Ear pulling is a technique for technique for corporal punishment (usually for children) in which a child's earlobe or earlap is taken between one's thumb and index finger and is pulled, causing pain. The person can also use that grip to force their charge to walk, stand up, sit down, etc.
Ear pulling is typically used for either of three purposes:
- To get an unwilling child to comply - the ear is pulled or twisted to subject the person to immediate and steadily increasing pain until the child submits verbally.
- As a painful and humiliating way to pull/drag the person somewhere, e.g. to a place where an offense has been committed, or to a place where punishment will be given.
- To cause severe pain to the child as a punishment - Since the twisting or pulling of the child's ear hurts a lot more than beating or slapping, some parents just twist or pull their child's ear as hard as possible if any offense has been committed so that the child is forced to scream/cry in pain.
The pulling can be slowly but firmly in any direction, e.g. upwards, downwards or sideways; it can also involve pinching or twisting the earlobe to cause a sharper pain. Twisting the ear is relatively more popular. A very humiliating and painful method is to grab the ear of a child, then then jerk the ear up and down very hard consecutively. Some parents even grab their child's ears and pull them upwards so hard that child is raised off the ground.
Since the pain caused is in directly relation to the force of the pull, the child will usually do their best to not resist the pulling grip but to follow it, even if this requires awkward moves and poses (such as standing on tiptoes or with one's head held at an odd angle). However, twisting the child's ear is more popular and more painful as any pose the child does will still cause cause excruciating pain. If the ear is either twisted or pulled, in both cases the ear will continue to ache for at least five minutes and will become red and sore for some time.
Positive and negative effects
Twisting of the ear is a humiliating an painful way to punish a child. Since it hurts a lot more than slapping or hitting, it is often used by parents to quickly control their children in various situations. Some parents prefer twisting or pulling their child's ear as the parent can face the child while twisting their ears. Although extremely painful for the child if done hard, a quick and hard twist or pull will not damage the ear.
However the ear is very delicate. Twisting or pulling the ear too hard can create stretch marks on the back of the ear and bleeding is occasional. Also if the ear is pulled or twisted too hard, hearing loss can occur and the ear may get disfigured.
Although there are disadvantages, a quick twist or pull gives little to no physical damage.
In some countries, twisting the ear to cause severe pain to a child who had erred is a traditional punishment. A common place is West Bengal in India where children normally get their ears twisted or pulled by the parent as punishment.
Although traditional families still twist and pull their child's ears, the numbers are reducing. A violent twist or pull by an angry parent or teacher can cause extremely severe pain that child normally does not deserve to receive due to an error. A mildly hard twist or pull by an angry parent or teacher can make a child scream or yell in pain and crying is also a common aftermath.
"School for boys", painting by Philippe Mercier (1738).
"Ein verkanntes Genie", painting by Gerard Portielje.
Cartoon drawing by Th. Th. Heine from Simplicissimus (1903).
Drawing by Davcha.
Drawing by Arthur Thiele.
- Come Along For Your Spanking, ear pulling photo (M/F) on The Spanking Blog
- Drømmen - a 2006 Danish movie in which an abusive headmaster pulls a boy's ear so hard he nearly rips it off
- Ear pulling photo (F/F, ), close up
- Vintage caricature (untitled drawing by Grandjouan L’Assiette au beurre n° 155, 19/3/1904, FF/m)
- Mother punishing son (stock photo)
- Teacher pinching ear of female student (stock photo)
- M pulling a boy's ear (stock photo); more close up
- M pulling a boy's ear (stock photo)