What parents must learn from the Penn State allegations of sexual abuse

I guess  it’s understandable that the big question right now seems to be what Joe Paterno knew and when he knew it.   As a Penn State alum, this makes me beyond sad.   As an undergraduate, I actually  had President Spanier as a professor in the College of Human Development, and my first masters degree is from what was then the College of Health and Physical Education.  Parterno was  among that faculty in my day, so this is personal to me.

I’ve devoted a large part of my career to the investigation, treatment and prevention of sexual abuse of children, much of it based on the foundation of the fine education I received from Penn State.  We cannot condemn the entire institution.  And solely focusing on Paterno – who I can’t help but thinking of as the Pope of Penn State –  will not save any children.   It’s truly  unthinkable to me that a 21st century professional could think a phone call to anyone other than police was a sufficient response to an alleged eye-witness report of a child’s rape in one of his facilities.  On the other hand,  the thought of someone raping a child in one of his facilities may have seem  so completely implausible that perhaps  he thought his minimal response was adequate.  Anyone who has ever had to face the crushing reality that a partner has been unfaithful for years or that a trusted employee has been embezzling money  knows that the human mind  only understands that which seems possible to us. Maybe, just maybe, this seemed so impossible to Paterno that he found his response sufficient.

So here’s one lesson for parents — Do not ever forget that the sexual abuse of children is a reality and the perpetrator really can be anyone.  Even someone who appears to be a fine upstanding person who cares for your child and maybe even your family. Even a favorite teacher.  A coach. The person you’re dating. The babysitter.

Here’s another lesson —  There is absolutely no choice but to knowas much as you can about  every adult spending time with your child.   There is no substitute for vigilance.  A convicted pedophile I interviewed for my book The Sex Wise Parent made it  quite clear that kids lacking vigilant parents or caretakers were much more attractive targets. Pedophile coaches notice which parents stay for practice or show up unannounced then really pay attention to what’s happening on the field.

Here’s a third — Pedophiles ingratiate themselves into the life of your child and sometimes your family, and seduce your child by meeting his or her needs. This need could be emotional such as affection and attention from an adult male, or tangible as Todd Bridges described regarding his abuse by his publicist in his autobiography KillingWillis. By the time sex is introduced the child (or in some awful cases,  the family) may accept sex as the price to be paid for the positive points of the relationship. The allegations reported in the  Grand Jury report describe the seduction of vulnerable children with trips and gifts.

And the last lesson for now is this; families must provide children with information and language about sexuality.   I’ll provide detail on how parents can do this in future posts.  For now, concentrate on opening your mind to be able to think the unthinkable.  Maybe if Joe Pa had been able to do that a few kids might have been saved.


What’s the Sexual Climate in Your Child’s School?

How often do you think about the weather? Most of us pay no attention to the actual climate surrounding us unless something extraordinary happens — a horrible storm, or a gloriously sunny day in the middle of winter. Likewise, most people pay no attention to the sexual climate in the places they spend their time each day until something doesn’t feel right. Maybe the jokes are just a little bit too risqué, or displays of affection don’t feel quite right, or questionable photos are hanging over a colleague’s desk; something just feels creepy. Apparently, sexual climate in Mason High School in Ohio was roiling into the perfect storm and at least 5 known victims were caught in the path. High school health and gym teacher Stacey Schuyler was found guilty on 16 counts of sexual battery because she decided to have sex with the football team and no one got in her way.

Kids spend most of their waking hours in school, and schools each have their own climate or “social feel”. Education experts conduct studies looking at the relationship between school climate and bullying, school climate and achievement, school climate and discipline, and other issues. In the same way, parents need to examine the concept of school climate and sexual safety and understand how to recognize signs that the climate may be turning dangerous.

