NFL player Adrian Peterson – Charges of Child-Abuse

It’s Never OK

r (Co-founder, Parents’ Action for Children) and  (Film director and co-founder, Parents’ Action for Children)

Adrian PetersonLast week NFL player Adrian Peterson turned himself in on charges of child abuse after a session of disciplining his 4-year-old son left cuts, welts and

bruises on the boy’s body.

The gruesome incident sparked a national debate about whether or not it’s ever OK for a parent to hit a child. Research shows the answer is a resounding “No!”

Most parents believe they are doing the right thing when they strike or spank their child, but experts say that hitting a child causes more long-term harm than good — even if it temporarily corrects misbehavior.

Murray Straus, a parenting expert and the director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, writes in his book The Primordial Violence:

[S]panking does not work better than other modes of correction, such as time out, explaining, and depriving a child of privileges. Moreover, the research clearly shows that the gains from spanking come at a big cost. These include weakening the tie between children and parents and increasing the probability that the child will hit other children and their parents, and as adults, hit a dating or marital partner. Spanking also slows down mental development and lowers the probability of a child doing well in school.

We know that children learn by imitating what they see their parents saying and doing. Hitting children when they do something wrong teaches them that violence is the appropriate response to feelings of anger.

Discipline is about teaching, and a child does not need to be hurt to learn. So even if you were spanked as a kid (and many parents today were), the science shows there are much safer and more effective methods of addressing misbehavior.

The Parents Action for Children video “Discipline: Teaching Limits With Love,” hosted by renowned child-development expert Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, explores the most effective, nonviolent methods of addressing misbehavior and explains how to establish discipline with children from the start.

It’s normal to be upset with a child who annoys you, goes against your wishes or just won’t listen. But keep in mind that it’s never OK to translate your anger into physical actions or verbal abuse.

Your ultimate goal should be to communicate your message in a calm, firm way. If your child sees you working to calm yourself down, even if you have to leave the room to do it, she will know that it’s OK to get angry and then calm down and regain control before dealing with a situation.

A child can only learn behavior that she sees, and you are her most important role model.


About the Author:

Douglas P. Earl, Esquire brings over 24 years of experience to every family and criminal law case. He is a 1982 graduate of Villanova University. Upon graduation from Villanova University Mr. Earl worked as a tax auditor from 1983-1987 for the Multi-state Unit of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue where he audited Corporations in the New York area. This has given Mr. Earl invaluable experience in looking for records. He is a 1988 graduate of New York Law School. While attending law school, Mr. Earl continued working for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue until 1987. He then was an intern with the Kings (Brooklyn) County, New York District Attorney’s Office until his graduation from law school in 1988. He has handled family court matters is many difference counties across the state. Mr. Earl practices primarily in the area of Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. He has handled matters as far away as Erie.