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Domestic CP - February 2006
Tampa Tribune, Florida, 11 February 2006
They Took A Lickin' But Times Have Changed
By Panky Snow
PLANT CITY - Whatever happened to switchin's and spankin's, or "Just wait until your daddy comes home!"
You never hear people talking about that anymore.
But, wait! Maybe that's just the little ones you're hearing. The ones who are sent to their rooms for "time out" when they are naughty.
A simple survey of residents recently disclosed there are plenty of grown-ups who recall when punishments were real punishments.
Liz and Shorty Brown volunteered to tell what they remember.
"Anticipation was what we dreaded," said Shorty Brown, a strapping former athlete who, back in the 1940s, excelled in sports at Plant City High School.
"When I was about 8 or 10, my daddy would wait and wait and wait before finally giving me a couple of whacks," he said.
His wife, Liz, said she knew if she could postpone the punishment long enough, her mother would forget it. Especially if Liz hid the switch behind her back.
Sometimes, siblings could think of more things to do and would wind up getting more switchings than one miscreant deed would earn.
Etta Mae Busk recalled such a situation when their mama cat, Seaboard, had three kittens.
When the kittens got a little bigger, she and her sisters, Virginia and Marian, took them upstairs and dressed them up in doll clothes. There's nothing wrong in dressing up kittens if you're careful and you pick up after them. But when you leave doll clothes lying around the house, that spells trouble.
"I remember Mama sending me out in the yard to get a switch. When I came back in, she said it was not big enough and I had to get back out and get a bigger one," Etta Mae said.
Ernestine DeShong was an only child, so if things "didn't go right," her mother would send her out to cut a "little keen switch," too.
"My daddy was too kind-hearted to punish me," she said.
Bill Haskett, a retired Asgro plant pathologist, said his father used a strop to sharpen his razor and to keep him in line.
"We respected that," he said, "but it wasn't as bad as having our mouths washed out with soap by our aunt in Indianapolis if we said something bad."
Anne Haywood, director of Bruton Memorial Library, said she, too, once had to "eat" some soap. "I was rarely spanked but I was threatened," she said.
Barbara Ann Sutton, who grew up in Plant City, lives in Orlando with her husband, Clifford. But she grew up with two older brothers, Ted and Harrison Covington.
"I was so good, I didn't need switching," she said. Then, as an afterthought, and a small laugh, she said, "That's not totally true."
But the truth was, that by the time her dad got home, everything had been forgotten.
That was then and this is now, however. Donna Golub, director of the University of South Florida's family center, said recently that very few people spank their children any more.
"Parents use time out - when the child is sent to a quiet place in the house - or they use redirection," she said. "For instance, when a child bites another, we let them know it hurts and is not acceptable. We may shadow that child and try to find the reason for his or her biting. We send messages to parents of both children."
Personally, I recall both spanking and switching when Mama would send my sister, Dodo, and me out to the backyard guava bush for three switches. One for Dodo, one for me and one for Mama. If Dodo and I didn't apply ourselves to switching each other, Mama stepped in.
That, however, was far better than the ultimate punishment: Kissing and making up.
Dodo would dutifully kiss me on the cheek. I, on the other hand, having stationed myself on the other side of Dodo, would reach up and lick her all down one side of her face.
It was far more satisfying than fussing.
TBO.com is Tampa Bay Online 2006 Media General, Inc. All rights reserved
Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio, 18 February 2006
Judge: Malone didn't break law
But he tells ex-councilman to reconsider belt-whipping
By Sharon Coolidge
Former Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone did not commit a crime when he beat his 14-year-old son with a belt in May, a judge determined Friday.
Hamilton County Municipal Judge Russell Mock found Malone not guilty on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
Malone waived his right to a jury during the three-day trial last month, leaving it to Mock to decide whether the beating was punishment or a crime.
"I don't agree with what you did that day," Mock said. "I can't imagine placing a belt on any one of my children. But how you raise your son, sir, is your business.
"My job as a judge is to follow the law, even when I don't necessarily agree with it, so as a matter of law, the court is going to make a finding of not guilty."
