A reader looks for positive ways to address negative behaviors in children, instead of spanking:

I agree with you that spanking can cause aggressive behavior and that it absolutely should be outlawed in our schools!

Modeling positive behavior is the first step, and rewarding children’s positive behavior is the second, but you only want to go so far with this. We don’t want our children only being good to get a reward, there is a fine line to walk here.

What is left out of this blog post is that there does need to be consequences for negative behavior.  Simply ignoring a wrongdoing does not tell a child that what they did was wrong. They need to make up for that action in some way and there are a lot of positive ways to do that.


Another reader agrees that being positive has its virtues right up to that “fine line”:

While I don’t think paddling or spanking in schools is the answer, I have to wonder what type of punishment should be allowed and will work to instill some healthy fear and respect for authority.  Positive reinforcement is great but I don’t believe that it is a deterrent for bad behavior.  Quite the opposite.  Many kids today do not fear consequences and they don’t respect school faculty.

I was raised in the “children are seen, not heard — respect your elders — respect authority — if you misbehave, there are consequences” generation.  If you misbehaved at school, the punishment at home would be waiting — parents believed what teachers and principals told them and didn’t automatically jump to defend their children regardless of what the child was accused of.

Today kids aren’t afraid of anyone or anything.  The worst they have to fear is having their iPhone, television in their bedroom or iPad taken away.  Or maybe the car for a few days.  Come on!   There are much bigger problems that need to be dealt with — spoiled, disrespectful kids who have way too much control over parents and other adults and who often feel the world owes them a living.

I’m much more afraid of the lack of discipline I see in kids today.  And I think the parents are to blame.  They’re too busy, too afraid, too lazy to parent.  Now the schools can’t discipline kids either.  Of course they can suspend or expel them, but do you think the kids consider that punishment?

So what is the answer?  Of course I’m talking about a minority of kids, right??


Yes, we’re talking about a minority of kids.  A vast majority of kids are actually great!  They are a direct and clear reflection on the great job their parents do to raise them.  It doesn’t take many kids who misbehave to spoil things for everyone else.  And when that happens, people are naturally going to point their fingers and blame their parents.

Another reader asks:

Do we have a list of the states [that allow corporal punishment in schools]? Is Pennsylvania one of them?

Not in Pennsylvania.  According to ABCNews, the states that allow corporal punishment in schools are:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming.