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When Does Corporal Punishment and Discipline of Children Go to Far?

By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In Alabama and other States, children will at times misbehave and disobey instructions by parents or guardians. While it is appropriate to punish punish or discipline a child for bad behavior, it is important for parents and caregivers to recognize and understand that physical forms of punishment can lead to serious personal injuries in some instances the unfortunate and tragic death of a child. It was recently reported that a child died as a result of complications from dehydration relating to punishment that was given to the child for eating a candy bar. The child was forced to run for a three hour time period until the child eventually collapsed from exhaustion and dehydration. Law-enforcement officials have arrested two women who were supervising child at time for crimes related to this incident. See Alabama Girl Dies as a Result of Excessive Discipline. Of course, the women, who were arrested, will be entitled to representation from a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. Cases of this nature will depend on the facts, circumstances, witness statements, and the forensic evidence including the child’s medical records and autopsy and laboratory results.

A parent or guardian does have to discipline a child; however there are bounds and restrictions to the punishment by parents or guardians especially when the punishment is physical in nature and leads to serious personal injuries or the death of child. Unfortunately, many parents and guardians do not realize or recognize the dangers of certain punishment that is given to a child.

What may have been commonplace or acceptable years ago years ago or the parents own personal experience or as a child may be outdated, archaic, and illegal. The fact that a parent or other person was subjected to a particular form of punishment in his or her childhood or as part of the family history is not excuse for conduct that is reckless in nature that places a child at risk for personal injuries and death.

Corporal punishment or a physical form of punishment in schools day care centers reasonable is discouraged by many child safety advocates and pediatricians. The focus of parenting should be that should revolve around instruction, nurturing, and commonsense. The best interests of the child should always be considered by the parent, teache, day care provider, and other child care provider.. The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Child Abuse / Neglect, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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