Posts Tagged behaviour

US report show clear connection between abuse and physical punishment

July 3, 2009

Report on physical punishment in the United States: What research tells us about its effects on children

An extensive report from the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, USA on the effects of physical punishment on children clearly shows connections between physical abuse in later life and physical punishment as a child.

Published last year (2008) the main goal of the report is to provide a concise review of the empirical research to date on the effects physical punishment has on children. It was created for parents and others who care for children, professionals who provide services to them, those who develop policy and programmes that affect children and families, interested members of the public, and children themselves.

The report’s author, Elizabeth T Gershoff, an associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan, received her doctoral degree in Child Development and worked for five years at the National Centre for Children in Poverty at Columbia University.

Her current research focuses on the impacts of parenting and violence exposure on child and youth development over time and within the contexts of families, schools, neighbourhoods and social policies.

The research supports several conclusions:

– There is little research evidence that physical punishment improves children’s behaviour in the long term.

– There is substantial research evidence that physical punishment makes it more, not less, likely that children will be defiant and aggressive in the future.

– There is clear research evidence that physical punishment puts children at risk for negative outcomes, including increased mental health problems.

– There is consistent evidence that children who are physically punished are at greater risk of serious injury and physical abuse.

It also reveals that mounting research evidence shows that physical punishment of children is an ineffective parenting practice comes at a time of decreasing support for physical punishment within the United States and around the world.

The majority of American adults are opposed to physical punishment by school personnel. An increasing number of Americans (now at 29 percent) are opposed to physical punishment by parents. At the same time, there is a growing momentum among other countries to enact legal bans on all forms of physical punishment, bolstered by the fact that the practice has come to be regarded as a violation of international human rights law.

The clear connections between physical abuse and physical punishment that have been made in empirical research and in the child abuse statutes of several states in the US suggest that reduction in parents’ use of physical punishment should be included as integral parts of state and federal child abuse prevention efforts.

This is good parental correction? What happened to adult self-control?

June 23, 2009

Media Statement                         23 June 2009

Promoters of the referendum on child discipline must be truly desperate if they are willing to make a father who repeatedly pushes over his seven year-old their new poster-boy for “a smack as a part of good parental correction”, says The Yes Vote.

“The no vote campaign would have used the so-called ‘ear-flick’ Dad as their example of supposed injustice against parents until he was convicted of punching his child in the face.

“Now they are pointing to an angry father, who pleaded guilty to assault, as a ‘great Dad’.

“We all get tired and frustrated as parents, but actions such as those described are anything ‘good parental correction’.  They are a loss of adult self-control, pure and simple.

“If ever there was an example of why the new child discipline law is a step in the right direction to creating a society in which violence towards children is no longer tolerated, this has to be it.

“A Yes Vote in the referendum is a vote to ensure children and adults are protected equally.”

  • Contact: Deborah Morris-Travers  Tel 0274 544 299

Dianne DeSantis: What is being taught by hitting?

June 4, 2009

Dianne DeSantis asks in The Examiner,

If a child does not know how to behave, how did they learn that behavior? Should a parent be allowed to hit a child because of the way he or she behaves?

Think about these questions. Would you be motivated to change your behavior because someone hit you? Why or why not? Would you feel violated? What makes hitting a child different than hitting an adult? What is being taught by hitting, spanking, or threatening?

The short term effect from spanking is that children will learn to avoid the behavior, avoid the parent, or how to be sure the parent does not see or learn about undesirable behaviors, but not to reason, think for themselves, or make better decisions.

The long term effects are embedded memories of either mild discomfort to pain, violent behavior, an unpleasant experience, confusion, stress, animosity among family members, unhappiness, sadness, fear, emotional reactivity, dislike for the facilitator, low self esteem, learned avoidant behaviors, and the most profound emotion attached to spanking or physical harm is anger. Many people who are taught to behave appropriately by way of spanking, threats, or physical harm become angry adults.

The whole article poses important questions about the effectiveness of physical punishment on children, and is well worth a read.

Parenting Tip: Structure and security

May 21, 2009

You can help prevent unacceptable behaviour by making sure you don’t put your child into situations which are likely to trigger it.

Children are naturally curious. If you put a small child into a room full of china ornaments, for example, they won’t be able to resist touching them.

Ways of preventing unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour include:

  • child-proofing play spaces and removing breakable things
  • providing several kinds of toys to avoid conflicts
  • varying the tempo of routines to suit each child’s temperament,
  • using calming rituals such as stories, songs or rocking,
  • re-focusing your child’s attention onto interesting , safe and acceptable activities

We need to guide our children’s behaviour so they learn what behaviour is appropriate in the different situations they find themselves in—and what behaviour is not appropriate.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Try to understand how your child thinks and feels

May 10, 2009

Try to understand how your child thinks and feels.

When you understand how your child thinks and feels at different stages of their development you are much better equipped to respond to challenging situations in a positive and constructive way.

This knowledge about your child’s development gives you a foundation for problem solving.  Instead of simply reacting in the moment, you can think about what your child’s behaviour means, and where it is leading them.

Often we misinterpret the reasons why children behave as they do.  When we think that they are defying us or trying to make us mad, we respond with anger and punishment.

When we understand that they are doing what they need to do in order to grow into the next stage, we are more likely to respond with the information and support they need.

Remember — each child is unique and will respond differently at each age and stage. The relationships between each parent and each child are also unique.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Conscious parenting

May 7, 2009

Be deliberate and intentional about the baggage we bring to our children’s upbringing.

As parents we often find ourselves doing the same things to our children as our parents did to us — including things we didn’t like when we were children.

That’s because we bring things from our own childhoods into our role as parents. Most of the time that’s fine, but sometimes it means we end up treating our children in ways that are negative and destructive.

Conscious parenting means becoming deliberate and intentional about what we want for our children. It means making choices about what we bring from our own childhoods, and what we choose to leave out.

One of the challenges to conscious parenting is the belief that parenting comes naturally—that it’s automatic and you should just know what to do. This belief doesn’t always allow us to learn from our own experiences, or from the experience of others.

Becoming conscious about parenting practice involves learning from what we do, and changing our behaviour as a result.  When you find something that works, add it to your parenting strategies—then start thinking about another area of parenting you could change.

Remember, parenting is a journey, not a destination, and for every journey you need to be prepared.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Children see, children do

May 1, 2009

Children see, Children do.

Managing behaviour of kids doesn’t have to be a mystery. Stepping into their shoes and seeing the world from their eyes is often quite revealing. That could mean asking yourself why they might be doing what they’re doing and what your own behaviour is saying to them.

Children explore and experiment to find out about the world and their place in it.  They climb, taste, poke, jump, touch and ask a million questions to make sense of what’s around them and learn where their boundaries are.

Guiding all this exploration by making sure they stay safe and have plenty of new things to learn about means you’re helping them develop the skills and understanding they need for the years ahead.

Consistency is the key – always behave in the way you want your children to.

Thanks to Plunket for today’s tip!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please let us know below.


Parenting Tip: Better sleep = better behaviour

April 29, 2009

Would you like your kids to behave better? Make sure they are getting enough sleep.

A recent Finnish study of 280 healthy children showed that children who slept the least were the most likely to display the kind of symptoms associated with ADHD.  The findings suggest that maintaining adequate sleep schedules among children is likely to be important in preventing behavioural symptoms… even an additional 30 minutes per night has been shown to give a major improvement in behaviour.

The Finnish study resonates with another recent study by the University of London which linked sleep problem in children to later emotional and behaviour difficulties.

Thanks to the team at for today’s parenting tip!

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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