Toward effective discussion of discipline and corporal punishment during primary care visits: Findings from studies of doctor-patient interaction

Lawrence S Wissow, Debra Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Corporal punishment is widely practiced despite evidence of its harm to children. Clinicians can more effectively counsel alternatives if they: are clear in their own minds about the risks of corporal punishment and its boundaries with reportable child maltreatment; appreciate parents' justifications for corporal punishment and offer corresponding alternatives; demonstrate their interest and expertise in matters of child behavior and family dynamics; practice communication techniques that elicit discussion of psychosocial topics and facilitate mutual problem solving; let parents take the lead in tailoring alternative disciplinary strategies to the family's unique needs; start early helping parents understand child behavior in general and their child's temperament and development in particular. Clinicians as a group should demonstrate a united stand against the use of violence within families. Both undergraduate and continuing medical education should involve training in communication skills in general and problem- solving techniques in particular. Pediatricians need more time during their training to learn about child behavior and family dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
Issue number4 II
Publication statusPublished - 1994



  • corporal punishment
  • family violence
  • parent-child relation
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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