The verdict outraged one corporal-punishment critic, who said state laws are too lax.
"Our laws don't protect children," said Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline.
Malone, 35, was arrested May 14 after his son told Cincinnati police Malone beat him with a belt - punishment for missing a checkpoint during a school field trip to Paramount's Kings Island in Mason.
At issue was whether Malone was within the law in punishing his son.
Ohio law permits corporal punishment but says it can go too far. When it puts the child at risk of death, causes serious physical injury or results in substantial pain, a parent has crossed the line from punishment to a crime.
During the trial, Malone defended whipping his son with a belt, explaining that he wanted to teach the teenager not to disrespect authority. The boy testified that the beating was painful and that a mark left on his leg by the belt's buckle lasted for months.
Mock said there was no evidence death could have resulted or that there was serious physical injury. He pointed out that a police officer testified at trial that he did not feel the need to call paramedics, and even when a family member took the teen to the hospital, doctors did not see the boy for several hours.
That tipped the decision toward innocence, Mock said.
Mock urged Malone to think about his actions and their relation to violence in Cincinnati.
"I just want you to think about this for a minute," Mock said. "Have you ever stopped to think about instead of instilling discipline that you testified to, that you might be instilling violence by taking those actions? Sir, if we are ever going to stop the circle of violence in our community, I would suggest that you might want to take a long, hard (look) at that."
The teen was not in court; nor was his aunt and legal guardian. They could not be reached for comment.
Malone, flanked by several friends, was visibly relaxed when Mock said the words "not guilty."
His supporters erupted into applause twice, prompting a bailiff to remind the group that such behavior is not acceptable.
Malone had faced up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine if he were convicted. Malone did not win re-election to council in November.
"I have always loved my son," Malone said after the hearing. "I will fight for my family."
He pointed out that there are cultural differences in society about the use of corporal punishment. He reiterated it is something he continues to believe in but must be used only when warranted.
"To me, it's my duty, my responsibility to make sure I equip my son with the tools" he needs to succeed, Malone said. "If he drops the tools, it's my responsibility to pick those tools up for him."
Malone, by order of the court, has not seen his son since his arrest.
The boy's aunt, his mother's sister, is fighting to get custody of him in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Malone and the boy's mother never married, with his mother raising their child until she died in a 2002 car accident.
That's when the boy went to live with Malone.
Center for Effective Discipline's Block said the community should be outraged at the judge's decision.
Her agency, based in Columbus, is a nonprofit organization that provides educational information to the public on the effects of corporal punishment on children and alternatives to its use.
Block said she wasn't surprised at the verdict.
"Legislators are involved in so many things, but this is what they should be looking at," she said. "Laws that protect children."
Block said her heart goes out to Malone's son.
"He just found out the state agrees with his father," she said. "He carries that with him both as a son and as a victim. Some kids can get beyond that, but others don't. I hope he's the former."
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Columbus Dispatch, Ohio, 19 February 2006
A punishing predicament
Spanking still provokes debate among parents, psychologists
By Mark Ellis
Storm warnings were in the air as a 13-year-old George Chatters approached his East Side home on his bike.
‘‘People in the neighborhood were saying my dad was looking for me," recalled Chatters, 39. ‘‘He was touring the city in his car."
The youth had broken a family rule not to leave the area without permission.
The enforcer: Dad’s belt.
‘‘I got it really good when I got home," he said. ‘‘I was hardheaded."
As a father of two, the Pickerington resident favors a less-physical approach to discipline, although he keeps spanking in his toolbox as a last resort.
Many other Americans do, too.
Despite a move away from spanking in recent decades, a majority of U.S. parents still approve of — and sometimes rely on — corporal punishment.
In 1968, according to the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, 94 percent of parents deemed spanking sometimes necessary — a figure that dropped to 61 percent by 2004, according to a national survey commissioned by the Center for Child and Family Studies in San Francisco.
The topic — particularly the question of when physical punishment becomes abuse — lay at the heart of a Hamilton County Municipal Court case in Cincinnati that involved former City Councilman Sam Malone.