It is inconceivable that no one knew anything at all about this abuse of power and trust. What was it about the climate in this high school that held this secret as closely as any member of a dysfunctional family hiding incest until one brave soul contacted authorities? Were sexual innuendo’s acceptable? Were male and females treated differently? Was the sexual climate so closed that no one ever discussed sex, or so open that having sex with the football team seemed as American as Apple Pie?

Judge Robert Peeler found Stacy Schuler guilty on 16 felony counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors, and good for him. Women who abuse boys deserve no special treatment because of the gender of their victims. The male autonomic response to arousal renders him even more vulnerable to devastating confusion when a pleasurable physical feeling becomes associated with a negative emotional experience. We’ve long known about male predators, but females can be just as predatory and hide behind the self-delusion that they’re doing a boy a favor. That’s absurd; the devastation cause by the abuse of power by a person with authority over a child has no upside. People tend to be less suspicious of females, particularly teachers who are in a position to nurture young spirits, making their abuse of authority particularly odious.

The sexual climate in school can vary from building to building in a district and from year to year in the same building. Throughout my career I have worked with teachers from schools where everyone “knows” that a teacher is having sex with students and no one speaks up, and with teachers from schools where an off-color joke by a teacher is grounds for disciplinary action.

What do you know about the sexual climate in your child’s school? You never want to find yourself in the sad position of the parents of these boys;  heartbreaking testimony we hear from victims and thier loved ones is a wake up call for parents everywhere.

Here’s a chekcklist   to help assess the sexual climate in your childs school; you can learn  more from my book, The Sex Wise Parent.

It’s Child Abuse Prevention Month: Do you know an Ashley Judd?

The woman seemed to have it all — beauty, talent, a show business pedigree, a high profile loving spouse. A few years ago she chose to disappear from public life and seek the answer for her unhappiness. She has emerged as an ambassador, spokesperson and hero to victims of sexual victimization of all kinds and with a degree from my alma mater, Harvard’s Kennedy School.

I saw Ms. Judd on TV as part of the book tour for her new autobiography, All That Is Bitter and Sweet. Judd shares her journey though awful memories of repeated sexual victimization. I become breathless with fury to learn that her pleas for help from the adults in her life were ignored.

One of the most difficult things a child victim can do is speak out. It is an act requiring bravery beyond imagination. The majority of perpetrators are known to or part of the family and the child knows at some level that relationships will forever be altered. Almost universally, victims feel as if they are to blame for some aspect of the abuse. These are among the huge emotional barriers a child must cross to seek help. It seems cruel beyond words to imagine a child taking that leap of faith only to find nothing on the other side.

Decades after child protective services became a routine part of public service in our country, after every state passed laws requiring people to report abuse, we are STILL living in a world where children have salt rubbed into their wounds of abuse by adults who look the other way.

I recall going into a school decades ago to interview a young girl who had called the sex-abuse helpline that I staffed. When the school secretary heard the name of the child we were looking for, her response was to ask if this was because of what her uncle had been doing to her. I could not then, and cannot now comprehend the cruelty of an adult sending a child home from school each day knowing she faced sexual assault.

Ashley Judd said that she learned an important lesson; to give the shame back to the abuser. I say shame on every adult who sees a child in pain and turns a blind eye.

Things are a little better now than they were all those years ago when I walked into that school; many schools do a great job helping their personnel know the proper response when they believe a child is a victim. I had hoped by now that we could spend Child Abuse Prevention Month focused on REAL prevention, like supporting community norms that do not tolerate the sexualizing of children, or ensuring that parents have access to good information about how to teach their children about healthy sexuality and keeping lines of communication wide open, or promoting evidenced based prevention strategies.

But if you know a child bearing the pain of abuse, honor Child Abuse Prevention Month by helping him or her get help. And then support efforts in your community for real prevention programs.

