The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 7, 1997 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 7, 1997
Page 5
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SALINA JOURNAL PARENTING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1997 T PSCIPLINE Many parents agree: Spanking kids their duty R&ce, economic level, religion influnce adults' ideas about discipline B^BHANTANA CROOM St. tmtis Post-Dispatch f AST ST. LOUIS, 111. — Mamie Mtincrief makes no apologies for hef style of child rearing: plenty of lofe and an occasional spanking. JMoncrief, a great-grandmother fr$n East St. Louis, 111., worries abgut children who may get out of control — and into drugs and violence. So she believes, firmly, that patents sometimes must respond to fcad behavior with a swat on the regr. "It's abusive to smack a child around and call them names — thSt's wrong at any age," says M&tcrief, 70. "But spanking is not abftsive." IJJtany parents agree with Mon- crigf and believe that administer- ing^hysical discipline to children is their duty and right. A survey by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that 46 percent of people who responded said that they had hit or spanked their children in 1997. That's up four points from the 42 percent w 4 ho said they spanked in 1996. "Children's advocates warn that physical punishment can lead to serious injury or death. What's rndfe, they say physical punish- me'n't can become a cycle of abuse w*h6n a spanked child grows up into ah abusive adult. c Others say that physical disci- pljne is essential for effective parenting — a tool condoned by many families and their churches. lyiftre common with blacks Physical discipline is more common among black families than whfte families, said Don M&tthews, coordinator of the b,Mck studies program at St. Louis Uiii'versity. ' P'uring slavery, black families were afraid that if their children got out of line they would be lynched or raped; so they used physical punishment to correct them, he said. "They didn't want their kids to make a mistake and be liable to white society's rules," he said. "Black kids had to learn quickly. They couldn't afford to make a mistake, or it might cost them their lives." A study conducted by the National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse supports Matthews' claim. It found that blacks are nearly twice as likely to spank as whites. Dr. Thomas McKinney, a pediatrician in Chesterfield, Mo., agrees that, traditionally, black families have used corporal punishment more often. "I remember my grandmother telling me to get a switch off a tree because I did something she didn't like," he said. A family's economic level also influences choice of discipline methods, McKinney said. "I'm sure, more particularly, well-off people use corporal punishment less," he said. The survey by the child abuse prevention committee supports McKinney's theory. Families earning $15,000 or less were nearly twice as likely to spank as families earning $50,000 or more. In his own home, McKinney chooses not to use physical discipline. "I'm not one to' say one should never, ever spank a child, especially a child younger than 2 or 3 years old, but I lean toward never doing it at all," he said. Religion is another important influence on attitudes towards discipline, experts say. It's easy to find support for physical punishment in the Bible and other religious texts: But scriptures do not necessarily mean that parents should whip their children, said the Rev. Joel Lamb, pastor of Church Alive non- Scripps Howard News Service Mamie Moncrief of East St. Louis, III., with her granddaughter, Maghin Hopkins, believes parents sometimes must respond to bad behavior with spanking. Not all experts disagree. denominational church in north St. Louis County, Mo. Still, Lamb, 46, said that spanking is sometimes necessary. "The rod is not necessarily a belt or a stick or a punishment," he said. "It's corrective training, not just an old-fashioned whipping." Lamb defines corrective training as telling children that they are loved but also telling them the consequences of bad behavior. "We insist that our children have a proper education and diet, so we have to insist on our children having morals as well," he said. Child abuse increasing Child abuse is on the rise in the United States, according to a 50- state survey conducted by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse. The survey found more than 3.1 million cases recorded during 1996. So talk of continued physical punishment appalls the group. "Part of the danger of spanking is that some people spank when they are really angry and may lash out and may hurt or injure a child," said Joy Buyers, the committee's director of communications. The committee gives several reasons why parents should not spank to teach children discipline. Discipline should help children learn self-control. Spanking is used only to control children's behavior and does not teach self-control. Spanking doesn't teach children who is in charge; instead it teaches children fear. Good discipline teaches children to respect the adult in charge. Respect is a two- way street. Parents must respect children and give them some control — and, in turn, children will respect and listen to parents. Children do as parents do, not as parents say. If parents want their children to obey rules, solve their own problems and control their anger, they must set good examples for children to follow. Robert Fathman, a psychologist and co-chairman of EPOCH-USA, which stands for End Physical Punishment of Children, agrees with anti-spanking measures. "My true belief is you never have to hit a child. We don't hit grandma, spouses or even animals, so why is it OK to hit children?" he said. Ways to calm down Ways to calm down and not abuse your child: • Remember you are the adult. Take a deep breath. • Close your eyes and pretend you're hearing what your child is about to' hear. • Count to 10 .., or even 20. » Put your child in a time-out chair or corner, one minute for each year of age. Think about why you are angry; Is It your ;chlld, or are you using him or her as an unfair target? • Phone a loved one or friend. • Let someone else watch the children while you take a walk. • Splash some water on your face to cool down. • Hug a pillow. • Turn on some music, sing along. • Call for prevention Information: 1 (800) 55-NCPCA: Source: The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse I Hindow Woman Custom Window Treatments By Appointment P±* 822-0912 Elizabeth Bryan jCustom Decorating T HOMEWORK ENVIRONMENT Involve kids when creating study space VVften children are young, reserve area near parents; allow teens to study in rooms By; BARBARA HERTENSTEIN S(, Lquis Post-Dispatch Vv .,B,ack to school means back to the books (theoretically, at least). The next question becomes: Where to study? Most parents feel a child should have a designated study area: a desk, a chair and perhaps a computer. And that's fine. Kids like the IDEA of a desk. They even use it — on special occasions. "Its a good place to keep your stuff," says Kristen McWhirter, 11. \;!'