Research has shown spanking is ineffective, and negative consequences can stem from corporal punishment.
Journalist Steve Hendrix with The Washington Post covered the research of SMU psychologist George W. Holden about the controversial practice of corporal punishment. The story, “For anti-spanking movement, changing the culture like “fighting a glacier,” published Sept. 15.
Holden was an expert source for WB33 News and Fox 4 News on corporal punishment, and his research was also cited by the political blog Think Progress in the article, “Adrian Peterson’s Child Abuse Allegations Reopen Debate Over Corporal Punishment,” published Sept. 13.
Holden, an expert in families and child development, is a founding member of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, endhittingusa.org.
Holden was recently elected president of Dallas’ oldest child abuse prevention agency, Family Compass.
Most recently Holden’s research, “Real-time audio of corporal punishment,” found that children misbehaved within 10 minutes of being spanked and that parents don’t follow the guidelines for spanking that pro-spanking advocates claim are necessary for spanking to be effective.
Other recent research, “Parents less likely to spank,” showed that parents who favor spanking changed their minds after they were briefly exposed to summaries of research detailing the negative impact of corporal punishment on children. Holden, who considers spanking a public health problem, said the research indicates that parents’ attitudes about spanking could economically, quickly and effectively be changed to consider alternative disciplinary methods.
Holden’s earlier research, “Corporal punishment: Mother’s self-recorded audio,” provided a unique real-time look at spanking in a way that’s never before been studied. In a study of 37 families, mothers voluntarily recorded their evening interactions with their young children over the course of six days, including incidents of corporal punishment.
By Stephen Hendrix
The Washington Post
George Holden is not glad that Adrian Peterson whipped his boy. But he’s glad that so many people are talking about it. The father of the fledgling ban-spanking movement has been spending the last few days fielding media calls and writing op-eds because he knows now is the time to get his no-hitting message out to a public in which huge majorities say spanking is okay.
“It’s like fighting a glacier,” said Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University and co-founder of the group EndHittingUSA.org. “But the Peterson case is a teachable moment. It’s a chance to tell parents that there is a lot of research evidence showing that hitting is not only ineffective but can result in unintended negative consequences for children.”
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