Tag Archives: discipline

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 7

This is the seventh part in a series excerpted from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.

DISCIPLINE

We now come to the fourth letter—D for “Discipline.” Lifting up our teens with affirmation, blameless love, and connectedness is critical for their health. But like a table, a fourth leg is needed to keep things on an equilibrium—the leg of parental guidance and enforced boundaries. Continue reading

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 6

This is the sixth part in a series excerpted from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.

CONNECTING WITH THE WORKADAY WORLD

If your teen is not overscheduled and you feel good about the family connectedness, then part-time work may be another way your teen can develop into a highly healthy adult. After all, he or she does need to learn how to work, and the last I checked, the best way to learn how to work is to work! Continue reading

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 5

This is the fifth part in a series excerpted from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.

CONNECTING WITH FRIENDS … AND MORE FRIENDS

Besides connectedness with parents, highly healthy teens need connectedness with highly healthy friends, activities, and faith communities. As teens gain independence and go out on their own, friendships become more important than ever. Continue reading

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 4

This is the fourth part in a series excerpted from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.

CONNECTEDNESS

The “C” of the “ABCD’s” of raising highly healthy children and nurturing highly healthy teens is “Connectedness.” It includes connecting with your kids, connecting your kids with good friends, and connecting your kids with their Creator. Continue reading

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 3

This is the third part in a series excerpted from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen.

BLAMELESS LOVE

The “B” of the “ABCD’s” of raising highly healthy children and nurturing highly healthy teens is “Blameless” or “Unconditional Love.” Do you love your child blamelessly, unconditionally? Or is your love conditional, as in “I love you because of … ” or “I love you if … ”?

Continue reading

The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 1

In my book, God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen, I wrote about the fact that highly healthy teens need four things from their parents to maintain their emotional health during their preteen and adolescent years.

I call them the ABCD’s of parenting:

  • A = Affirmation
  • B = Blameless love
  • C = Connectedness
  • D = Discipline

Continue reading

How to Create a Spoiled Brat: 9 Parenting No-Nos

Kids need to know their parents love them. But some moms and dads think that the way to show love is to accept children’s bad behavior. And that can turn even good kids into spoiled brats, says parenting guru Nancy Samalin, New York City-based author of “Loving without Spoiling” and other books on parenting. Here are Nancy’s nine parenting no-nos from a report on CBS News:

1) Mistake: Always “Rescuing” Your Child

Are you a “helicopter parent,” always hovering overhead to make sure your child does things right – and swooping in at the first sign of trouble? Big mistake. Kids need to experience disappointment. They need to know what it’s like to struggle with a problem. If it’s a matter of protecting your child’s safety or health, by all means step in. But if your child oversleeps or leaves his lunch at home, let him/her suffer the consequences.

2) Mistake: Trying to Keep Your Child from Feeling Unhappy

As long as they don’t persist, sadness, frustration, and other negative emotions won’t hurt your child. Sometimes they teach vital lessons about behavior. Your job as a parent isn’t to make sure your child never suffers disappointment. A disappointed child is not an unloved child.

3) Mistake: Saying No – But Not Really Meaning It

Kids need to know that when you say no, you mean it. No backtalk, no arguing. Otherwise you give the message that things are always negotiable – and that encourages kids to become manipulative. So when you say no, stick to your guns. Don’t give lengthy explanations or aplopgize. Just move on.

4) Mistake: Offering “Bribes”

Kids should do what they’re supposed to do without being bribed by their parents. Offering bribes for cleaning up a room, making the bed, tooth-brushing, etc., makes you look weak – and encourages them to expect rewards for everything they do.

5) Mistake: Always Putting Your Child First

Your child should know that the marital relationship sometimes takes priority. There’s nothing wrong with setting aside some time together with your spouse even if your kid objects. For example, if you and your spouse have a “date” every Thursday night and your child hates being left out, take the time anyway.

6) Mistake: Indulging the “Gimmes”

Most kids have a bottomless pit of things they want. But what do they really need? Not a great deal beyond your love and your time. Think twice before giving them more “stuff.”

7) Mistake: Tolerating Rudeness

No matter how angry or upset your child becomes, he/she should not be allowed to be rude or discourteous. Teach your child from a very early age – as soon as he/she is able to talk – to say please, thank you, and excuse me. Make it clear that it’s never okay to name-call, curse, or insult others.

