March 2, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) — SMU psychologist George Holden and a group of colleagues from around the nation are on a mission to help children. The website EndhittingUSA.org launched on March 1 with the goal of eradicating all forms of physical and emotional punishment of children in the U.S.
“Discrete efforts to end the corporal punishment of children have existed for decades and we have launched this alliance as the first unified movement in the U.S. to end commonly accepted forms of violence against children--including spanking,” Holden said. “EndhittingUSA.org provides an avenue to bring together proponents of nonviolent childrearing.”
In addition to eliminating the use of corporal punishment as a means of disciplining a child, alliance members want to educate the public about the negative effects of physical and emotional abuse of children. Extensive research conducted by child development experts and child advocacy organizations have indicated that spanking creates anti-social behaviors and a tendency to be aggressive toward parents, siblings and even future spouses, Holden notes. Further research shows that children who experience corporal punishment suffer higher incidences of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol problems and low self worth.
In the U.S., efforts to stop the practice of corporal punishment of children began in the 1820s. As recently as 1987, organizations such as the Center for Effective Discipline coordinated with the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools and End Physical Punishment of Children to address the growing issue of accepted violence against children.
“We aim to educate the public about the serious problems associated with corporal punishment, pursue legal remedies when necessary, and to turn the tide against the status quo of hitting infants, children and youth,” Holden said.
Holden is nationally recognized as a leading expert on corporal punishment and the negative effect it has on child development. For more information about his research, log on to http://smu.edu/psychology/html/people/holden.html
# # #