Real Prevention………

So what if April is Child Abuse Prevention Month? Every month is dedicated to somebody’s favorite cause, and we all have a really short attention span. Child abuse and neglect seem to be under the radar right now. We can all be thankful  when we have a week or month  without reports of  tragic deaths or damning reports of bad decisions by  public agencies.   But lately, not a week goes by that another person in the spotlight reveals a childhood histort of sexual abuse —  movies stars, CNN reporters,  sports heroes — .  Thier honesty reveals that no one is immune; thank goodness for thier courage to make this  issue public.  I have an instinctual response to scream as loud as I can every year as April approaches to remind every single person that  children are abused and violated daily, and less than 1/3 ever come to the attention of authorities, fewer yet get the help they need.

I capped more than two decades in public human services and child welfare work by spending six years as the executive director of the New Jersey chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America (http:// www.preventchildabuse.org). I found amazing volunteers, professionals, philanthropists and public officials throughout our state who really believe in building stronger families and communities.

I left PCA-NJ  to study  at Harvard’s Kennedy School learn with and from the best and the brightest in public administration. One evening, I was in the audience for a panel discussion about performance management in the public sector that featured speakers from the offices of several governors. My lesson  came not from the stage, however, but from a fellow member of the audience.

While discussing how to use performance monitoring systems in public social service agencies to manage response times to reports of child abuse and caseload sizes, a representative from a Western state repeated several times that “child abuse prevention is a very high priority.” I am a dedicated advocate for prevention and yet I found this statement to be distressing in ways that eluded words. Standing next to me was a fellow Harvard student, a  high-ranking official with the New York City Fire Department and a 9/11 first responder. I looked over at him and finally found the words to explain my frustration. “Joe,” I said, “when you dispatch a unit to put out a fire, would anyone ever dare to call that fire prevention?”

I fear that  in too many communities, people acknowledge child abuse prevention month by reminding people to  report suspected cases to authorities……Of course state agencies have an obligation to protect children. But real prevention is measured by  a great deal more than a decrease in the number of reports to Child Protection.

Along with counting how fast a public agency responds after someone reports that a child has been injured, how about if we start counting how many parents have access to information on how to calm a crying baby? And how many new parents are served by a trained family support worker to help them through those confusing and sleep-deprived first few months of parenthood? And how many parents have a job paying a living wage from an employer with family-friendly policies? And how many child-care centers have the resources to offer parenting support groups? And how many schools understand the meaning of supporting a healthy sexual climate for their students and staff?  And how many communities support quality sex education, one of the best defenses against child sexual abuse?

Here’s my basic metric for government: Is every child attached to at least one adult who has available all the resources it takes to raise a healthy, productive member of society?

Prevent Child Abuse America estimates that the U.S. spends more than $100 billion each year on the effects of child abuse and neglect. From the cost of operating the child protection services in each state  to crowding our special-education programs and juvenile justice systems with victims, the maltreatment of our children brings immense human suffering and public costs. The resulting failed adult relationships, poor parenting skills and diminished aspirations caused by irreparable injury to vulnerable little egos are not limited to the low-income families more likely to come into contact with the public systems. We all suffer when families and communities fail their children.

Who is going to show that they  know the difference between fireproofing a home and dispatching a ladder truck? This April when we hear about Child Abuse Prevention Month,  in memory of martyred children named Faheem, Nixmarie, Jessica Lauren, Bill Z  and so many others, let’s think about also counting and doing the things that can make a difference;  supporting families and  strengthening communities.  Preventing the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of all children is a worthy goal — what do you need to do your part?

Parenting the on-line teen

Anyone see the Today Show this morning (3-8-11) ?  Two experts joined Matt Lauer to debate the pro’s and con’s of parents ‘spying’ on their teens internet activities.  Is it an act of dishonesty between the parent and the child or a prudent safety measure?  Any parent can imagine the indignant scream of a 14 year old caught in a racy IM chat, or the sound of a foot-stomping, door-slamming 15 year old confronted about visits to a XXXX-rated site.  Parents hate that. Too bad.  I come down squarely on the side believing that it is a parents responsibility to know where their kid is hanging out and with whom they are communicating.

