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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - March 6, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8015
Date: 2009-01-19

Author:Sheri McMahon

Subject:Re: child trauma

Re: objects: Child abuse/neglect policy is always going to be implemented within the framework of established law, which is also going to include caselaw. In the mid-80's, Christian parents who used a plastic spoon for spanking were the subjects of a substantiated child abuse finding. No criminal charges were pressed. The CA/N finding was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed that the use of the spoon did not constitute abuse under the legal definition of abuse (which included significant physical or emotional harm). Since then, there have been instances in which local agencies have disregarded (or are not familiar with) the state court finding and announce to parents that corporal punishment with an object is illegal, period. I have detailed knowledge of two of those instances in which the parents used the particular case to overturn administrative findings regarding alleged abuse. The parents had been told by CA/N investigators--as other parents are likely told and seem to believe--that corporal punishment is illegal, period. (In one case, the father had been arrested by a police detective who found himself having to acknowledge his own parenting practices, including spanking, on the witness stand). That U.S. laws and courts do not follow European trends is not at all surprising (think national health care, capital punishment, drug policy). And professionals do work within their cultures. In states where corporal punishment is allowed in schools, an object is used. Any views or objective evidence on whether there is any fundamental difference in using an object vs. using a hand? I suppose the rationale is that the parent using their hand can judge the force of the blow--but is that even accurate? A flat object disperses the physical force in ways a hand might not--not to mention the difference between a flat object and a narrow belt or piece of electrical wire (yet a parent who uses a wide belt is apt to be perceived as more aggressive and violent than one who uses a narrow belt). What about the difference between a spank on the buttocks of a toddler who is standing vs. forcing a child to lie down flat, face down (talk about vulnerable position) to receive a spanking? I think in loco parentis generally does not mean state power--it means whoever is standing in the place of a parent (such as in school, care-giving situations--and until the early 70's, colleges and universities); parens patrie refers to the power of the state to intercede. Sheri McMahon From: Lehmann, Peter To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 4:07 PM Subject: RE: child trauma Some years ago at the first conference on children exposed to domestic violence in London Canada I heard Murray Straus say there was one thing that would dramatically cut the rates at which children experience maltreatment; teach, support, and encourage parents not to spank. So, it is still pretty amazing that in 2009 and after the evidence is in, the professional field is still in favor of saying that under certain conditions and using certain techniques it's ok. p in tx From: bounce-3471979-6833529@list.cornell.edu [bounce-3471979-6833529@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of DeanTong@aol.com [DeanTong@aol.com] Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 9:23 AM To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu Subject: Re: child trauma This APA release http://www.apa.org/releases/spanking.html for the most part reinforces Gershoff's findings. It does allude to the fact that corporal punishment (Most true Christians insist on following-up corporal punishment with a hug of the child) does bring immediate child compliance. Dr. Straus and I, et al, argued our points on this very topic about 10 years ago at a conference in the beltway. I'm torn between the fairly strong empirical data that shows parents shouldn't administer slaps, whacks, et al for disciplinary reasons, and taking away parents' rights to control their children's behaviors so long as they don't leave "significant welts or bruises." And in my 25 years in this issue I've always told parents to only apply an open hand on the buttocks and to no other anatomical area and with no other tool (spoon, coat hanger, strap, belt, et al). Other alternative disciplinary measures such as "time out" or "taking away privileges" are not absolute remedies in controlling children's aberrant behaviors. And as someone who has consulted with thousands of families since 1984 on this very topic I always worry about giving more control to the State. In law, this is called in loco parentis or parens patriae. I'm certain our incoming Secretary of State, the author of the book "It Takes A Village," Hillary Clinton, would concur with Dr. Straus' findings herein. That said, is there still not a line of demarcation between the administration of corporal punishment and physical child abuse? Dean Tong Dean Tong, MSc., Forensic Trial Consultant 604 Brentwood Place Brandon, FL 33511 813.657.4930, Ph/Fax 813.417.5362, Cell 800.854.0735, Books/Media http://www.abuse-excuse.com http://www.DeanTong.com Read Dean Tong's articles online at www.newswithviews.com/Tong/deanA.htm Disclaimer: Dean Tong is not an attorney licensed to practice law. His professional opinion herein must not be construed as legal advice. And the recipient of this e-mail should always first query an attorney for professional legal advice. