Review Your Day Care Provider’s Practices

The acceptable methods and forms of punishment of children vary widely across time and cultures. In some cultures, physically striking or spanking a child is viewed as an acceptable and effective method of instilling discipline and proper behavior. In others, isolation, removing of privileges or verbal assaults are acceptable.

If your child is with a day care provider for any extended time during the day, the provider will likely be making decisions about punishment. It is important to review with your provider, by the time the child is nine months old, the punishment methods you will and will not allow the provider to administer with your child. If you have any doubts that the provider may stray from your requests, it is a good idea to reduce them to writing and give your day care provider a copy. Pay attention to your child’s account of how and why the children are disciplined. If you have any concerns about the punishment used, immediately request a date to meet privately with your provider (outside the hearing range of the child) to review the situation.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Do laws and regulations on physical punishment of children apply in private school settings? Should the contracts related to my child’s enrollment in a private school address this issue, and should discipline policies be in writing?
  • What is the “gray area” regarding spanking? Should I just avoid spanking if I’m involved in a situation such as a custody dispute where it could become an issue?
  • Does our school district allow for physical punishment? If district policy allows it, can I, as a parent of a student, forbid school personnel from touching my child in such a manner?
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