<You can put your homework there after you';re finished with it. But I can't just sit like-this all the time," she adds, straightening her back as if sitting in a desk chair. •;>S.o where do they study? •ti'll sit on my bed with music on. I can't study in complete silence," says Catherine Gflysmala, 11. "Unless it's for a big test. Thep I turn the music off. I sit at my desk to write a letter or draw or if I'm studying something really serious." irYIilike to be outside," says Tabitha Fischer^: 10, in summer school at Governor French Academy, a private school in BeUeville, 111., named after the ninth gover- nor'of Illinois. Her classmate, Nicole Gaudin, agrees: ''Sometimes I use my desk, mostly for the CARE Scripps Howard News Service Members of the Bo-Linn family of west St. Louis County work together on a sun porch turned into a light, sunny study area off the family room. Triplets Michael, Sarah and Isabel, age 10, concentrate on their computers. computer, but I like to be out on the porch or in the grass." Even though if your puppy comes by, you might have to take time out to play with him, the girls said. (An added advantage is the old, the dog-ate-my-homework-ploy.) "I like to study at the kitchen table," Nicole says. "It's kind of noisy, with the phone and the dishwasher." "I sit at my desk if I have to memorize something, like poems," says Ryan Kirkman. Other kid-friendly items to try, offered by this group of fifth and sixth graders: • A lap desk with a board on one side and a pillow on the other. • A tray table like the one in the hospitals, to make it easy to study in your bed. • Special storage space for drawings and papers. A designated place to put your homework when it's done. .- Bean bag chairs, because they can be molded to any shape you like. The adult point of view also stresses flexibility. Keep youngsters close, says St. Louis designer Randee Jacobs of RJI Designs. "If you send them out of sight, they don't always do what you think they should. Some do better in the kitchen area or the hearth room. If that's the case, make a kid- friendly corner in the kitchen, maybe even a little computer area. They can be there while you're busy cooking." Jacobs recalled that she used to give her three children an hour or so to relax after school, then call them in to do homework about 5 p.m. while she prepared dinner. "Instead of having the TV on, have the kids at a desk in the kitchen. Set aside a couple of kitchen drawers for them. Give them a corner somewhere where Mom won't say: 'Now clean that up." " If there's no space in the kitchen, a desk area might even be in the laundry or mud room right next door. "The main purpose when they're young is to keep them close by," Jacobs says. "But by the time they're teens, they should have their own space the way they want it." That should include some kind of flat surface to work on and bookshelves. "Everybody has a different concept," says Belleville interior designer Carole Hiatt. "Some kids are very structured, other are not." Starting day care requires 'life plan' JUDY LYDEN Scripps Howard News Service 4 ''The No. 1 question I receive is: "How do you start a child care?" ••'-V& like to answer: "How do you start a symphony?" •Uet's say, just as « with a symphony, developing a place f&r- children to play and learn takes a "life plan." A life plan is something that grows. Firmly rooted in good adult discipline and a concrete idea, a life plan also has enough experience and creativity the obstacles of be- ginping. <- flerhaps the first consideration anning a child care is the ider or teacher. Does she understand very young children or she only guessing? L9ts of women want to "do child " but the truth is, most people . They can't discipline prop- or keep up the pace on an extended basis. The sweet old moth- t r^o-the-world attitude sinks many a well-intentioned ship. That best candidate is someone who can make the kind of emotional and intellectual commitment that goes beyond work hours. Planning for child care takes a lot of homework. Providers unwilling to work outside of work hours will be second rate. Space and light, too, are a big part of the life plan. Minimum requirement: 35 square feet for each child. Optimum? Twice that. Child-care space should be just that — child-care space. If you're going to make a space for children to play, do it right; empty a room of everything, open the drapes, and turn on the lights. Toys are a child's tools. There should be a variety of toys to choose from which are in top condition. There should be at least four play stations: art, library, building and house. Most toys will fit into these categories. Food is a moral consideration- Meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Child Care Food Program nutrition requirements is bottom-line. Care givers who avoid feeding children or who don't understand nutrition don't belong in child care. Life plans also include a regular curriculum or preplanned stuff for kids to do. Schedules that can be kept day in and day out are important. Just getting through days with the TV is sloppy child care. Schedule example: Breakfast, circle time, art, free play, reading, recess, lunch, recess, circle time, quiet time, snack, recess, free play. Such a plan needs to provide for all aspects of the day. Providers who can't manage a simple schedule and find children aimlessly roaming too much of the day should re-evaluate their plan. A son, Jerod Steven, was born Sept. 16 to Salinans Michelle R. Toogood and Jeffrey S. Nuss, 521 Russell Ave. Grandparents are Jerry and Kathy Burgess of rural Concordia, Melvin Nuss of Concordia and the late Marjorie Nuss. Great-grandparents are Coletta Wemhoff of Humphrey, Neb.; Mary Burgess of Smith Center and George Toogood of Florida. ***. A daughter, Olivia Marie, was born Sept. 28 to Shawn and Maria Opat of Salina. Grandparents are Arthur and Karen Lee and Martin and Nancy Opat of Salina. Great-grandparents are Harold and Aurice Bradford of Winfield; Bessie Lee of Ulysses and Barbara Mick of Salina. Llndsborg Commercial Building Metal construction on concrete slab with approximately 1,800 square feet. 3 separate work areas plus office & bath space. Great highway frontage at 214 S. Cole. $49,500. 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