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail please delete the same. In a message dated 1/16/2009 9:57:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, murray.straus@unh.edu writes: Dear Todd & List: The most pervasive, and also the most ignored child trauma, is being hit by parents in the name of "discipline." Our national surveys and other studies have found that at least a third of parents hit infants -- typically a slap on the hand for touching something forbidden or dangerous or for repeatedly pushing food off a high chair tray. The percentage increases to over 90% for spanking or slapping toddlers. American culture (and most others) define this as harmless if done "in moderation" by loving parents. However, the empirical evidence indicates the harmlessness is a cultural myth. Below is a list of some of the studies providing the evidence indicating that being hit by parents is a traumatic experience for children, and that it has the typical effects of being a victim of a traumatic experience. All of the studies are available in the Corporal Punishment Papers section of my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 These studies, which can be downloaded from my website, have found that more corporal punishment, the greater the probability of: * Post traumatic stress symptoms (paper CP67 - paper in preparation, but preliminary Power Point is on my website) * Slower than average growth in cognitive ability (paper CP51R) * Antisocial behavior (paper CP24) * Depressive symptoms (paper CP03) * Physical violence to dating and marital partners later in life (paper CP23) * A summary of longitudinal studies which help establish the causal direction (paper CP41) The "effect sizes" for the above are low, but because corporal punishment is experienced by over 90% of American children, the cumulative adverse effect on American children and American society is very large (see page 212 of attached paper CP41 on Benefits of Never Spanking). Also of interest may be the following on my website * National survey showing that 94% of parents hit toddlers, at least occasionally (paper CP36) * Article documenting the neglect in the scholarly literature of research showing harmful effects of corporal punishment (paper CP65) I also recommend the following excellent meta analysis: Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539-579. Best, Murray Murray A. Straus Professor of Sociology and Co-Director Family Research Laboratory University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594 Fax: 603-862-1122 murray.straus@unh.edu Copies of many of my papers and some out-of-print books can be downloaded from my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 . For information about the Family Research Laboratory, conferences, and bibliographies of publications by members of the laboratory log into www.unh.edu/frl From: bounce-3453666-6832966@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3453666-6832966@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Todd McDonald Sent: 2009-01-12 11:12 To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu Subject: child trauma List members, could someone point me towards some of the most recent empirical studies of child trauma? We recently purchased the child welfare trauma training toolkit, but would like our staff to read a few articles about trauma in advance. Todd McDonald

Re: objects: Child abuse/neglect policy is always going to be implemented within the framework of established law, which is also going to include caselaw. In the mid-80's, Christian parents who used a plastic spoon for spanking were the subjects of a substantiated child abuse finding. No criminal charges were pressed. The CA/N finding was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which affirmed that the use of the spoon did not constitute abuse under the legal definition of abuse (which included significant physical or emotional harm). Since then, there have been instances in which local agencies have disregarded (or are not familiar with) the state court finding and announce to parents that corporal punishment with an object is illegal, period. I have detailed knowledge of two of those instances in which the parents used the particular case to overturn administrative findings regarding alleged abuse. The parents had been told by CA/N investigators--as other parents are likely told and seem to believe--that corporal punishment is illegal, period. (In one case, the father had been arrested by a police detective who found himself having to acknowledge his own parenting practices, including spanking, on the witness stand). That U.S. laws and courts do not follow European trends is not at all surprising (think national health care, capital punishment, drug policy). And professionals do work within their cultures. In states where corporal punishment is allowed in schools, an object is used. Any views or objective evidence on whether there is any fundamental difference in using an object vs. using a hand? I suppose the rationale is that the parent using their hand can judge the force of the blow--but is that even accurate? A flat object disperses the physical force in ways a hand might not--not to mention the difference between a flat object and a narrow belt or piece of electrical wire (yet a parent who uses a wide belt is apt to be perceived as more aggressive and violent than one who uses a narrow belt). What about the difference between a spank on the buttocks of a toddler who is standing vs. forcing a child to lie down flat, face down (talk about vulnerable position) to receive a spanking? I think in loco parentis generally does not mean state power--it means whoever is standing in the place of a parent (such as in school, care-giving situations--and until the early 70's, colleges and universities); parens patrie refers to the power of the state to intercede. Sheri McMahon From: Lehmann, Peter To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 4:07 PM Subject: RE: child trauma Some years ago at the first conference on children exposed to domestic violence in London Canada I heard Murray Straus say there was one thing that would dramatically cut the rates at which children experience maltreatment; teach, support, and encourage parents