Sorry for the long long silence.  I’ve had to juggle some things that have pulled me away from the computer. This week we are going to talk about spanking. People spank. Americans spank. They spank fairly frequently when you are talking about coping with young and very young children. In some families hitting, slapping, and beating are continued well beyond childhood. In my opinion, the extent to which hitting a person who is nearly an adult is a potentially immediately dangerous situation does not need to be explained. What about the extent to which hitting a small child or a school-age child is dangerous or unwise?

Consider the following statements:

“A good deal of research … shows that anything beyond very mild physical punishment does not work … and has negative consequences.  While not all child development experts agree, my advice … is to avoid physical punishment altogether; there are simply more effective ways to teach and discipline your child.” Alan Kazdin, PhD., parent, child development researcher, clinician, past president of the American Psychological Association (2008)

WHEREAS, overwhelming evidence suggests that other methods of discipline work better like setting reasonable rules and standards, correcting children in a respectful, non-violent and consistent manner, praise and reward for appropriate behavior. From a Proclamation calling for a ban on school corporal punishment 12-04 by African American Leaders (politicians, church leaders, community leaders, civil rights advocates)

The next section is based on Michelle Knox’s paper published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Vol. 24, ppg. 103 -107.  2010.  Dr. Knox is the Director of the ACT Raising Safe Kids Program, Midwest II Regional Center and psychologist on the faculty of the Univ. of Toledo College of Medicine in Toledo, Ohio. Her paper was summarized by Marilyn W. Edmunds, PhD, CRNP. You can view the article by Dr. Edmunds athttp://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/718765

Dr. Knox used a statistical analysis to summarize 80 studies. The results showed that physical punishment was associated with increased aggressive and antisocial behavior in children, poorer parent/child relationships, poorer mental health in children. Physical punishment increased the chances of physical abuse of children, and later violent or otherwise criminal behavior as the children grew into adulthood. The youngest children tended to suffer the most abuse.

One more point to ponder. I have directly quoted the words of Dr. Edmunds below:

In 2006, the United Nations (UN) adopted a policy banning CP of children, maintaining that “No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable.”Leading reformers in the UN are outraged that only the United States and Somalia failed to ratify UN documents against CP in children, even though the death rate from maltreatment for US children younger than 15 years is 10 to 15 times higher than the average death rate in other wealthy nations.

What do these findings and the conclusions of these experts mean to you?

Some parents have come to our  group and some parents come to this page to find new ways of thinking about raising children. These parents know what they thought and felt as a child. They want to find new ways of parenting. Most parents who want to learn new ways of parenting love their parents even if they were hit or threatened as children. Most parents felt loved and most do not judge their parents. These parents who are seeking change only want to feel less angry. They want to feel less out of control and they want to find a way to raise their child without fear.

What does it take to not fall back on your power as an adult to frighten a child into doing what you have decided they need to do? How do you help a child learn with turning to violence?

What difference will it make for you or for your child if you don’t hit?