2014 Archives

For anti-spanking movement, changing the culture like “fighting a glacier.”


The following are from The Washington Post and The Houston Chronicle, as well as Fox 4 New and WB 33 News. SMU Psychology Professor George Holden, who is critical of the usefulness of spanking children, provided expertise for these stories.

From WB 33News and Fox 4 News

September 18, 2014

From The Washington Post

By Steve Hendrix

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.”

Holden helped launch the group in 2011, which was the subject of this piece in The Washington Post Magazine last year. Organizers hope to nudge states, school systems and, eventually, the U.S. Congress toward a ban on corporal punishment. They have made some progress: All but two states have outlawed spanking in day-care centers and fewer than 20 still allow kids to be paddled in schools.

But Holden said public sentiment overall hasn’t budged. He cites a 2013 Harris poll in which 81 percent of respondents said sometimes it was appropriate to spank a child.

Read the full story . . . 

Editorial by The Houston Chronicle

Adrian Peterson, a swift and powerful Minnesota Vikings running back with the strength and size to punish would-be tacklers, will be on the field Sunday when the Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints. Presumably, the cuts, welts and bruises the 29-year-old football great inflicted on his 4-year-old son while giving him a "whooping" have healed by now, although the issues the incident raises are very much in the air, as well they should be.

We need to talk about corporal punishment in this country; we need to question whether hitting or slapping or whipping a child is ever appropriate. And while we're at it, we might ask whether a child who's beaten ever truly heals, regardless of whether the punishment is "for his own good."

In the words of the co-founder of a fledgling anti-spanking organization, George Holden of Dallas, the Peterson case is "a teachable moment." We agree.

Read the full editorial . . .



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