Outlaw Physical Punishment of Children

Target: United States Congress

Goal: Make physical punishment of children illegal

Seventy percent of American parents admit to having spanked their children, even though physical punishment is associated with increased mood disorders, behavioral problems, and lower academic performance. Stop this outrage by petitioning Congress to make hitting children illegal.

Research shows that children who are spanked, even in the absence of more severe abuse, are more likely to have mental health disorders, substance abuse problems, and behavioral issues. They also tend to perform more poorly in school. Additionally, many experts say spanking is ineffective because it does not teach the child better ways of acting. Despite all this, physical punishment remains extremely common in the United States, both in the home and in some schools.

Medical associations are increasingly calling for parents to use kinder forms of discipline. The American Association of Pediatrics tells parents not to use physical punishment because it encourages aggressive behavior, and recommends a mixture of positive reinforcement and non-physical discipline such as time-outs.

Thirty three countries have already banned all corporeal punishment, including countries such as Germany, Spain, and Sweden. In the United States, it is illegal to physically discipline prisoners or other adults, yet children are denied this same protection. While spanking an adult would be considered sexual assault, spanking a child is protected by the law in many states.

Stop this outrage. Protect American children by petitioning Congress to make corporeal punishment illegal.


Dear Members of Congress,

Children in America deserve to grow up free of unnecessary pain, fear, and anxiety. Unfortunately, even though corporeal punishment has been consistently linked to health and behavioral problems, and even though it is illegal to physically punish adults and even prisoners, children are denied protection. Please stop this atrocity and make corporeal punishment illegal.

Medical associations such as the American Association of Pediatrics have long discouraged physical punishment such as spanking. Research shows that such punishment is associated with mental health disorders, substance abuse problems, behavioral issues, and poorer academic performance. Additionally, research also shows that it is often ineffective because it does not teach children better ways of behaving. There is no reason to subject children to painful and embarrassing punishment when it also harms them in the long run.

Congress is responsible for protecting basic human rights, particularly for those who cannot protect themselves. Legislation has already outlawed corporeal punishment of spouses, employees, and even prisoners, even though such punishment was previously quite common. Children are even more vulnerable and impressionable than any of these other groups, and it is well past time to extend protection to them as well.

Stop allowing children to be subjected to unnecessary pain and discomfort. Make corporeal punishment of children illegal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dee’lite

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One Comment

  1. Aaron Johnson says:

    Spanking is not cool!
    All corporeal punishment has to go. I wish all corporeal punishment is prohibited forever.
    If I get my calculations correct, all corporeal punishment will be a thing of a past.
    Imagine a world without corporeal punishment. Raising children without corporeal punishment is a good thing.
    I just can’t wait to finally enjoy the world without corporeal punishment.

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