8) Mistake: Giving In to Whining

Parents who give in when their kids whine, pout, or throw tantrums produce whiny kids. No way around it. Make sure your child knows you will not change your mind just because he/she makes a fuss. Even if your child says, “I hate you,” don’t take it personally.

9) Mistake: Making Excuses for Your Child

Kids should be held accountable for their actions. Otherwise, they have a hard time learning that in the “real world” there are consequences for bad or inconsiderate behavior. For example, if your child forgets to thank his aunt for a gift, don’t tell her that “he just has so much work to do that he probably just forgot.”

I discuss these and other parenting mistakes in my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child. Although I don’t have any more copies, you can still find it online.


Spanking your kid could hatch a bully? Don’t bet on it!

Well, here we go again. The news media and liberal pundits are lauding a new study that claims “… even minor forms of corporal punishment, such as spanking, increase risk for increased child aggressive behavior.” Could this be true?

As Time Magazine reports, “Disciplining young children is what parents are supposed to do — most moms and dads have no trouble agreeing with that. But should the punishment include spanking? As many parents can attest, few disciplinary measures stop a child from misbehaving as quickly as a swift smack or two on the bottom.”

But, most of the news media ran a different direction:

Disciplining young children is what parents are supposed to do — most moms and dads have no trouble agreeing with that. But should the punishment include spanking?
As many parents can attest, few disciplinary measures stop a child from misbehaving as quickly as a swift smack or two on the bottom.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1983895,00.html#ixzz0mbrf7deB
  • Reuters reports, “punishing your toddler with a few swats on the rear may come back to bite you, a new report suggests.
  • The New York Times says, “hitting a child — whether in anger or as a proscribed punishment — does not permanently improve behavior and can cause long-term emotional harm.”
  • ABC News claims, “A new study links frequent spanking with aggression in young children.”

Theses news sources are basing their biased coverage on a biased study.

In this new study, researchers at Tulane University surveyed 2,500 mothers and found that when 3-year-old children are spanked often, they are 50 percent more likely to show aggressive behavior two years later. The study researchers say their study shows that even “light spanking” can increase the risk of aggression.

Since this “new” data goes against my experience and my understanding of the research literature on the topic, I contacted the researcher and expert I most trust in reviewing the studies on spanking — Robert E. Larzelere, Ph.D., at Oklahoma State University.

After reviewing the study, Dr. Larzelere has submitted this comment to the journal that published the misleading study:

Dr. Taylor.s study is well-intentioned but biased. It does not distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate spanking nor does it identify what parents should use instead.

In a recent study published in BMC Pediatrics, we used the same methods used in the Taylor article and got the same results (3rd row of Table 5).

The only problem was that we got the same apparently harmful child outcomes for grounding, sending children to their room, and even for child psychotherapy.

This led us to conclude that something is wrong when the “strongest evidence yet against the use of spanking” is based on statistical analyses that would make psychotherapy for children look as harmful as spanking!

Our study shows that these results are biased because defiant children lead parents to use all disciplinary tactics more often as well as to seek psychotherapy for their child.

Further, like all anti-spanking studies, Taylor’s study does not distinguish appropriate from inappropriate spanking.

Our 2005 summary of all 26 studies investigating other disciplinary alternatives as well as spanking found that spanking resulted in less noncompliance or aggression than 10 of the 13 alternatives when it was used nonabusively to back-up milder disciplinary tactics in defiant 2-to-6-year-olds.

Spanking led to worse outcomes than alternative tactics only when it was used too severely or as the primary disciplinary method.

The best parenting combines love and limits, using the mildest disciplinary tactic that fits the occasion, but spanking has been shown to be an effective option when young children respond defiantly to milder tactics, such as time out.

Then they will learn to cooperate with time out, so that loving parents can phase out spanking as soon as possible.

You can read more about spanking myths (and find out the facts about appropriate spanking) in several previous blogs I’ve written on appropriate spanking:

  • Introduction
  • Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.
  • Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.
  • Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.
  • Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.
  • Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
  • Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
  • Argument #7: Spanking is violence.
  • Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.
  • Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.
  • Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.
  • Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
  • Dealing With Those All-Too-Public Tantrums

    Parents often have a hard time figuring out what to do when their children decide to throw tantrums. It doesn’t help matters that kids often have their meltdowns in public places — the supermarket, the mall, the family restaurant. According to a report in HealthDay News, an expert is saying, “Don’t let glares, stares tempt you to give into your child’s meltdowns.” So, just what should you do?

