All Articles Tagged "spanking"
Word on the street is (or via a study that is) that while many people like to play like they’re against spanking or “whoopings” of their kids and don’t discipline them in public, they’re likely lying. Or at least, that’s what I took away from it. *Kanye shrugs* In the study, researchers from Michigan State University anonymously observed the interactions of more than 100 caregivers with children between the ages of three and five outside of a laboratory and in a natural setting, and jotted down their findings. They were surprised to find that more than 23 percent of the caregivers they watched punished the children through “negative touching” aka, old-school discipline, through spanking, arm pulling, pinching and even slapping in public. This happened more than many caregivers have claimed or showed when asked to do lab surveys and experiments on disciplining children. A trip to the mall on the weekend probably could have proved that many folks are fans of public punishment.
Kathy Stansbury, who led the study had this to say about the behavior of these parents:
“I was very surprised to see what many people consider a socially undesirable behavior done by nearly a quarter of the caregivers. I have also seen hundreds of kids and their parents in a lab setting and never once witnessed any of this behavior.”
Well of course not, Kathy. But when they think nobody’s looking, that’s a whole other story.
Also in the study, they found that while mothers did a majority of the tugging, spanking, pinching and slapping in public, fathers did do some form of touching, but it was more on the positive side. The study found that more fathers were trying to calm children and talk to them after-the-fact.
“…researchers said they found that male caregivers touched the children more during discipline settings than female caregivers – and the majority of the time it was in a positive manner. Positive touch included hugging, tickling and patting. She said [Stansbury] this positive approach contradicts the age-old stereotype of the father as the parent who lays down the law.”
In Stanbury’s eyes, fathers who are involved are trying to have more of a say in the disciplining of their kids. So while mothers are usually known as the nurturing type, roles are starting to be flipped as fathers are getting their nurturer on from time to time with more moms becoming disciplinarians. As crazy as that sounds, I could agree somewhat that this is happening more and more these days. My brother and his wife have squabbles often over disciplining my nephew. She’s ready to spank and send him to his room while my brother thinks she needs to cut him slack. Safe to say, he’s spoiled. My own mother did more of the disciplining when it came to us via her red leather belt, while my father did more talking…or better yet, watching TV during those moments.
In the end, Stansbury seems to be anti-public discipline and thinks “positive touching” can go further than straight up embarrassing your child in public. She says that all that quick slapping and spanking doesn’t get the child to comply as easily as parents think. Instead, they spend a good minute sulking and pouting instead of doing what you want or ask:
“If your child is upset and not minding you and you want to discipline them, I would use a positive, gentle touch. Our data found that negative touch didn’t work.”
That’s cool and all, but I’d like to see how Stansbury really handles a rambunctious child when her patience and that whole concept of “positive touching” starts to wear thin…
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We know what a polarizing topic corporal punishment is and the line between those who do and those who don’t is probably about to get a lot thicker now that a study has claimed to have found a link between being spanked as a child and developing a mental illness as an adult.
In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers examined data from more than 34,000 adults and found that being spanked significantly increased the risk of developing mental health issues as adults. Specifically, corporal punishment was associated with mood disorders like depression and anxiety, as well as personality disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. According to investigators, as much as 7 percent of adult mental illness may be attributable to childhood physical punishment, including slapping, shoving, grabbing, and hitting. Furthermore, the study concludes that spanking increases the risk of major depression by 41 percent, alcohol and drug abuse by 59 percent, and mania by 93 percent.
Study author Tracie Afifi, PhD, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, said in a statement:
“We’re not talking about just a tap on the bum, we were looking at people who used physical punishment as a regular means to discipline their children. [This study] definitely points to the direction that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age.”
For the results the researchers observed, it would seem they were talking about physical punishments far more severe than a parent getting a switch and hitting their child with it, but their analysis excluded individuals who reported more severe punishments such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, or exposure to intimate partner violence. Most of us know someone who was regularly disciplined as a child by spankings and was better off for it (heck, we might even be that person), and as one facetious commenter said on a Yahoo write-up of the study:
“In a related study, children who were given no consequences at all for bad behaviors turned out to be psychopaths, sociopaths, and politicians.”
I think studies like this need to be clear about the line between spanking and beating or physically harming your child. I don’t think physical punishment should always be the first choice of discipline but there are times when it’s needed and there was a time when it was socially acceptable without the threat of being labeled a child abuser because of data like this.
