Feb 162009

We find it astonishing that Brian Lancaster could be so hypocritical as to lecture anyone about/social responsibility. Mr. Lancaster’s column, although perhaps written in jest, advises parents to “Torture . mercilessly/beat” and force children to cower into the fetal position, all of which meet the statutory definition of child abuse. Advising parents to beat their children is socially irresponsible, and in our opinion reprehensible.

Colorado ranks third in the nation for child deaths resulting from child abuse according to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. In our country, three children die every day from child abuse./ A substantial body of research indicates that corporal punishment does not lead to children’s self-regulated behavior. To the contrary, it is consistently associated with much higher rates of aggression, delinquency and multiple other negative child outcomes later in development.

Parents who use discipline strategies such as reasoning, consequences and, yes, timeouts are more successful in encouraging self-regulated behavior. In short, children should have their own social and moral compass to guide their way through life. Blind obedience to authority figures will not result in self-regulated behavior. Parents should encourage important skills like autonomy, empathy, commitment to a cause and thoughtfulness.

We disagree that Brian Lancaster “turned out great.” As an “educated” adult, he supports the use of physical abuse between human beings. Such views perpetuate violence and hatred in the world. Perhaps it would be better to encourage empathy and kindness.

Aimee Walker, graduate student

David MacPhee, professor

Human Development and Family Studies

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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