Spanking Gets Results: But All the Wrong Kinds

mrdad - spanking - wikicommonsDear Mr. Dad: I was over at a friend’s house and was surprised to see her spanking her 4-year old. I’ve never hit any of my kids and don’t have any plans to do so. But after taking an informal poll of other parents I know, I was surprised to find that I’m actually in the minority. Should I rethink my no-spanking policy?

 A: Please don’t. There’s some debate about whether an actual majority of parents spank their children. For example, one study found that while 62 percent of parents in the South admit to having spanked their children, only 41 percent of parents in the rest of the country have. And according to a recent study done by researchers at Columbia University, 57 percent of moms and 40 percent of dads engaged in spanking when their children were three years old, and 52 percent of moms and 33 percent of dads were still spanking when their kids were five. But let’s not quibble over semantics. The point is that way, way too many parents are hitting their children—and it needs to stop.

I know I’m going to hear from a lot of readers who will swear up and down that spanking works. And they’re right. Spanking definitely gets the child’s attention and will usually get him or her to immediately do what you say. That’s great in the moment, but what about future moments?

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Biting and Hitting the Hand that Feeds

biting teeth

Photo credit: gigabiting.com

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son just turned one and, almost like flipping a switch, he went from the sweetest, happiest little guy to smacking and biting. It’s bad enough when it happens at home, but my husband and I are beyond embarrassed when he attacks friends or strangers. Is it normal for babies to turn mean like this? Normal or not, how can we get it to stop?

A: No one knows exactly why, but right around their first birthday, most babies go through a stage that involves hitting and/or biting everything and everyone in sight. So, yes, biting and hitting are normal, and it’s unlikely that he’s “turning mean.” However, as you said, whether it’s normal or not, this behavior needs to stop. Before you can do anything about the behavior, though, you need to figure out what’s behind it.

According to child development experts, there are lots of possible explanations. Your baby may be hitting or biting because: [Read more…]

It’s Okay to Hit and Other Counter-intuitive Rules for Raising Confident Children

[amazon asin=1585429368&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK NOT to Share…
Topic: Renegade rules for raising competent and compassionate kids.
Issues: Completely counter-intuitive but scientifically sound suggestions such as, let kids hit and kick; let her hog that toy all day; bombs, guns, and bad guys allowed; love your kids lies, be buddies with dead birds, and more.

It’s Okay to Hit and other Rules + From Chaos to Calm + Preschool Entertainment Boom

[amazon asin=1585429368&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK NOT to Share…
Topic: Renegade rules for raising competent and compassionate kids.
Issues: Completely counter-intuitive but scientifically sound suggestions such as, let kids hit and kick; let her hog that toy all day; bombs, guns, and bad guys allowed; love your kids lies, be buddies with dead birds, and more.


[amazon asin=1402777647&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Beth Grosshans, author of Beyond Time Out.
Topic: Moving from chaos to calm.
Issues: Why our emphasis on talking and self-esteem is responsible for parental ineffectiveness and children’s unruliness; looking at the imbalance of power in families (where kids have too much and the parents not enough); the parenting styles that most commonly lead to that imbalance of power.


[amazon asin=1416546847&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Dade Hayes, author of Anytime Playdate.
Topic: Inside the preschool entertainment boom.
Issues: The inner workings of the $21 billion business of entertaining babies and toddlers; How the success of Dora the Explorer prompted the development of other multi-lingual shows; the positive effects of media moderate media exposure (as long as it’s supplemented by good parenting).

Could Child Abuse Cause Cancer?

There’s no question that for many children, being abused increases their risk of anxiety, depression, academic and behavioral problems, and other mental health issues. But a researcher at Purdue University (in Indiana) just found an unexpected link between child abuse and cancer. Kenneth Ferraro, a sociologist at Purdue’s Center on Aging and the Life Course, and his colleagues found that frequent abuse by a parent increased a child’s risk of developing cancer as an adult.
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Just when you thought the spanking controversy was over…

A few years ago I read a study–in Parenting magazine, I think–that found that 25 percent of parents spanked their kids. Those were just the people who admitted it. My guess is that it’s closer to 50 percent. If you were to factor in the parents who think  about giving their kids a whack once in a while, you’d probably be up in the high 90s.

So when I read about a study in Germany (where corporal punishment was actually outlawed in 2000) that more than 50 percent of parents admitted that they hit their kids, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the real numbers are insanely high. Here’s what the study found:
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