    Chuck Smith, a Kansas State University child development expert, has compiled tips to help parents deal with out-of-control youngsters. Here’s his advice:

    • Set rules and enforce them. “Many parents are concerned with the glare of onlookers, so they’ll let their kids get away with things because of the threat,” Smith said in a news release. “You can’t let a child leverage your own sense of embarrassment in public to get what he or she wants. It’s not that you ignore the public, but you have to decide where your real priority is — and that is with teaching your child. You can’t ever lose focus on that.”
    • Make sure your rules are age-appropriate. A 5-year-old may have a hard time keeping quiet in church, so expecting her to do so may be unreasonable. But that same child should be able to keep her food in her mouth when you go out to eat.
    • Make sure you only discipline kids for breaking rules that they know about. Gently remind them by asking whether they remember what they’re supposed to do. “Then, when they look at you in a confused manner, you firmly remind them of the rule,” Smith said. “You don’t ever punish a child for something they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do.”
    • It’s OK to ignore some types of behavior, such as pleading for a toy at the department store. “Any response to whining or crying, even punishment, shows that a child is in control and is pulling a parent’s strings,” Smith said. “The parent should rise above this noise and remain steadfast to the limit they set. You have to be smarter than the kid and realize that you are not going to be drawn into this. If you give in, you’re going to have lots of temper tantrums before they realize it doesn’t work.”

    Want more tips on raising a happy, well-behaved, and healthy youngster? You can learn more in my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen:

    • You can order an autographed copy of the book here.
    • See the Table of Contents here.
    • Read the Forward by Dr. Gary Chapman here.
    • Read the first chapter here.

    Also, I’m expecting the revision on my now sold-out book, God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child, to be out later this year. I’ll let you know when it comes out. Until it does, you can:

    • See the Table of Contents here.
    • Read the Forward by Dr. John Trent here.
    • Read the first chapter here.

    Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 11 – Is spanking ever necessary?

    Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the last of my 12 part series on the topic

    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.

    Counterpoint:

    All children need a combination of encouragement and correction as they are disciplined to become socially responsible individuals.

    In order for correction to deter disobedient behavior, the consequence imposed upon the child must outweigh the pleasure of the disobedient act. For very compliant children, milder forms of correction will suffice and spanking may never be necessary.

    For more defiant children who refuse to comply with or be persuaded by milder consequences such as time-out, spanking is useful, effective, and appropriate.

    Conclusion to the series:

    The subject of disciplinary spanking should be evaluated from a factual and philosophical perspective.

    Appropriate spanking must be distinguished from abusive, harmful forms of corporal punishment.

    Appropriate disciplinary spanking can play an important role in optimal child development, and has been found in prospective studies to be a part of the parenting style associated with the best outcomes.

    There is no evidence that mild disciplinary spanking by loving parents is harmful. Indeed, spanking is supported by history, research, and a majority of primary care physicians.

    Here’s the entire series:

    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

    By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

    Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the last of a 12 part series.
    More Information:
    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
    Counterpoint: All children need a combination of encouragement and correction as they are disciplined to become socially responsible individuals. In order for correction to deter disobedient behavior, the consequence imposed upon the child must outweigh the pleasure of the disobedient act. For very compliant children, milder forms of correction will suffice and spanking may never be necessary. For more defiant children who refuse to comply with or be persuaded by milder consequences such as time-out, spanking is useful, effective, and appropriate.
    Conclusion
    The subject of disciplinary spanking should be evaluated from a factual and philosophical perspective. It must be distinguished from abusive, harmful forms of corporal punishment. Appropriate disciplinary spanking can play an important role in optimal child development, and has been found in prospective studies to be a part of the parenting style associated with the best outcomes. There is no evidence that mild disciplinary spanking by loving parents is harmful. Indeed, spanking is supported by history, research, and a majority of primary care physicianOpposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the last of a 12 part series.
    More Information:
    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
    Counterpoint: All children need a combination of encouragement and correction as they are disciplined to become socially responsible individuals. In order for correction to deter disobedient behavior, the consequence imposed upon the child must outweigh the pleasure of the disobedient act. For very compliant children, milder forms of correction will suffice and spanking may never be necessary. For more defiant children who refuse to comply with or be persuaded by milder consequences such as time-out, spanking is useful, effective, and appropriate.
    Conclusion
    The subject of disciplinary spanking should be evaluated from a factual and philosophical perspective. It must be distinguished from abusive, harmful forms of corporal punishment. Appropriate disciplinary spanking can play an important role in optimal child development, and has been found in prospective studies to be a part of the parenting style associated with the best outcomes. There is no evidence that mild disciplinary spanking by loving parents is harmful. Indeed, spanking is supported by history, research, and a majority of primary care physicians.

    Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 10 – Does spanking lead a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse?

    Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the eleventh of a 12 part series.

    Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.

    Counterpoint:

    The abuse potential when loving parents use appropriate disciplinary spanking is very low. Since parents have a natural affection for their children, they are more prone to underutilize spanking than to overutilize it.

    Both empirical data and professional opinion oppose the concept of a causal relationship between spanking and child abuse.

    Surveys indicate that 70 to 90 percent of parents of preschoolers use spanking,[17] yet the incidence of physical child abuse in America is less than 5 percent.

    Statistically, the two practices are far apart. Furthermore, over the past decade reports of child abuse have steadily risen while approval for parental spanking has steadily declined.[18]

    More than 70 percent of primary care pediatricians reject the idea that spanking sets the stage for parents to engage in forms of physical abuse.[19]

    Teaching parents appropriate spanking may actually reduce child abuse, according to Larzelere, in his review article on corporal punishment.[20]

    Parents who are ill-equipped to control their child’s behavior, or who take a more permissive approach (refusing to use spanking), may be more prone to anger[21] and explosive attacks on their child.[22]

    Parental child abuse is an interactive process involving parental competence, parental and child temperaments, and situational demands.[23] Abusive parents are more angry, depressed and impulsive, and emphasize punishment as the predominant means of discipline.

    Abused children are more aggressive and less compliant than children from nonabusive families. There is less interaction between family members in abusive families and abusive mothers display more negative than positive behavior.

    The etiology of abusive parenting is multifactorial with emphasis on the personalities involved, and cannot be simply explained by a parent’s use of spanking.

    Finally, the Swedish experiment to reduce child abuse by banning spanking seems to be failing. In 1980, one year after this ban was adopted, the rate of child beatings was twice that of the United States.[24]

    According to a report from the government organization Statistics Sweden, police reports of child abuse by family members rose four-fold from 1984 to 1994, while reports of teen violence increased nearly six-fold.[25]

    Most experts agree that spanking and child abuse are not on the same continuum, but are very different entities. With parenting, it is the “user” and how a measure is used much more than the measure used that determines the outcome of the disciplinary effort.

    Clearly, appropriate, loving spanking can be safely used in the discipline of young children with an excellent outcome. The proper use of spanking may actually reduce a parent’s risk of abusing the child.

    Citations:

    [18] National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Memorandum. May 1995; 2(5).
    [19] White, Kristin, “Where Pediatricians Stand on Spanking,” Pediatric Management (September 1993): 11-15.
    [20] Larzelere, Dr. Robert E., op. cit.
    [21]Socolar, Rebecca R. S., M.D. and Stein, Ruth E. K., M.D., op. cit.
    [22] Baumrind, Dr. Diana, op. cit.
    [23] Wolfe, David A, “Child-Abusive Parents: An Empirical Review and Analysis” Psychological Bulletin. 97 (1985)): 462-482.
    [24] Larzelere, Dr. Robert E., op. cit.
    [25] Statistics Sweden. K R Info, May 1995; pp. 1-6. Stockholm, Sweden.
    [18] National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. Memorandum. May 1995; 2(5).
    [19] White, Kristin, “Where Pediatricians Stand on Spanking,” Pediatric Management (September 1993): 11-15.
    [20] Larzelere, Dr. Robert E. and Merenda, Dr. J.A., “The Effectiveness of Parental Discipline for Toddler Misbehavior at Different Levels of Child Distress” Family Relations 43 (1994): 4.
    [21] Socolar, Rebecca R. S., M.D. and Stein, Ruth E.K., M.D., “Spanking Infants and Toddlers: Maternal Belief and Practice,” Pediatrics 95 (1995): 105-111.
    [22] Baumrind, Diana, Ph.D. “Rearing Competent Children” Damon, W. (Ed.) Child Development Today and Tomorrow (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989); pp.349-378.
    [23] Wolfe, David A, “Child-Abusive Parents: An Empirical Review and Analysis” Psychological Bulletin. 97 (1985)): 462-482.
    [24] Larzelere, Dr. Robert E., op. cit.
    [25] Statistics Sweden. K R Info, May 1995; pp. 1-6. Stockholm, Sweden.

