Experts: Not sparing rod can turn kids into bullies


Associated Press

NEW YORK — Widespread parental misconceptions about discipline and behavior may result in a growing number of overly aggressive, easily frustrated children, according to experts who surveyed more than 1,000 parents with youngsters 6 and under.

The nationwide survey, released Wednesday, found that 61 percent of the parents condone spanking as a regular form of punishment for young children despite research indicating corporal punishment can be harmful.

Fifty-seven percent of the parents said even a 6-month-old child can be spoiled, a belief the survey coordinators said is incorrect.

"If you don’t pick up a baby when he is crying, you can build up his levels of stress and distress," said Dr. Kyle Pruett, professor of psychiatry at Yale University’s Child Study Center. "Responding to your child’s needs is not spoiling."

Pruett is president of Zero To Three, a nonprofit child-development organization that sponsored the survey along with Civitas, another nonprofit group, and Brio Corp., a toymaker.

Pruett said the surveyed parents showed an encouraging grasp of some key principles — that emotional closeness is of vital importance and that experiences even in the first few months of life can have a significant effect.

However, he was concerned about findings that suggested many parents had unrealistic expectations of behavior — for example, expecting that a child of 15 months should be able to share toys.

"We’re potentially raising overly aggressive children who react to situations with intimidation and bullying, instead of cooperation and understanding; children who won’t be able to tolerate frustration, wait their turn or respect the needs of others," Pruett said.

Ron Lally, co-director of the San Francisco-based Center for Child and Family Studies, said he was surprised that so many parents condoned the spanking of young children.

"Why would anyone spank an infant or toddler?" Lally asked. "There is nothing he or she can learn from it other than to distrust bigger and more powerful people."

The child-development survey was conducted in June and July by DYG Inc., headed by pollster Daniel Yankelovich. In all, 3,000 adults were surveyed, including 1,066 parents with children 6 or under. The margin of error, for the responses from parents, was 3.1 percentage points.

On the Net:

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

More in Local News

A close friendship is lost to fire

An 88-year-old Smokey Point mobile home resident died despite a valiant effort by neighbors.

Jensen Webster sorts through food stuffs at the Sultan High School in Sultan on March 14, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Sultan school children take charge to help their peers

The Sky Valley Youth Coalition has installed pantries at schools so kids can take food home.

Everett woman found dead identified as 21-year-old

There were no obvious signs of trauma on the body of Brianna Leigh Nyer.

Ivar’s in Mukilteo closes for disinfection after illnesses

The Snohomish Health District said it’s not certain what caused some patrons to get sick.

State will spend millions on task forces and reports

Here are eight undertakings that will incite possible action by lawmakers in the future.

Everett man admits deadly slashing of 2 Maltby-area women

John Dimitri Kuljis Jr. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

State: Secret deal endangers Marysville Strawberry Festival

The “bizarre” agreement promises a former leader up to $175,000 if the group fails to meet his demands.

Bond sale reveals Paine Field terminal cost is about $40M

Propeller Airports, which is building on land leased from the county, raised the money in February.

Destroyer USS Ralph Johnson to arrive in Everett on April 27

The brand-new ship will join five other guided-missile destroyers that call Naval Station Everett home.

Most Read