Child Discipline and Physical Abuse in Immigrant Latino Families: Reducing Violence and Misunderstandings


  • Lisa Aronson Fontes

    Corresponding author
    • Psychology Department, Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01109 (e-mail:

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    • Lisa Aronson Fontes directs the school counseling graduate programs at Springfield College, Springfield, Missouri, and is a counselor, trainer, and consultant on cultural issues in violence, research, and intervention.


This article examines common areas of misunderstanding between professionals and low-income Latino families concerning issues of physical abuse. It argues that low-income immigrant children deserve the same protection from harsh physical punishment as all other children. This ar ticle suggests culturally competent ways for counselors to work with Latino families to eliminate all forms of violence toward children including corporal punishment. Finally, this article argues that the systemic stresses on low-income Latino immigrant families must be acknowledged and reduced when addressing child discipline and abuse.