    Here’s the entire series:

    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

    By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

    Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 9 – Is spanking an ineffective solution to misbehavior?

    Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the ninth of a 12 part series.

    Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.

    Counterpoint:

    Though the specific use of appropriate spanking has rarely been studied, there is evidence of its short-term and long-term effectiveness.

    When combined with reasoning, the use of negative consequences (including spanking) does effectively decrease the frequency of misbehavior recurrences with preschool children.[9]

    In clinical field trials where parental spanking has been studied, it has consistently been found to reduce the subsequent frequency of noncompliance with time-out.[10]

    Spanking, as an effective enforcer of time-out, is a component of several well-researched parent training programs[11] and popular parenting texts.[12]

    Dr. Diana Baumrind of the Institute for Human Development at the University of California-Berkeley, conducted a decade-long study of families with children 3 to 9 years old.[13]

    Baumrind found that parents employing a balanced disciplinary style of firm control (including spanking) and positive encouragement experienced the most favorable outcome in their children.

    Parents taking extreme approaches to discipline (authoritarian-types using excessive punishment with less encouragement or permissive-types using little punishment and no spanking) were less successful.

    Baumrind concluded that evidence from this study “did not indicate that negative reinforcement or corporal punishment per se were harmful or ineffective procedures, but rather the total patterns of parental control determined the effects on the child of these procedures.”

    This approach of balanced parenting, employing the occasional use of spanking, is advocated by several child rearing experts.[14]

    In the hands of loving parents, a spanking to the buttocks of a defiant toddler in appropriate settings is a powerful motivator to correct behavior and an effective deterrent to disobedience.

    Citations:

    [9] Larzelere, Dr. Robert E. and Merenda, Dr. J.A., “The Effectiveness of Parental Discipline for Toddler Misbehavior at Different Levels of Child Distress” Family Relations 43 (1994): 4.

    [10] Roberts, Mark W. and Powers, Scott W. “Adjusting Chair Time-out Enforcement Procedures for Oppositional Children.” Behavioral Therapy 21 (1990): 257-271, and Bean, Arthur W. and Roberts, Mark W., “The Effect of Time-out Release Contingencies on Changes in Child Noncompliance” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 9 (1981): 95-105.

    [11] Forehand, R. L. and McMahon, R. J. Helping the Noncompliant Child (New York: Guilford Press, 1981); pp. 79-80.

    [12] Clark, Lynn C., SOS! Help for Parents (Kentucky: Parents Press, 1985); pp. 181-185.

    [13] Baumrind, Dr. Diana, “The Development of Instrumental Competence through Socialization,” Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology 7 (1973): 3-46.

    [14]Austin, Glenn, Love and Power: How to Raise Competent, Confident Children (California: Robert Erdmann Publishing, 1988). Also, Dobson, Dr. James, The Strong-Willed Child (Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1985), and Coopersmith, Stanley, The Antecedents of Self-Esteem, (New York: W.H. Freeman & Co, 1967). Reprinted 1981. California: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

    Here’s the entire series:

    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

    Here’s the Entire Series:
    Introduction
    Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.
    Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.
    Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.
    Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.
    Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
    Argument #7: Spanking is violence.
    Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.
    Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.
    Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.
    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
    Den A. Trumbull, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.
    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:
    Is Spanking Associated with Child Abuse?
    The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 7 – Discipline
    Spanking a Child – Is it Good or Bad?

    Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 7 – Does spanking teach a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important, and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest?

    Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the seventh in a 12 part series.

    OppositionOpposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the seventh of a 12 part series.
    More Information:
    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
    Counterpoint: Parental power is commonly exerted in routine child rearing and spanking is only one example. Other situations where power and restraint are exercised by the average parent include:
    The young child who insists on running from his parent in a busy mall or parking lot.
    The toddler who refuses to sit in his car seat.
    The young patient who refuses to hold still as a vaccination is administered, or as a laceration is repaired.
    Power and control over the child are necessary at times to ensure safety, health and proper behavior. Classic child rearing studies have shown that some degree of power, assertion,[5] and firm control[6] is essential for optimal child rearing. When power is exerted in the context of love and for the child’s benefit, the child will not perceive it as bullying or demeaning.
    Here’s the entire series:
    Introduction
    Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.
    Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.
    Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.
    Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.
    Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
    Argument #7: Spanking is violence.
    Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.
    Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.
    Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.
    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
    — By Den A. Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D. Dr. Trumbull is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Ravenel is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.
    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:
    Is Spanking Associated with Child Abuse? http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=337
    The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 7 – Discipline http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=146
    Spanking a Child – Is it Good or Bad? http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=50
    to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the seventh of a 12 part series.
    More Information:
    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
    Counterpoint: Parental power is commonly exerted in routine child rearing and spanking is only one example. Other situations where power and restraint are exercised by the average parent include:
    The young child who insists on running from his parent in a busy mall or parking lot.
    The toddler who refuses to sit in his car seat.
    The young patient who refuses to hold still as a vaccination is administered, or as a laceration is repaired.
    Power and control over the child are necessary at times to ensure safety, health and proper behavior. Classic child rearing studies have shown that some degree of power, assertion,[5] and firm control[6] is essential for optimal child rearing. When power is exerted in the context of love and for the child’s benefit, the child will not perceive it as bullying or demeaning.
    Here’s the entire series:
    Introduction
    Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.
    Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.
    Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.
    Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.
    Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.
    Argument #7: Spanking is violence.
    Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.
    Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.
    Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.
    Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.
    — By Den A. Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D. Dr. Trumbull is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Ravenel is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.
    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:
    Is Spanking Associated with Child Abuse? http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=337
    The ABCD’s of Parenting – Part 7 – Discipline http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=146
    Spanking a Child – Is it Good or Bad? http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=50

    Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.

    Counterpoint: Parental power is commonly exerted in routine child rearing and spanking is only one example.

    Other situations where power and restraint are exercised by the average parent include:

    • The young child who insists on running from his parent in a busy mall or parking lot.
    • The toddler who refuses to sit in his car seat.
    • The young patient who refuses to hold still as a vaccination is administered, or as a laceration is repaired.

    Power and control over the child are necessary at times to ensure safety, health and proper behavior.

    Classic child rearing studies have shown that some degree of power, assertion, and firm control is essential for optimal child rearing.

    When power is exerted in the context of love and for the child’s benefit, the child will not perceive it as bullying or demeaning.

    Here’s the entire series:

    You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

    By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 6 – Does physical punishment make the child angry at the parent?

      Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the sixth in a 12 part series.

      Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.
      Counterpoint:

      All forms of punishment initially elicit a frustrated, angry response from a child.

      However, progression of this anger is dependent primarily upon the parent’s attitude during and after the disciplinary event, and the manner of its application.

      Any form of punishment administered angrily for purposes of retribution, rather than calmly for purposes of correction, can create anger and resentment in a child.

      Actually, a spanking can break the escalating rage of a rebellious child and more quickly restore the relationship between parent and child.

      Here’s the entire series:

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 5 – Is appropriate spanking harmful to a child?

      Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the fifth of a 12 part series.

      Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.

      Counterpoint:

      Any disciplinary measure, whether physical, verbal, or emotional, carried to an extreme can harm a child.

      Excessive scolding and berating of a child by a parent is emotionally, relationally, and spiritually harmful. If chronic, it can lead to stress that can even be physically harmful.

      Excessive use of isolation (time-out) for unreasonable periods of time can humiliate a child and ruin the measure’s effectiveness.

      Obviously, any excessive or indiscriminate physical punishment, or punishment administered in anger, can be harmful and potentially abusive.

      However, an appropriately-administered spanking of a forewarned disobedient child is not harmful when administered in a loving controlled manner.

      Without the prudent use of spanking for the particularly defiant child, a parent runs the risk of being inconsistent and rationalizing the child’s behavior. This inconsistent manner of parenting is confusing and harmful to the child and is damaging to the parent-child relationship.

      There is no evidence that proper disciplinary spanking is harmful to the child.

      Here’s the entire series:

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 4 – Does spanking teach a child that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force?

      Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the fourth of a 12 part series.

      Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.

