTRA Magic Words videos exclusively for We Turned Out Okay Patreon patrons.

Click here for the Karen Lock Kolp page in YouTube, where you’ll find helpful videos (like this one on what to do when your child is jumping on the couch for your attention, at the worst possible time.)

If you get good value from We Turned Out Okay, please rate and review the show! That helps others find us, so they can get good help too.
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What’s frustrating you right now in your parenting?

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NPC Parent Coaching Community Membership helps you through:
– Live, members-only calls where you get solutions to your toughest parenting challenges
– Courses on everything from stopping sibling rivalry to what to do instead of spanking
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