Parents can’t forget that the adolescent brain is still under construction, particularly in the areas relating to taking risk.  Dr. David Walsh does a great job in his books explaining the details. As parents, we can’t let ourselves be fooled by the fact that our kids look like almost-adults, almost doesn’t count here.  While they seem so much more grown-up than the baby -faced toddler we used to cuddle, they have not yet grown all of the tools necessary to exercise really, really good judgment.

But there is a big difference between being a responsible parent and being dishonest.  Let your child know that you have installed tracking software, or that you have changed your internet setting so that only you can clear the browser cache, or whatever technical tool you choose to monitor on-line activities. And when they’re through screaming and stomping, talk about using seatbelts.  When they buckle up as they get in the car, you don’t take it as an insult to your driving….. it’s just what we do in case today is the one in a million where something goes very wrong.

And the odds of something going wrong for an adolescent on-line are WAY higher than one in a million.  A report commissioned by the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children found that 1 in 7 youth on-line  were exposed to unwanted sexual solicitations; one is eleven reported sexual harassment and — are you ready for the big number?    ONE IN THREE reported unwanted exposure to sexual material! Need proof? See the full report at http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC167.pdf .

So let them stomp and slam for a moment or two — after all, demonstrating the need to be independent from parents is also developmentally normal for an adolescent. But hold your ground. Kids need parental support in the on-line world as much as they need a seatbelt in a car.


Kids learn about sex from the media.   That’s been demonstrated again and again.  The American Academy of Pediatricians tell us that kids wills see over 40,000 TV ads each year, many of them using sex to sell.    The Kaiser Family Foundation research tells us that “seven in ten (71%) have a TV in their bedroom’  and kids spend 4 1/2 hours each day  with their eyeballs glued to a screen. There’s sex n the media and our kids absorb it.

So what did they see if they watched the episode of Glee entitled SEXY?    For those who don’t know, Glee is the FOX  TV series that turns  High School Musical  into a weekly ‘dramady’.   Lots of  drama, teen angst and breaking into song.    They’ve tackled serious issues and done better with some than others. This episode covered several  hot topics and most of  what they had to say was  pretty good.

Let’s start with the best — Kurt,  is a gay male teen with a straight dad.  The writers needed to stretch our imagination with a scene where Kurt’s gay schoolmate visits Kurt’s  Dad with a warning that Kurt is dangerously clueless about sex.   But Dad’s reaction was a stroke of genius by the writers.  He took the warning, and had ‘the talk’ with his son.  When Kurt balked, Dad acknowledged  that he was also uncomfortable, but they were having the conversation anyway  and they ‘would both be better men for it’.  And so Dad said…..

“For most guys, sex is just this thing we always want to do. It’s fun. It feels great. But we’re not really thinking too much about how it makes us feel on the inside or how the other person feels about it.

You’ve got to know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem, even though it feels like you’re just having fun… I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. Because you matter, Kurt.”

Could someone please  give this message to every kid?     You matter.  Your body matters.  A piece of your soul is exposed in your orgasm.   You may never feel more exposed.   Choose REALLY, REALLY carefully who you want to share this with.

Dad told Kurt that guys sought sex just for the sex, that girls were the part of the couple that brought the emotion to the  equation.   Danger, Kurt — because with gay male couples no one is concerned about the emotional aspect.  So please Kurt — and every other human being  CHOOSE PARTNERS CAREFULLY!!

And so the proverbial rub — the part of the brain that humans use to  make good choices is not yet fully developed in adolescents.    Kids need an adult like Kurt’s Dad to share truth with love and limits.  Adults need the courage to be uncomfortable enough to give the priceless gift of information.

We may not want  teachers in our school to emulate  the sexy Ms. Haliday,  or our kids to emulate Puck in his clueless willingness to make a sex tape to help a friend seem more popular.  But maybe parents saw a role model worth their attention.  Glee draws a large audience in the 18 – 49 demographic, so there’s hope.

