Spanking, the discussion continues


Eve Sullivan - Posted on 17 June 2012

Hello ...and a very Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers in our families and communities...
 
I had to write about this. The Sunday Globe Magazine June 17, 2012 cover story begins, "Studies show that most parents don’t want to hit their kids - and that some 90 percent do it anyway. Why even the most modern moms and dads can’t stop asking themselves the most controversial question in parenting:  What if spanking works?"
 
The online version of this article http://b.globe.com/McbcBa does not have the excellent sidebars that I see in the print version. One of these is ‘3 steps for making lessons stick’ from the American Academy of Pediatrics
 
1. foster a positive, supportive, loving relationship with your kids
 
2. use positive reinforcement to increase good behavior
 
3. remove positive reinforcement to decrease misbehavior.
 
Each step is followed by four clear, concrete suggestions on how to implement it, adapted from ‘Guidance for Effective Discipline’ available free download at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/101/4/723.full
 
The provocative title notwithstanding, this article seems to me to be about parenting education more than it is about parents using corporal punishment. Do and, if so, how do parents go from spanking to not spanking? Who supports parents in using spanking? How often, and how, do adults who have been spanked as children use different child-rearing practices with their own children? Perhaps I think everything is about parenting education but if we want to be successful in giving children a good start in life we have to work with parents. 
 
I write as a parent who - when they were little - spanked my older children, to my great regret. I eventually saw the light and 'found a gentler path' with my youngest. The article hit home for me. Eve