“I’m not arguing one should be lax and not engage in any discipline, but one can easily discipline children without hitting them.” — George Holden

Holden, psychology, SMU, spanking, parenting, corporal punishment, discipline

Public News Service quoted SMU Psychology Professor George W. Holden as an expert source in an article about a new study from Duke University that warns against resorting to physical punishment.

The article, “Hug it Out: Experts Warn Against Physically Punishing Children,” published March 30, 2015.

Holden is a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family violence. He strongly advocates against corporal punishment and cites overwhelming research, including his own, that has demonstrated that spanking is not only ineffective, but also harmful to children, and many times leads to child abuse.

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.

His work into the determinants of parental behavior, parental social cognition, and the causes and consequences of family violence has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The Timberlawn Research Foundation, and, most recently, the U.S. State Department.

Read the full story.


By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service

This week, many Tennessee children are rejoicing because it’s spring break, but the time off from school may wear on the patience of some parents.

A new study from Duke University warns against resorting to physical punishment.

In the study of 1,000 children and mothers from eight different countries, researchers found that maternal warmth can’t dampen the anxiety and aggression connected to physical punishment.

“A parent who is both causing pain to the child by frequently hitting a child, but also saying they love them and hugging them, is very confusing to a child,” says George Holden, a psychology professor at Southern Methodist University. “It’s virtually unanimous that physical punishment is not an effective parenting technique.”

Instead of spanking or hitting, experts cited in the report recommend examining the causes of the behavior.

For example, asking questions such as, “Is your child hungry? Are you pushing them too hard?”

Holden adds joint problem solving is also effective, as well as modeling good behavior yourself.

Holden is one of the founders of the U.S. Alliance to Stop the Hitting of Children, which is a group of experts and parents lobbying for the end of physical means of punishment.

“It doesn’t promote good, warm, loving relationships, which is what is the most important thing to do in raising a child,” Holden stresses. “Now I’m not arguing one should be lax and not engage in any discipline, but one can easily discipline children without hitting them.”

Read the full story.

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