Posts Tagged usa

Physical punishment still legal in schools in many states in the USA

July 20, 2010

Corporal punishment of children in schools has been illegal in New Zealand for 20 years. Most parents would be outraged if they thought their children could be strapped or caned at the discretion of another adult. They would see this form of punishment as unjust, ineffective, unsafe and a breach of children’s rights.

In a short news item from Texas. USA, something called a “paddle” is displayed. This is the implement used in some schools to punish children. It looks like a cricket bat and it is said to be capable of causing tissue injury in the recipient. Physical punishment of children in schools is still legal in some, but not all, states in USA.

In the clip a child advocate argues against the use of physical punishment as colleagues seek to make physical punishment of children illegal in schools in Texas. He argues that hitting children teaches them to hit, is ineffective as a method of teaching children to behave well and is a cruel and degrading form of punishment.

Hopefully more and more New Zealanders know these things and will feel horror on seeing a “paddle”. The “paddle” is a very graphic symbol of violence to children and reflects nothing but misinformation about what adults can do to help children behave well.

The APS Parent guide to helping children manage conflict

January 22, 2010

Understanding some of the stresses that parents undergo in parenting children is an important issue that has received little attention in the recent media debate around a US study on the effectiveness of discipline and smacking children.

Parenting children can be especially challenging during the long summer holidays when families often spend more time together. Warmer weather can also see tempers fray.

Australian Psychological Society (APS) President, Professor Bob Montgomery, said it is helpful for parents to recognise that holiday time, although traditionally for fun and relaxation, can also be quite stressful.

“Children might be squabbling more than usual, asking for things, seeking attention. This can be exhausting and frustrating for parents, with some parents more likely to lose their temper with their children. It can be helpful for parents to use one or more calming strategies before this happens – such as talking to a friend and letting them know how you are feeling, or taking some slow, calming breaths, and saying things to yourself like “stay calm‟. Some parents find that walking out of the room, having a drink of water, or playing some music can help them to calm down, and regain control so that they can deal more effectively with their children.”

Research shows that physical punishment for bad behaviour does not work as well as other ways of disciplining children.

  • If a parent frequently uses physical punishment, children often have trouble learning to control themselves.
  • Physical punishment on its own does not teach children right from wrong.
  • Physical punishment makes children afraid to disobey when parents are present, and when parents are not present to administer the punishment, those same children are more likely to misbehave (Gershoff, 2002).
  • Hitting or spanking your child is likely to decrease the quality of your relationship with them.

The APS Parent guide to helping children manage conflict, aggression and bullying contains useful information about how to manage a child‟s behaviour in an effective way, without being aggressive or unduly punishing the child. More useful strategies include the use of logical consequences, time out, or withdrawal of consequences. This practical guide is freely available from the APS website.

Psychology Today: Physical punishment is a serious public health problem

August 31, 2009

Psychology Today‘s blog Great Kids Great Parents recently ran an article on Why Do We Still Spank (Hit) Children?

Why do we still spank children? The usual answer is to get them to do what we think is best for them – i.e., to obtain behavioral compliance. And, yet, the answer is much more complicated. Dealing with children can stir up very charged and old feelings. The arguments and screaming of a child can push the same buttons that one’s own parents or siblings pushed long ago. Or perhaps one does to one’s child what was done to oneself: “I was spanked as a child, and I turned out all right.” – Yes, but perhaps you turned out all right in spite of the spanking, not because of it… and perhaps things would have been even better if the effective alternatives to spanking which do exist had been utilized.

It turns out that physical punishment is a serious public health problem in the United States, and it profoundly affects the mental health of children and the society in which we live. Studies show that over 60% of families still use physical punishment to discipline children. Yet, the research shows that: physical punishment is associated with an increase in delinquency, antisocial behavior, and aggression in children; and physical punishment is associated with a decrease in the quality of the parent-child relationship, mental health, and the child’s capacity to internalize socially acceptable behavior. Adults who have been subject to physical punishment as children are more likely to abuse their own child or spouse and to manifest criminal behavior.

They conclude:

If we truly want a less violent society, not hitting our children is a good place to start.

Read the full article.

USA Religious Right funds Vote No

August 23, 2009

According to an article in The Herald headlined “US funding for ‘no’ vote”, one of the core groups behind the referendum and Vote No campaign has received over $1m in funding from a conservative American religious group.  Funding has increased recently to over $200,000 per year.

Focus on the Family’s US spokesman Gary Schneeberger said his organisation involved itself in political debate: “We absolutely do – and certainly in the United States we have advanced Biblical values in the public square, without question.”

Are we allowing foreign political interests to meddle in New Zealand’s electoral process?  If so that’s very scary!

Read the full article at the herald to learn more.

Report: Physical punishment of children is not effective in improving behaviour

June 12, 2009

The Centre for Effective Discipline released a report late last year entitled “Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research tells us about its effects on children“.

The report synthesizes one hundred years of social science research and many hundreds of published studies on physical punishment conducted by professionals in the fields of psychology, medicine, education, social work, and sociology, among other fields.

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.

Download the report.

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

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