not to spank. So, it is still pretty amazing that in 2009 and after the evidence is in, the professional field is still in favor of saying that under certain conditions and using certain techniques it's ok. p in tx From: bounce-3471979-6833529list.cornell.edu [bounce-3471979-6833529list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of DeanTongaol.com [DeanTongaol.com] Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 9:23 AM To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu Subject: Re: child trauma This APA release http://www.apa.org/releases/spanking.html for the most part reinforces Gershoff's findings. It does allude to the fact that corporal punishment (Most true Christians insist on following-up corporal punishment with a hug of the child) does bring immediate child compliance. Dr. Straus and I, et al, argued our points on this very topic about 10 years ago at a conference in the beltway. I'm torn between the fairly strong empirical data that shows parents shouldn't administer slaps, whacks, et al for disciplinary reasons, and taking away parents' rights to control their children's behaviors so long as they don't leave "significant welts or bruises." And in my 25 years in this issue I've always told parents to only apply an open hand on the buttocks and to no other anatomical area and with no other tool (spoon, coat hanger, strap, belt, et al). Other alternative disciplinary measures such as "time out" or "taking away privileges" are not absolute remedies in controlling children's aberrant behaviors. And as someone who has consulted with thousands of families since 1984 on this very topic I always worry about giving more control to the State. In law, this is called in loco parentis or parens patriae. I'm certain our incoming Secretary of State, the author of the book "It Takes A Village," Hillary Clinton, would concur with Dr. Straus' findings herein. That said, is there still not a line of demarcation between the administration of corporal punishment and physical child abuse? Dean Tong Dean Tong, MSc., Forensic Trial Consultant 604 Brentwood Place Brandon, FL 33511 813.657.4930, Ph/Fax 813.417.5362, Cell 800.854.0735, Books/Media http://www.abuse-excuse.com http://www.DeanTong.com Read Dean Tong's articles online at www.newswithviews.com/Tong/deanA.htm Disclaimer: Dean Tong is not an attorney licensed to practice law. His professional opinion herein must not be construed as legal advice. And the recipient of this e-mail should always first query an attorney for professional legal advice. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail please delete the same. In a message dated 1/16/2009 9:57:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, murray.strausunh.edu writes: Dear Todd & List: The most pervasive, and also the most ignored child trauma, is being hit by parents in the name of "discipline." Our national surveys and other studies have found that at least a third of parents hit infants -- typically a slap on the hand for touching something forbidden or dangerous or for repeatedly pushing food off a high chair tray. The percentage increases to over 90% for spanking or slapping toddlers. American culture (and most others) define this as harmless if done "in moderation" by loving parents. However, the empirical evidence indicates the harmlessness is a cultural myth. Below is a list of some of the studies providing the evidence indicating that being hit by parents is a traumatic experience for children, and that it has the typical effects of being a victim of a traumatic experience. All of the studies are available in the Corporal Punishment Papers section of my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 These studies, which can be downloaded from my website, have found that more corporal punishment, the greater the probability of: * Post traumatic stress symptoms (paper CP67 - paper in preparation, but preliminary Power Point is on my website) * Slower than average growth in cognitive ability (paper CP51R) * Antisocial behavior (paper CP24) * Depressive symptoms (paper CP03) * Physical violence to dating and marital partners later in life (paper CP23) * A summary of longitudinal studies which help establish the causal direction (paper CP41) The "effect sizes" for the above are low, but because corporal punishment is experienced by over 90% of American children, the cumulative adverse effect on American children and American society is very large (see page 212 of attached paper CP41 on Benefits of Never Spanking). Also of interest may be the following on my website * National survey showing that 94% of parents hit toddlers, at least occasionally (paper CP36) * Article documenting the neglect in the scholarly literature of research showing harmful effects of corporal punishment (paper CP65) I also recommend the following excellent meta analysis: Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 539-579. Best, Murray Murray A. Straus Professor of Sociology and Co-Director Family Research Laboratory University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 603-862-2594 Fax: 603-862-1122 murray.strausunh.edu Copies of many of my papers and some out-of-print books can be downloaded from my website http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2 . For information about the Family Research Laboratory, conferences, and bibliographies of publications by members of the laboratory log into www.unh.edu/frl From: bounce-3453666-6832966list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3453666-6832966list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Todd McDonald Sent: 2009-01-12 11:12 To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu Subject: child trauma List members, could someone point me towards some of the most recent empirical studies of child trauma? We recently purchased the child welfare trauma training toolkit, but would like our staff to read a few articles about trauma in advance. Todd McDonald