Monday, April 26, 2010

Is spanking child abuse? If it is so good for the child and not the parents where is the proof?

I read the article below and thought good for Casey! I am glad she recognizes that she had really great parents.

I personally give up hope of ever changing someone's mind who is already made up...if this is true and 90% of Americans believe this way then I am just ashamed that I didn't raise my children in another wonder we have children shooting each other in the schools...why we are building more detention centers and prisons than just makes me so sad to think we can't understand children who bully, when we are a society of adult bullies. M Kay Keller

Posted on Sat, Apr. 24, 2010

Spanking is not a `right'


As a native of the South, I come from a part of the country where people believe in the power and effectiveness of spanking.

When my dad was a child, he faced regular reckonings with a doubled-over belt. My maternal grandmother favored switches culled from a bush in the front yard.

Fortunately for me, my parents generally spared the rod, despite cultural support of the practice. I've never thanked them for having mercy on my hide, but I think I should, considering new research on what often happens to kids who are spanked.

A recently released Tulane University study found that children who were spanked regularly at 3 years old were significantly more likely to be mean, destructive and to bully at the age of 5. The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, is only the latest of many to show that spanking is linked to greater aggression in children.

The practice has always seemed senseless to me, an opinion undoubtedly shaped by my parents' restraint.

How can you hit a child, and then tell him it's wrong to hit others?

How is it ``domestic abuse'' for my husband to slap me repeatedly, but merely ``corporal punishment'' for him to do the same to our son? Professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly oppose it.

Many of my relatives back home would surely dismiss such talk as a bunch of citified hogwash. It's clear their views are in the mainstream.

Surveys have found that up to 90 percent of American parents believe in spanking. In the Tulane study, more than half of the nearly 2,500 kids had been spanked in the month before they participated.

It's easy to divine why many parents believe spanking works. It's certainly the quickest way to achieve compliance from a screaming, obstinate toddler. But that rapid obedience is deceptive. It masks a fear and shame that frequently overwhelm a child's understanding of why their behavior was wrong.

Plus, the results are often fleeting; research has shown that spanking often produces only temporary acquiescence. The defiance returns, and the spanking with it.

Corporal punishment and its potential for long-term emotional harm have become a topic of great debate abroad. Two dozen countries, including Israel, Germany and Norway, have outlawed it under any circumstances, even in the home.

Sweden became the first country to institute a spanking ban in 1979. In the years before it was outlawed, some 53 percent of Swedes believed corporal punishment was necessary.

By 1994, only 11 percent supported spanking. The law helped make striking children socially unacceptable.

There ought to be a law in the United States against spanking, too. It might achieve what years of scientific studies have not: a widespread change in parental attitudes toward physical discipline.

Our society reserves the weakest protections for its most vulnerable citizens. Americans tend to recoil at the thought of government intrusion in the family domain.

And even many parents who don't spank think they should have that option if they decide it's necessary. But that's just it: We shouldn't have the ``right'' to hit a child.

The United Nations has framed its opposition to any kind of corporal punishment as an issue of human rights, which sounds, as they say back home, awfully highfalutin' for something as seemingly mundane as a smack on a child's rear. Yet what these studies are telling us -- and what our children would tell us, if they could -- is that spanking hurts more than we think.

The word ``discipline'' comes from the Latin root disciplina, meaning ``to teach.'' Discipline should build character.

Spanking, science has amply shown us, does not.

It creates fear. And, it turns out, aggression toward others. Our kids suffer, and society is no better for it.

Casey Woods, a former Miami Herald reporter, lives in South Florida.

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