As child abuse allegations continue to make front-page news, WAKR’S Ray Horner recently spoke with pediatric psychologist Geoffrey Putt, director of outpatient therapy centers at Akron Children’s Hospital, about discipline techniques and positive parenting.
“Many people do what they were taught…and if that [spanking] is what you learned and experienced, it puts you in a difficult situation,” said Dr. Putt. “People don’t have a really specific definition of where the line is between the use of spanking as a parent’s right or prerogative and when it does cross the line into child abuse, something illegal or a violation of statutes.”
As a general guideline, a visible mark after 24 hours, cut, bruise or broken bone is considered abuse. Although this seems like common sense, when a parent is angry, he may not realize a line has been crossed until it’s too late.
“Punishment, of any kind, is going to be more physical when you’re angry,” said Dr. Putt. “Time outs work for parents too…through our behavior management program we teach parents how to take care of themselves in a situation so they can cool off and not get to that point.”
Statistics show that 2 out of 3 American parents use spanking – a form of corporeal punishment – as a method of discipline.
“A lot of people see it [spanking] as a character building opportunity but, if you look at the research, the use of spanking actually increases aggression,” Dr. Putt said. “A study found that 3 year olds who were spanked twice a month were not only more aggressive at age 5, but more likely to be reactive with a physical response or use aggression to solve their problems.”
And, it’s this long-term effect of more aggression that is concerning.
Learn more about positive parenting techniques or call 330-543-6080.