Thankfully, psychologist Robert Larzelere, of Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, provided more of a voice of reason when asked to comment on the study by USA Today. He said:
“Certainly, overly severe physical punishment is going to have adverse effects on children, but for younger kids, if spanking is used in the most appropriate way and the child perceives it as being motivated by concern for their behavior and welfare, then I don’t think it has a detrimental effect.
“[This study] does nothing to move beyond correlations to figure out what is actually causing the mental health problems,” he added criticizing the fact that the study relied on adults’ memories of events from years earlier, adding that it’s not clear when punishment occurred. “The motivation that the child perceives and when and how and why the parent uses [spanking] makes a big difference. All of that is more important than whether it was used or not.”
What do you think about this study? Do you think spanking and physical punishment is dangerous to kids’ psyches?
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A new study has confirmed what black people always joke about when it comes to raising our kids: we will spank that behind. A new study from the University of Texas at Austin shows that 89% of African Americans spank their children and are more likely to whip, paddle, and use other physical punishments for discipline.
Black parents aren’t really much further ahead of other ethnic groups in terms of their use of corporal punishment. Numbers from the study show that 80% of Hispanic parents, 79% of Caucasian parents, and 73% of Asian parents have spanked their kids. Still, a host of explanations has been offered as to why this practice is more common among black parents, including the idea that spanking is a tradition “left by the brutality of slavery,” according to a CNN report. Other experts say spanking among black parents is rooted in fear that their child may become disobedient. Data suggesting lower income and less educated black people are more likely to physically punish their children serves to paint a very clear picture of how this practice is viewed by non-African Americans.
Some say there is a fine line between beating and spanking a child, but I think the distinction is quite clear. To propose that black parents spank because they were exposed to beatings as slaves and passed down the tradition, suggests that black parents are regularly beating their children and I don’t believe that to be the case. The mention of poor and uneducated African Americans resorting to spanking also draws images of inarticulate parents who aren’t able to verbally instruct their children without laying hands on them.
If black parents are using physical punishment because somewhere in their lineage an ancestor was whipped, I need to know why significantly more than half of Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian parents also use corporal punishment as part of their parenting strategy. It’s unfair to frame this practice among the black community under the guise of a history of societal oppression. Just because in this day and age parents come under harsh scrutiny for merely popping a child’s hand in the grocery store doesn’t mean we need to look at spanking as a black issue that needs to be fixed. The focus on black parents appears to be just another way to scapegoat us as violent people.
Do you think it’s fair to suggest black parents spank their children more because of the scars of slavery? If so, what is the driving force behind Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian parents’ use of corporal punishment?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
Web sites such as Gawker and The Stir have raised awareness of a viral video showing the sad beating of a teen girl with cerebral palsy. The young woman is attacked by her father with what he himself describes as a “large belt” in the clip for a misdeed that is unclear — but seems to involve something as simple as the girl placing an unwanted program on a computer. The circumstances surrounding this corporeal punishment are complicated further by the fact that the father executing this spanking is allegedly “William Adams, a judge running for re-election in Aransas County, Texas” (The Stir).
Of course this YouTube clip is now being used as a political tool in the region by Adams’ political opponents, who seek to prove that the man is unfit to sit on the bench — particularly if it involves judging child abuse cases. But instead of turning a horrible family drama into fodder for election scandal, this video of a father beating a daughter who already has a physical handicap should raise moral and ethical questions about how to raise a family. These questions are much more important to how we live our daily lives. This clip might be difficult for some of you to watch, but it will get you thinking about the role that physical punishment should or should not play in raising children:
As horrible as this is, I suspect that this level of intensity is often employed by parents, particularly in the south, in order to ensure that their children obey their wishes. In the black community, spanking, beating, “getting out the extension cord,” and cutting limbs off trees to pummel disobedient youngsters is not only common; it is also routinely joked about by stand up comics and our own relatives at family dinners.
On The Stir, a blogger wrote a follow up story about this video full of emotional angst concerning the plight of the young girl pictured above layered on top of her own disbelief that any parent could treat a child this way. In particular, she enumerates in detail her own extensive patience with her six-year-old who she would never beat, not even for engaging in a disruptive temper tantrum. Of her own misbehaving kid, Jeanne Sage writes:
Looking at my daughter’s tear-stained face through eyes clouded by sleep, I softened. I knew her tantrum was over something patently ridiculous, and yet I couldn’t imagine raising a hand to her.
