Friday, July 1, 2011

Study found spanking in real time on audio tapes

Here's an interesting story on ABC News of a study done by Dr. George Holden at SMU in Dallas. He was the coordinator of the Global Summit to End Corporal Punishment and Promote Positive Discipline. The study was actually trying to find out how many times parents yelled at their kids during the day, only to find out after listening to the audio tapes that they also captured when parents spanked or slapped their children. What was shocking to the researchers was that parents resorted to hitting for very minor infractions frequently; like one child was insistent about turning the page of a book that the mother was reading to him and she became annoyed so she slapped him. To me, it shows such a lack of understanding of children and a need to dominate the child's spirit. As you watch, let the commercials run because there are other little clips of related stories.

I have a confession to make. There was a time thirty blah, blah years ago when I used to believe spanking was necessary. Of course I would believe that, I was spanked...a lot... and everyone I knew growing up was spanked. However, I found it very interesting that before my mother passed away, and before I had children, she said " Now don't spank my grandbabies!" I thought, wow, after all the times she spanked me, something changed in her and what she said always stayed with me and it changed me too.

Now this little mantra runs through my mind and I don't know if it came from me or I heard it somewhere but here goes: "Humans aren't for hitting and children are human too. " We have laws to protect adults and animals from being hit but there are no laws to protect children. What does that say about us as a society?

If you spank now it's never too late to change and repair your relationship with your child. There are many other alternatives that begin with being more empathic with your child and seeing the world through their eyes not adult eyes and realizing they have precious little spirits that need to be respected and nourished with love, even more so when they seem out of control. At the heart of positive discipline is your relationship! So rather than overreact, assume your child's behavior is reflecting how they feel inside and try to understand her feelings. Is she tired, hungry, frustrated, feeling disconnected from you? Give you and your child time to cool off before talking about what happened. It is the perfect opportunity to reconnect and to teach boundaries and feelings of self and others. When you punish you miss all these opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, young children do not yet have the brain capacity to control overwhelming feelings; they learn how to regulate these powerful feelings from you, the parent, which means if you are calm, it will help calm them. Then when they are older, over the age of five, they have better developed capacities to self-regulate.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your comments.

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