Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Judge and the Coach

It’s been two weeks since Hillary Adams posted the video of her father, Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, beating her with a belt.  The scandal involving Penn State covering up child sexual abuse has been heavily covered in the media since the story broke on Saturday.  The old adage, “When it rains, it pours,” is certainly applicable to child abuse in the media.  If you haven’t been talking about it, at least a little, then maybe your umbrella is a little too efficient at being a protector from the elements.

Many have been outspoken about the case for spanking children. This stance never fails to amaze me; therefore, I have been pouring over APA research documents to understand the difference between acceptable corporal punishment and child abuse.  It is a complex issue because some believe that corporal punishment delivered in a controlled manner is an acceptable means of providing consequences for behavior.  But research points to the fact that even light, controlled spanking can lead to increased aggression and anti-social behavior.  And the spanked child is likely to abstain from the punishable behavior only when not in the presence of the spanker.
APA on corporal punishment

I don’t know about you, but I would rather put forth the energy it takes to engage in positive discipline (which takes longer and lacks the result of instant behavior modification) than worry if my child will behave if I’m not around to spank her.  The results of positive discipline are about positive child development—results that are lasting and help children to become conscientious critical thinkers.  And really, if you do not want your children to grow up believing that hitting someone is the way to solve problems, then do not hit your children—out of anger OR in a controlled manner.

The Penn State football team is currently practicing with their coach, Joe Paterno.  I can’t help but wonder what those players are thinking?  It sends a message to those young men that Penn State thinks it is acceptable to protect child molesters.  It sends the message that the upcoming senior football game is more important than the soul of a child.  I’m sorry folks, but college football players are still developing human beings and a university is charged with giving them the right message so that if these players witness their buddy sodomizing a child, they do the right thing.  Paterno did it wrong and should be gone, like yesterday.  It’s very similar to the Catholic Church who responds to abuse allegations by saying, “we knew and we told the Pope.”  Excuse me, who was the one who dropped the ball on calling the police?

There is much more to both issues of the judge and the coach.  And I am sure to revisit the topics regularly.  What is important NOW is that the focus shifts from what is going to happen to the judge and the coach to what WE can do to prevent child abuse.  Here’s a good place to start:

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