She was acting in a way that she was clearly old enough to understand was inappropriate. And yet, a hand, a foot, a belt on her body weren’t going to make that stop. It would hurt her body and make her distrust me … and distrust the words I was about to use to explain why her actions were so inappropriate. It would effectively negate my ability to actually parent, to teach her to improve her behavior. I’d be hurting her physically now, and hurting myself in the end.
Well, that’s all well and good for you Jeanne. I’m glad you got the opportunity to use someone else’s misfortune to highlight what an excellent parent you are. But that is beside the point really. The real issue is corporeal punishment, it’s limits of effectiveness, and a parent’s judgement regarding how to use it. The relatively of its appropriateness to adults seems to vary according to race, culture and region. And many people say it depends on the kid. Some kids are just really bad and only respond to being spanked.
Of course, the obviously sensitive young lady in this video did not deserve such punishment. But in the privacy of one’s home in which a child is powerless, a girl such as her is at the mercy of a parent who might have horrible judgement about the use of force. It’s very unfortunate that this father, as a judge by profession, has such terrible judgement regarding how to treat his daughter. And the mother is no better. Clearly a situation of dysfunction. I hope William Adams loses the election, and that the loss of his role as a judge of the conduct of others forces him to reflect on his own.
But this is also an instance for all of us to reflect on beating kids. I am personally against parents beating their children for the overwhelming majority of cases. In particular, in the black community there is an issue with corporeal punishment being used too flagrantly, and usually out of proportion to the “crimes” of the child. I am sure many of you are watching this viral video and don’t even think of this as a beating, while on mainstream sites this is seen as outrageously violent. What does this say about the overuse of spanking among blacks?
In considering this relativity of opinion, would you re-classify some of the treatment you witnessed and received as a child as abuse? What do you think of the video and the use of force against a disabled child who is disobedient?
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Editor’s Note: Another writer of ours recently wrote about how spanking is not necessarily the right way to discipline a child. LaShaun Williams has a different take on that…
Spanking has become a highly debated form of discipline in recent times, with some arguing swats on the bottom are crimes. A generation ago, most kids felt the sting of a belt. Now, it’s time out. As with everything pertaining to kids, the effectiveness of discipline depends on the child.
Timid, approval-seeking kids are usually good with a time-out. But there are some children who like to push their limits. Those are the children who may require a pop. Knowing your child is the key to nailing down the most effective forms of discipline. While some studies have shown the negative effects of spanking, today’s disrespectful youth have shown what happens when necessary spanking is forgone. Controlled, purposeful spanking is not abuse. Impulsive spanking out of anger and frustration is abusive. Believe it or not, it is not unrealistic to teach a child to obey the first time—tough but not impossible.
If you’re not spanking and you have a child who is testing you time and time again, you may want to consider picking out a switch before he (or she) ends up on Beyond Scared Straight. Here’s why:
“Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is the proverb that most parents turn to when justifying a form of discipline that is most likely heavily influenced by memories of their own upbringing. You were “whooped” when you were a child and you turned out alright, right? But in fact this quote isn’t completely correct. The truth is any success you’ve experienced as an adult has less to do with a rod to the rear than you think.
The old adage is actually an adaptation from King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs and states: “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Proverbs 13:24)” When translated exactly, this means that if you choose not to use corporal punishment then you must hate your children, but if you love them then you should hit them, at least sometimes. The truth is that if there is anything that discipline is NOT about, it’s hate.
Effective discipline begins with a true understanding of the difference between punishment and discipline. Punishment is a negative consequence for inappropriate behavior. It’s often a first resort because it’s a quick and easy response to penalize improper conduct. It’s much easier and quicker to yell or slap a child that is playing in the street or acting out instead of sitting down and explaining why that behavior was wrong. Punishment paints the parent as a harsh dictator rather than as a respected authority. It’s important to assess why you’re disciplining your child. Is the occasional cuss out really teaching your child why the behavior is wrong, or is it simply cathartic for you? If your child isn’t the only one who ends up throwing a tantrum, the only thing you’re teaching is that concern is best expressed as anger. Children who are punished learn that the ones that love you the most are also the ones to hurt you and that violence is the first alternative when things don’t go as they should.