I was going to write a nice nostalgic article on Thanksgiving projects, like making pictures of turkeys by tracing your hand or cutting out paper tail feathers, writing what students are thankful for on them, and pasting them to a picture of a turkey. I had visions of readers sharing their memories of grade school Thanksgiving traditions. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Then I read the comments from on the causes of ADHD and the turkey project idea flew right out the window.
On the most part, I really enjoy reading the comments after my articles, but sometimes I wonder what on earth people are thinking. This was the case with last week’s article. I was just recovering from reading the comment from the pro-pesticide activists who cited hypochondriac parents as the ones who believe ADHD can be caused by exposure to pesticides, when I saw the comment on pro-spanking. This reader believes, “Spankings, from a very young age would solve the majority of problems with today’s kids.” Among the many questions I have for that reader, the first one is, “How young are we talking here?” Three months? Six months? In utero? However horrified I was, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, she could have just emerged from her cold war bomb shelter and not yet had the chance to get up to speed.
Aside from my purely emotional response stemming from my belief that it is never, ever, okay to hit a child – and that’s exactly the definition of spanking – research shows that spanking can be detrimental to a child. One of the articles I read cited five studies ( www.lcc.ctc.edu) all concluding that parents should not spank. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “the more children are spanked, the more anger they report as adults … the more likely they are to approve of hitting a spouse. Spanking has been associated with higher rates of physical aggression, more substance abuse, and increased risk of crime and violence.”
According to Barbara Bennett, Marriage and Family Therapist, supporters of spanking are most likely to have been spanked themselves and are looking for retribution. Those who say they were spanked and turned out just fine, are fine in spite of being spanked and not because of it. She refers to this as “Destructive Entitlement,” which is a feeling of justification as in, “It was good enough for me so it will be good for you.” The truth is, spanking causes fear in children that, in turn, creates low self-esteem. “Good parenting takes work but everyone wants a quick fix,” Bennett says. “Hitting is the easy way out.”
Sue Schaefer is a student advocate, academic coach, and certified teacher. We encourage you to visit her website:
Academic Coaching Associates. You may email Sue at
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