He was found not guilty of domestic violence on Friday. He had been accused of beating his 14-year-old son with a belt for disrespecting a teacher.
The teenager suffered welts on his arms, legs, chest and buttocks.
Monitored by discipline experts, the case has refueled debate about physical punishment that causes pain but not injury to a child.
Psychologists are divided over any ban on the physical punishment of children, but even those who see no harm in occasional spanking view it as potentially damaging when used severely or as the main method of discipline.
In a survey, most pediatricians said they advise against physical punishment.
The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have asked educators to stop spanking students, but the groups haven't told parents never to spank their children.
Physical punishment is outlawed in 14 nations and limited in Canada to those older than 3 and younger than 13.
Twenty-eight states ban such punishment in schools. Ohio leaves the decision to individual districts; about 25 of 613 permit the practice.
Chatters, an author and enrollment adviser at Columbus State Community College, has 11- and 3-year-old daughters with wife Adrienne.
He counts on spanking as the "last layer of discipline — when there’s no other means to rectify the problem."
"It’s really not necessary to always physically punish," he said. "It can be a stern look or commenting . . . that I'm very disappointed, and then here come the tears."
His next step might be to take away TV, computer or telephone time.
Cari Brackett, an associate professor of pharmacy and family medicine at Ohio State University, remembers slapping her son at age 2 while changing a diaper. He had kicked her in the face. "I was hit a lot as a child," said the Grandview Heights mother, 48. "It was a reaction on my part. We both cried." In the 12 years since, the boy hasn't been struck in discipline. The approach that Brackett — along with her husband, David Anderson — considers most effective is based on discussing problems and modeling behavior.
"A child is a reflection of who you are and what you have taught him," she said. "If you deal with a child as a well intentioned, willing-to-learn, willing-to-please little person, and if you don't put them in a position where they can get themselves into trouble, they will do as you ask because they love you."
A child who is struck, Brackett said, learns that hitting is acceptable.
"We're admitting we don't know what else to do."
Keeping youngsters busy and redirecting their behavior before trouble starts represent the best strategies, Dublin psychologist Robert Fathman said.
A spoken reprimand usually suffices — followed by a task or chore "that benefits the injured party."
The 60-year-old father of four grown children was fond of making them clean his car as punishment.
Fathman serves as president of the nonprofit Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus — which opposes physical punishment.
"Almost all child abuse starts with hitting or shaking," he said.
As experts acknowledge, however, mild physical punishment is at least immediately effective.
Spanking works in the short term, research indicates, but no better than other methods, said Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory.
"The parent says: ‘That’s wrong. You've hurt your brother.’ Almost always, the child stops," he said. "Just like if you slap a child’s hand, they almost always stop.
"Whatever you do, it takes many repetitions," he said, because toddlers lack control of their behavior.
"In the longer run, spanking is less effective because it builds up an immunity. And, bit by bit, it chips away at the bond between child and parent."
As studies show, Straus said, children subjected to frequent physical punishment suffer depression as adults.
Those who say they are unharmed by childhood beatings, he said, are "the lucky ones."
Strict-parenting advocate John Rosemond — a psychologist, columnist and public speaker from Gastonia, N.C. — challenges such conclusions.
He doesn't advocate spanking but calls it not necessarily harmful.
"Sometimes, with children, you have to do something dramatic in order to create a memory," he said.
Corporal punishment is most effective with ages 2 to 6, he said, and might be appropriate — but rarely — through 10.
"If you find yourself spanking a lot or . . . on some regular basis with a child older than 6, the message is quite clear: Spanking is not working."
It should never be impulsive, even in the face of "belligerent defiance," Rosemond said.
"Cool yourself down."
The hand is the best tool for the job, he said: An adult whose hand begins to sting while spanking should stop.
A biblical reference (Proverbs 13:24) about the use of a rod for discipline is metaphorical, Rosemond and Fathman said.
They cited it as the cause of too much spanking with an object by parents who interpret the Bible literally.
"The rod was the guiding staff of shepherds," Fathman said. "The rod was a tool for guidance, not inflicting pain."
Copyright © 2006, The Columbus Dispatch
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