Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Dianne Williams


There is a thin line between discipline, corporal punishment and excessive corporal punishment which is reflected in the differences in disciplinary tactics used in various world cultures. In this regard, international law, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959 and local law such as Jamaica’s Child Care and Protection Act of 2004, serve to set the parameters of propriety in dealing with discipline as well as the excesses, which constitute corporal punishment. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenology study was to explore parents’ perspectives on using corporal punishment as a form of discipline with their children when they misbehaved at home. The participants in this study consisted of nine parents who were born in Kingston, Jamaica but live in the United States (Kingstonian Parents). The results of the study revealed that many of the parents believed that discipline meant spanking the child, sometimes with an object, taking things away from the child, home rules, correcting a certain action, and punishing a child verbally and or physically. All the parents reported that they received corporal punishment as a form of discipline from their parents. Also, all the parents reported that they used corporal punishment as a form of discipline with their own children. There is ongoing debate on this issue, and parents and communities can benefit from culturally competent and appropriate education to potentially change their attitudes towards the acceptance of corporal punishment as a form of discipline.