Magazine article USA TODAY

Spanking Sends the Wrong Signal

Magazine article USA TODAY

Spanking Sends the Wrong Signal

Article excerpt

Spanking children for wrongdoing has been eliminated from most schools. With child abuse so much on people's minds, many parents are refraining from spanking their offspring at home, as well. In this increasing trend of not picking up the paddle to punish kids, has one important weapon in the parents' arsenal for disciplining youngsters been eliminated, perhaps resulting in even more unruly children?

"Essentially, it's never really necessary to spank children," maintains Eugene Walker, a psychologist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. "Anybody who uses spanking frequently with a child quickly discovers two things--one, that it doesn't work, because children eventually get used to it, and, two, that if you use spanking very often, it usually worsens the child's behavior because [he or she] gets angry and hostile, and the ordeal becomes a power struggle."

He indicates that parents and teachers better can help youngsters by meting out more appropriate punishment. Grounding a youngster from activities, isolating a student from peers, taking privileges away to be earned back, having a parent sit in the classroom with his or her offspring, suspending the child, or having the student do extra work are all appropriate forms of positive discipline.

"When you use physical punishment, you don't really teach [kids] very much except that you are bigger and stronger than they are. If the punishment and correction are more constructive, the child learns faster and behaves better. …

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