Thursday, June 16, 2011

I was spanked and I turned out OK!

It's a familiar argument. Yes, I was spanked and I did turn out "ok"but I think I turned out ok in spite of being spanked. My mother had no other tools to discipline an active child. My father said he remembered being spanked nearly every day of his life until he was twelve. His parents believed that was the biblical thing to do. Yet the research is unequivocal; spanking, smacking or otherwise hitting a child can cause emotional and psychological problems down the road. Even in an otherwise loving home, spanking can breakdown the relationship of trust and feelings of safety with the child's parents. One child was quoted as saying to her parent, "If you love me why did you hit me?" Children clearly understand the mixed messages of love and pain; that the only way to resolve a problem is to hit. It is a curious phenomenon to me that we have laws in our country that protect adults and animals from being hit but not our children.

Spanking (otherwise known as corporal punishment or hitting) was the key topic at the first ever, international Global Summit to End Corporal Punishment held in Dallas, Tx in early June. It was an honor for me to attend because I finally met many people with whom I've been communicating and following over the years. They are movers, shakers and staunch advocates for children; researchers, professors, educators, parent educators and parents.

What inspired me most was hearing two children speak at the conference, one eleven year old girl form Dallas and a seventeen year old young man from New Zealand. They were so empowered, articulate and awe-inspiring. Having "fought the good fight" for many years now, the older generations are encouraging and welcoming children's voices on this pressing issue. I would love to hear from young people about their thoughts and feelings about spanking.!

It is appalling to me that the American Psychological Association and other national organizations that promote the welfare of children will not take on the issue of corporal punishment, although the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement against its use. It has been described as a "conspiracy of silence" in this country and yet other countries are far more ahead in their progress to abolish CP in the schools and in some cases in the home. Amazingly, twenty four of those countries were represented at the conference.

If you're interested in learning more, check out these video interviews on YouTube from the conference of some of the leaders in the abolishment of corporal punishment movement or go to the website End Corporal Punishment to learn what's going on worldwide . I've included a picture of me with Raffi, the popular children's song troubador, advocate for child honoring and Nadine Block, founder of The Center for Effective Discipline.

You can make a difference by choosing positive discipline strategies over corporal punishment in your own home. You can start right now, today. I made the change in my family and I know you can too! If you need ideas or have ideas to share, write a comment .

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