Thursday, November 26, 2009

We Must Stop Hitting Children! Part 7 -- Are Physically Punished Children Better Behaved?

Parents use physical punishment primarily to reduce undesirable child behavior in the present and to increase desirable child behavior in the future.

The research findings on the short-term effectiveness of physical punishment in achieving child compliance are mixed. A meta-analysis (which is a method of research synthesis that statistically combines existing data to discern the average strength of the findings) of five studies examining children's immediate compliance with physical punishment found a positive effect on average. However, the findings were highly inconsistent in that one of the studies found no effect and another found that children were less likely to comply when physically punished.

In one of these studies, the authors concluded that “there was no support for the necessity of the physical punishment” to change children's behavior.

The research to date also indicates that physical punishment does not promote long-term, internalized compliance. Most (85 percent) of the studies included in a meta-analysis found physical punishment to be associated with less moral internalization of norms for appropriate behavior and long-term compliance. Similarly, the more children receive physical punishment, the more defiant they are and the less likely they are to empathize with others.

Parents often use physical punishment when their children have behaved aggressively, such as hitting a younger sibling, or antisocially, such as stealing money from parents. Thus it is particularly important to determine whether physical punishment is effective in achieving one of parents' main goals in using it, namely to reduce children's aggressive and antisocial behaviors over time.

In a meta-analysis of 27 studies, every study found physical punishment was associated with more, not less, child aggression. A separate meta-analysis of 13 studies found that 12 of them documented a link between physical punishment and more child antisocial behavior. Similarly, in recent studies conducted around the world, including studies in Canada, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Norway, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and the United States, physical punishment has been associated with more physical aggression, verbal aggression, physical fighting and bullying, antisocial behavior, and behavior problems generally.

The conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that, contrary to parents' goals when using it, the more parents use physical punishment, the more disobedient and aggressive their children will be.


The NEW Confident Parenting is a book that discusses all of the issues surrounding the use of physical punishment and offers an entire program for raising children without ever having to use physical punishment.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Parenting Classes and Court Referrals

Millions of parents who are going through divorces, custody conflicts and child welfare hearings are mandated by the courts they are dealing with to enroll in parenting classes. Such "court accepted" parenting classes are not always easy to find and/or are often offered at days and times that parents cannot take advantage of without having to take time off the the job or time away from the home.

Online Parenting Classes that are "court accepted" now exist to fulfill this need.

The Online Parenting Class by Dr. Ari Novick that I recommended in a prior article (Effective Parenting and Online Parenting Classes) fits the bill. It not only teaches solid parenting ideas that everyone can learn from, but also addresses many of the specific challenges that court referred parents are dealing with, such as adjusting to becoming step or blended families, learning how to co-parent, and managing stress and conflict.

If you or your family, friends, or colleagues are raising children during divorces, custody hearings or have been reported for possibly abusing or neglecting your children, this is an appropriate class for you.

To learn more and to enroll, click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Effective Parenting and Online Parenting Classes

Much is known from decades of solid research about what parenting attitudes and practices in combination are the most helpful in raising healthy and achieving children. A pattern or style of parenting that features abundant parental warmth, empathy and responsiveness, fair and firm disciplinary guidance, and making children priorities in our lives has been shown time and time again to be the best mixture or pattern.

The most direct way of learning this pattern, or refining the pattern you are already employing, it to enroll in a parenting class that teaches the skills and attitudes of this Productive Parenting Pattern. Classes that teach the pattern usually run for 7 to 15 sessions of education and require parents to arrange their lives to leave the home to attend the class at a local agency, school or religious institution, obtain babysitters, etc. As a result, not all parents can participate because of not having the time or energy to arrange their lives to get this valuable training, education and support.

However, with the advent of the Internet, and the creativity of parenting program developers, it is now possible to participate in high quality parenting classes from the convenience of your home. And to do so at the times and days that you select.

An Online Parenting class that does that, and which I recommend you take advantage of, is one that has been created by Dr. Ari Novick, Ph.D. Dr. Novick is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an expert in family relationships and anger management. He is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. His Online Class teaches the basics of the Productive Parenting Pattern, including Empathy Training, Rewards and Discipline for Children, and Avoiding Parenting Mistakes.

To learn more and enroll right now, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Should Communities Be Committed to Effective Parenting and Parenting Education?

The reason are both compelling and numerous, and that is why I will be presenting a special webinar on Wednesday, December 8, 2009 at 2 PM Eastern Time. It is called Helping Your Community Raise Healthy Children: A Two-Hour Webinar on Effective Parenting Resources.

When parents are effective in raising children, children are the most likely to reach their full potential as human beings and make positive contributions to community life. Effectively parented children are also more likely to be fine parents themselves when they become parents and perpetuate a cycle of human happiness and productivity, as was reported in a very recent research study that I wrote about on Monday, October 19, 2009 (see Positive Parenting Has Lasting Impact for Generations below).

Effective parenting also promotes good physical and mental health, as well as serving as the surest defense against such costly and tragic problems as child abuse, school dropout, obesity, delinquency, gang involvement and crime.

And parenting education is the most direct means of increasing the numbers of parents who are effective.

These rationales, and numerous examples of the parenting programs that communities can and should be using in abuandance, are the the focus of the special webinar.

So if you want to know exactly what your community can do to help all parents to be as effective as possible, do join me at 2 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 8th.

Click here for enrollment specifics and fee.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We Must Stop Hitting Children! Part 6 -- Hitting Is Used for a Variety of Reasons

Research has found that parents are more likely to use physical punishment if:

They strongly favor it and believe in its effectiveness.

They were themselves physically punished as children.

They have a cultural background, namely their religion, their ethnicity, and/or their country of origin, that they perceive approves of the use of physical punishment.

They are socially disadvantaged, in that they have low income, low education, or live in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

They are experiencing stress (such as that precipitated by financial hardships or marital conflict), mental health symptoms, or diminished emotional well-being.

They report being frustrated or aggravated with their children on a regular basis.

They are under 30 years of age.

The child being punished is a preschooler (2-5 years old).

The child's misbehavior involves hurting someone else or putting themselves in danger.

Any surprises here?


The NEW Confident Parenting is a book that discusses all of the issues surrounding the use of physical punishment and offers an entire program for raising children without ever having to use physical punishment.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We Must Stop Hitting Children! Part 5 -- Approval of Hitting is Declining

Belief in the utility and even necessity of physical punishment as a method of child rearing has been strong through generations of Americans from at least the early 17th century to the present day. Now, four hundred years later at the beginning of the 21st century, American approval of physical punishment by parents is showing signs of decline.

In the 1960s, 94 percent of adults were in favor of physical punishment. According to the General Social Surveys (GSS), by 1986 84 percent of American adults agreed that children sometimes need a “good hard spanking.” In the latest GSS completed in 2004, the percentage had dropped to 71.3 percent of surveyed Americans as agreeing or strongly agreeing with that statement.

It is clear that although Americans remain more in favor of physical punishment than Europeans, Americans' approval of physical punishment of children by parents has declined gradually yet steadily over the last 40 years.

Do you approve or are you among those who do not?


The NEW Confident Parenting is a book that discusses all of the issues surrounding the use of physical punishment and offers an entire program for raising children without ever having to use physical punishment.