Childhood abuse is a social problem that is associated with many negative outcomes later in life such as an increased risk for suicide attempts, depression, and problems with communication skills. Because physical and emotional abuse is significantly correlated, it is often difficult to determine the impact of the physical versus emotional aspects of the maltreatment. Thus, this study explored the extent to which physical and emotional abuse is each associated with parenting attitudes, disciplinary choices, and risk for later abusive parenting. This study also assessed the extent to which deficits in parental empathy that may result from having had a history of abuse may contribute to parenting practices that place parents at risk for later abuse perpetration. To explore these associations, data from two different but demographically similar samples were used (n = 332, n = 181). Participants in both samples were “pre-parents” who were mainly Caucasian, female, and between the ages of 18 and 23. The assessment of the hypotheses was based on correlation and regression analyses. As predicted, a history of physical abuse predicted an increased acceptance of parental physical discipline and more punitive disciplinary choices, while emotional abuse did not have a statistically significant effect. Deficits in parental empathy were associated with an increased acceptance of parental physical discipline and more punitive disciplinary choices. These findings are consistent with previous research which has suggested that the experience of physically abusive parenting influences later parenting responses via the formation of disciplinary attitudes and choices. These findings suggest that deficits in empathy that result from being a victim of abuse may also be associated with increased acceptance of corporal punishment and escalation to violent behavior when faced with a noncompliant child. Some study limitations include the use of a college sample and self-report instruments. Notably, however, working with “pre-parents” can be useful in helping to detect risk factors for abuse perpetration as they might exist prior to parenthood. Additionally, the use of measures with limited face validity and an analog parenting measure in the present study might have minimized impression management and demand effects.