Valley parents weigh in on latest spanking study

FRESNO, Calif.

Lois Auld is a busy, Clovis mom with three kids. Two of them literally hung out with her today, climbing trees at a Northeast Fresno park. As they become young adults...Lois looks at discipline differently now, than when they were little.

She said, "As a child I was spanked and I turned out fine. There's a certain point; my kids are 14, 12 and 10 and now of course, we don't spank but when they were younger, I can say that I did spank them. Not abusively."

Lois says changing her approach to discipline as the kids grew and changed worked for her family.

"There is a certain point when you need to communicate with your kids and my kids are great, very well-behaved kids, and I think that's the reason," she said.

A new study in the journal, Pediatrics, is once again challenging parents' views on spanking.

Researchers say even non-abusive physical punishment such as spanking can lead to mood and anxiety disorders. The study's author says, "physical punishment should not be used on any child."

Ellen Truschel, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Northwest Fresno says spanking is ineffective because it leads to a disconnect with the parent and resentment.

"And spanking may stop the behavior, but it doesn't necessarily deal with the problem the child is having," Truschel said.

There's such a need to address parent/child relationships that Truschel holds an open parenting seminar once a month. She says behaviors are often the result of stresses on the child and instead of punishment, parents need to address the stress.

She said, "What we teach is how to regulate stress and how to build connection and how to build safety. And so spanking doesn't solve problems in the long run."

As the spanking debate continues, parents like Fresno mom Tiana Hartsock believe discipline isn't one size fits all. "Being a parent, is you have to figure it out. It's not just set in stone."

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