      Counterpoint:

      A study published in Pediatrics indicates that most parents who spank do not spank on impulse, but purposefully spank their children with a belief in its effectiveness.[4]

      Furthermore, the study revealed no significant correlation between the frequency of spanking and the anger reported by mothers.

      In point of fact, the mothers who reported being angry were not the same parents who spanked.

      Reactive, impulsive hitting after losing control due to anger is unquestionably the wrong way for a parent to use corporal punishment.

      Eliminating all physical punishment in the home, however, would not remedy such explosive scenarios. It could even increase the problem.

      When effective spanking is removed from a parent’s disciplinary repertoire, he or she is left with nagging, begging, belittling, and yelling, once the primary disciplinary measures-such as time-out and logical consequences-have failed.

      By contrast, if proper spanking is proactively used in conjunction with other disciplinary measures, better control of the particularly defiant child can be achieved, and moments of exasperation are less likely to occur.

      Citation:

      [4] Socolar, Rebecca R. S., M.D. and Stein, Ruth E.K., M.D., “Spanking Infants and Toddlers: Maternal Belief and Practice,” Pediatrics 95 (1995): 105-111.

      Here’s the entire series:

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 3 – Does physical punishment establish the moral righteousness of hitting other persons?

      Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the third of a 12 part series.

      Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.

      Counterpoint:

      According to an investigation by Drs. Trumbull and Ravenel, performed for the Family Research Council, the “spanking teaches hitting” belief has gained in popularity over the past decade, but is not supported by objective evidence.

      A distinction must be made between abusive hitting and nonabusive spanking.

      A child’s ability to discriminate hitting from disciplinary spanking depends largely upon the parents’ attitude with spanking and the parents’ procedure for spanking.

      There is no evidence in the medical literature that a mild spank to the buttocks of a disobedient child by a loving parent teaches the child aggressive behavior.

      The critical issue is how spanking (or, in fact, any punishment) is used more so than whether it is used.

      Physical abuse by an angry, uncontrolled parent will leave lasting emotional wounds, and will cultivate bitterness and resentment within a child.

      The balanced, prudent use of disciplinary spanking, however, is an effective deterrent to aggressive behavior with some children.

      A six year longitudinal study of a racially mixed population of 1112 children ages 4 to 11 years in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine concluded:

      “Regression analysis within subgroups yielded no evidence that spanking fostered aggression in children younger than 6 years and supported claims of increased aggression for only 1 subgroup: 8-11-year-old white boys in single-mother families.”

      For the higher risk subgroup, it was speculated that spanking may serve as “a proxy for other family problems such as lost parental authority, poor management practices, stress, or lack of support.”

      In these cases, the study authors suggest “for families experiencing severe family management problems, spanking is not a viable solution to these problems and may exacerbate them.”

      One review concludes that the familial setting has a profound effect upon the outcome of the disciplinary measure.[2]

      Remarkably, studies have concluded that childhood aggressiveness has been more closely linked to maternal permissiveness and negative criticism than to even abusive physical discipline.[3]

      It is unrealistic to expect that children would never hit others if their parents would only exclude spanking from their discipline options.

      Most children in their toddler years (long before they are ever spanked) naturally attempt to hit others when conflict or frustration arises. The continuation of this behavior is largely determined by how the parent or caregiver responds.

      If correctly disciplined, the hitting will become less frequent. If ignored or ineffectively disciplined, the hitting will likely persist and even escalate.

      Thus, instead of contributing to greater violence, spanking can be a useful component in an overall plan to effectively teach a child to stop aggressive hitting.

      Citations:

      [2] Gunnoe, M. L. and Mariner C. L., “Toward a developmental-contextual model of the effects of parental spanking on children’s aggression,” Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine 151 (1997): 768-775.

      [3] Olweus, Dan, “Familial and Tempermental Determinants of Aggressive Behavior in Adolescent Boys: A Causal Analysis,” Developmental Psychology 16 (1980): 644-660.

      Here’s the entire series:

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 2 – Do studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline?

      Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the second of a 12 part series. Today we’ll start looking at the arguments used against spanking.

      Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.

      Counterpoint:

      According to an investigation by Drs. Trumbull and Ravenel, performed for the Family Research Council, researchers John Lyons, Rachel Anderson, and David Larson of the National Institute of Healthcare Research conducted a systematic review of the research literature on corporal punishment.[1]

      Among their many findings, they reported that 83% percent of the 132 identified articles published in clinical and psychosocial journals were merely opinion-driven editorials or reviews or commentaries. All were devoid of new empirical findings.[1]

      Moreover, most of the empirical studies were methodologically flawed by grouping the impact of abuse with spanking.

