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No Spanking Allowed in TN This Week

April 25, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - If you've ever been a parent, you know how difficult it can be to raise a child. Deb Sendek, program director of the Center for Effective Discipline, says spanking was once considered effective discipline - even just a generation ago - but now has been shown by research to be ineffective.

Many parents instinctively don't like to spank their children, but they don't know what else to do, Sendek says. She describes spanking as just a form of punishment that causes pain and fear, but doesn't translate to positive discipline.

"If you're trying to teach a child a lesson and you have a child who is looking at you, thinking 'You hurt me, why should I listen?' or 'You hurt me but you say you care,' those things don't really translate."

Sendek says spanking can lead to physical-abuse cases, when a parent loses control. She points out the ways to win cooperation and solve problems by using consequences with your children, but first warns it's important for parents to take a time-out when they feel heated.

"Then you can say to your child, 'You know, I feel bad you don't have your bike but that's the consequence; you made the choice for your behavior, and now this is the consequence of it', and you don't have to feel guilty about the discipline."

Sendek adds that studies show spanking can make children aggressive as well as cause low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

SpankOut Day USA, which falls on April 30, the last day of Child Abuse Prevention Month, was initiated in 1998 to raise awareness about the need to end physical punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of disciplining. Informational events will be held throughout the state this week, and on April 30, all caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children and look for alternative methods of discipline.

SpankOut information is available at www.stophitting.org.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - TN