Is it abusive to punish your child with pushups?

I wonder if the people who think this is a form of child abuse are also opposed to spanking or other forms of corporal punishment.

I’ll be doggoned if a parent, who thinks nothing of whacking their child, actually thinks it’s cruel to use pushups as a form of punishment when that child misbehaves.

For those of you who believe that making kids do pushups as punishment is abuse:

How many of you have made your kids get down on their hands and knees and do household chores for punishment? Is this any less abusive than doing pushups? Think about that.

Household chores can be a real physical drain on a young body. Have you ever made your wispy little kid haul out heavy garbage bags for punishment?

How about vacuuming the floor of the car, raking leaves, shoveling snow, cleaning windows or wiping the baseboards – for punishment?

It’s not uncommon for parents to make their naughty kids perform household chores or yard work for punishment.

Yet household chores are actually dirtier to do, and more stressful to the body in many ways, than are pushups, especially when equipment (e.g., vacuum cleaner, weed whacker) is used.

Pushups are the foundation of any good physical fitness program.

They are performed in the military by the millions, and are used by personal trainers as part of a fitness assessment.

I was a personal trainer for five years at a gym, and though my clients were adults (though I’ve had some teen clients), from a physical standpoint, it is perfectly safe for kids to do pushups  — but what about for punishment?

If the parent screams and hollers at his child to do pushups for punishment, this is out of line, extreme, and shows lack of control on the part of the parent.

Be cool and collected.

Can pushups lose their effectiveness with misbehaving children?

This is possible if your child, on the sly, practices pushups.

It’s also possible if every chance the parent gets, she or he doles out a session of this exercise to teach a lesson.

A young body will adapt to this exercise eventually.

If that happens, no problem: Have your child add a squat jump at the end of the pushup!

The entire move is called a “burpee.” You go down in the pushup, then back up, then quickly spring your feet and hands close together on the floor to prepare for a vertical jump from a squatting position.

After coming down from the jump, you do another pushup.

This raises the intensity level considerably.

Don’t be afraid of making your kids do pushups for punishment; they will gain physical fitness along the way, won’t get bruised, and it is not against the law; you cannot be arrested.

Just keep a calm, controlled demeanor, then follow up with an explanation of why the misbehavior was wrong, and what your child should have done instead that would have been the smarter choice.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: Shutterstock/Sergey Novikov