      The best studies of appropriate, loving spanking (that EXCLUDED from the definition of spanking forms of child abuse or violence) demonstrated beneficial, not detrimental, effects of spanking.

      They concluded, as do I, that there is insufficient evidence to condemn parental spanking and adequate evidence to justify its proper use.

      Citation:

      [1] Lyons, Dr. John S., Anderson, Rachel L., and Larson, Dr. David B., “The Use and Effects of Physical Punishment in the Home: A Systematic Review.” Presentation to the Section on Bio-Ethics of the American Academy of Pediatrics at annual meeting, Nov. 2, 1993.

      Here’s the entire series:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here:

      Spare the Rod? Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 1 – Introduction

      My blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. This may be due to the fact that opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. First, some introductory comments to begin this 12 part series.

      Drs. Trumbull and Ravenel write:

      No doubt much of this opposition springs from a sincere concern for the well-being of children. Child abuse is a reality, and stories of child abuse are horrifying.

      But while loving and effective discipline is quite definitely not harsh and abusive, neither is it weak and ineffectual. Indeed, disciplinary spanking can fall well within the boundaries of loving discipline and need not be labeled abusive violence.

      Critics, however, claim that spanking a child is abusive and contributes to adult dysfunction.

      In fact, most of these allegations arise from studies that fail to distinguish what I will define as “appropriate spanking” from other forms of punishment, including forms discipline that are child abusive.

      It’s shocking for most parents to learn that studies commonly include abusive forms of physical punishment (such as kicking, punching, and beating) under the umbrella of “corporal punishment,” of which mild or appropriate spanking is a subset.

      Trumbull and Ravenel point out, “Furthermore, the studies usually include, and even emphasize, corporal punishment of adolescents, rather than focusing on preschool children, where spanking is more effective.”

      This blurring of distinctions between spanking and physical abuse, and between children of different ages, gives critics the illusion of having data sufficient for condemning all disciplinary spanking.

      Is it any surprise to anyone that child abuse and severe punishment would be associated with negative outcomes? Of course not! Any civilized parent would be shocked by these types of abuse.

      But this is a far cry from judiciously used mild spanking employed by many, if not most, loving parents. The excessive punishment of some misguided, angry or cruel parents should not become an argument to not discipline at all.

      The real issue, then, for the vast majority of loving, caring parents is not whether they should spank, but how they spank.

      So, what is appropriate or mild spanking?

      An important scientific conference defined appropriate or mild spanking as:

      • physically non injurious,
      • intended to modify behavior, and
      • administered to the extremities or buttocks.

      I would add that such discipline is never administered in anger, and should be used with children from about 18 months to six years of age.

      To my knowledge, this form of spanking has been shown to be effective, especially when used in conjunction with other forms of discipline, such as time outs, reasoning, and other disciplinary tools. Furthermore, it has NEVER been shown to be harmful to children.

      In fact, studies have shown an INCREASE in child abuse in homes where appropriate spanking does NOT occur. Why? Eliminating mild or appropriate spanking takes away a strong, useful, effective, and suitable tool from a parent.

      Not all children need to be spanked, and not all parents should spank their children — especially parents prone to anger, hostility, abuse, or outbursts. However, a parent that does not teach that there are consequences to behaviors will leave it to the police and others to do that later in the child’s life.

      Parents, for millennia, in virtually every recorded culture, have spanked their young children, when necessary, to teach them and to shape and mold their character to ultimately benefit their children.

      Now, unfortunately, parents are being fed confusing information by anti-spanking advocates. Perhaps some discipline is in order for those guilty of fictionalized reporting.

      Anyway, there are several arguments commonly leveled against disciplinary spanking that we will examine in this series.

      Of these arguments, Trumbull and Ravenel say, “Interestingly, most of these arguments can be used against other forms of discipline. Any form of discipline (time-out, restriction, etc.), when used inappropriately and in anger, can result in distorting a child’s perception of justice and harming his emotional development.”

      So, starting next week, we’ll examine these topics:

      By the way, an introduction is in order. Den A. Trumbull, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. S. DuBose Ravenel, MD is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

      You can read more of my blogs on spanking here: