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To Spank or Not: No Rush toward Ban in NH

December 10, 2007

Concord, NH - Could it happen here? A proposal to ban spanking in Massachusetts has generated discussion of similar legislation in New Hampshire, but some health professionals are dismissing the idea. Dr. Louis Josephson, CEO of Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, agrees there are gentler ways to discipline children than by spanking them. However, he questions a legislative solution.

"Passing a law does not necessarily change behavior of parents, and I would much rather see funding go toward prevention programs that already exist, rather than passing a law."

Josephson notes that child health professionals, including the National Association of Social Workers in New Hampshire, think a better solution is to show parents more effective forms of discipline. In addition to reducing family violence, they explain that "gentler," teaching strategies are more effective than spanking children. Josephson adds these techniques also are easy to adopt.

"A strong tone of voice and consistent consequences are the things that really make a difference in terms of a child's behavior."

John Robinson, Public News Service - NH