Lots of parents like the idea of physical punishment because if there is pain associated with the punishment then the kids wont want to misbehave, right? However, the problem is that physical discipline is not as effective as other means of discipline like the loss of privileges or even a time out. Even critics of these methods believe they are just as effective as spanking. So, why would anyone want to physically discipline their children? Its an amazing question, but the answer is that many parents still do and they wonder when does physical discipline cross the line to abuse.
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. You cant say that five licks of the belt are ok and six is when abuse begins. Its just not like that. In fact, when discipline crosses the line to abuse really depends on the situation. However, if you have to ask yourself when the line is crossed then you probably shouldnt be physically disciplining your child. If you dont know when you have started abusing your child then you are simply not paying very good attention.
If you are physically disciplining your child then you should never hit your child hard enough to leave a mark. Since its hard to gauge exactly how hard that it then you probably shouldnt hit your child at all. The point of physical discipline is to cause pain to help the child learn to behave but abuse occurs when too much pain is caused. When is too much pain caused? Its a very fine line and a difficult one to determine.
Since it is so hard to determine where discipline crosses the line to abuse, and thats not just physical discipline either, its a good idea to implement discipline styles that cannot be taken too far. For example, punishments should be discussed by the family so everyone knows what punishment will be doled out for certain behaviors. So, if the kids know that when they misbehave the lose phone privileges for a week everyone is on the same page and the parents dont risk letting their anger interfere.
As a parent consider what is best for your child and your family and you will see that discipline is important, but it should never be taken too far. Then you can make a plan to ensure that it never is. Doing this will ensure the safety and happiness of your children.