Glee shows viewers a fictional place where everyone can sing and dance,  where gay kids get to find a gay-friendly private school,  and where the pregnant cheerleader continues her education without interruption. Do we have to look at  a fictional world  to find parents who actually take the time  and  muster the courage to tell their kids their truth about sexuality?  Let’s not make honest communication with our children about sex a fiction.

How do I know????________________________________________________________

Kaiser Family Foundation -Kids and media study


Glee Audience Demographics


American Academy of Pediatrics


What Parents Can Learn From Bill Zellers Final Words

Bill Zeller was a brilliant graduate student who could unwrap the mysteries of the digital world but was unable to find comfort and joy among people. The words of his poignant suicide note, in which he discussed his childhood rape by an unnamed man, will be parsed by many looking for an answer, a perpetrator, or a moral. Most of us will be tempted to point the finger at his parents, therapists or neighbors, and leave it at that.

But there is a lesson in Bill Zeller’s death even for the most loving and involved parent.

Parents play a critical role in ensuring their child’s sexual health and safety and are remarkably diverse in their ability to do so. Imagine a bell shaped curve; on one end of the curve are parents responsible for sexual abuse and the neglect of sexual pain described by Zeller.  On the other end we find dead silence around sexuality. Parents and caretakers of children must find their place in the center.

Children need loving, trusted adults to provide age-appropriate knowledge and language about every part of their body; silence and ignorance about sex are among the weapons used by molesters to coerce child victims into compliance. In his suicide note, Zeller described his parents as fundamentalists and it’s clear that he didn’t trust them (he wrote in his note that he hated them). But parents of all religions and belief systems  can and must protect their children with knowledge, language and comfort. All children deserve to live in a community where adults are aware of the signs of sexual abuse and know the resources available to a child victim and his family.

The trust of your child, their willingness to speak with you about what’s important to him or her, is one of a parent’s greatest assets in protecting their children against the hopelessness and pain that so many children experience and that drove Bill Zeller to take his life.

So Why Don’t We Talk?

Parents tell me that they just wouldn’t know where to start if they wanted to have a conversation about sex abuse. If they’ve never had a conversation with their child about sex, they don’t want their first one to be about molesters. Many parents just don’t want to think of sex and their child at the same time in any way at all.

Parents can fool themselves into thinking things will be fine. Some parents will wait until their kids get to school and hope their district provides a good child safety program. Maybe the scouts will have a special program, or the Sunday school. But programs provided by strangers discussing concepts that may be completely foreign to your child can’t possibly have the same effect as a loving dialog; there is no substitute for a permanently open line of communication with parents. Parents delay opening up that line when they’re scared that they won’t be able to handle what comes in. Parents need strategies and tactics to help reach and teach their child.

The Courage to Be Uncomfortable

It can certainly be uncomfortable to look closely at our own thoughts and feeling about sexuality and sex abuse. Along with the reality that sexual issues are shrouded in secrecy, many people enter adulthood with painful memories of their own.  In every community people have been scarred through unreported assault from an adult, sexually oriented bullying, sexually explicit and violent language, or date rape. Even without these negative experiences coloring our own perspective, talking to a child about sexuality can be tough.

But we need the courage to be uncomfortable. Keeping our kids sexually safe and healthy requires an extraordinarily brave commitment to self-awareness and healthy family intimacy.

I don’t want to join the on-line chorus of people trying to guess who did what to Bill Zeller. Whatever it was destroyed his spirit and ultimately cost him his life. A friend confided that Zeller’s story was his story and implored me to use my voice as an experienced professional to see if we could make anything decent come from this tragedy.  Adults are responsible for keeping children safe and in memory of Bill Zeller, I implore them to learn how. In that spirit I issue this call to action to all parents to find their place in the middle of the continuum; to find the courage to face their discomfort, the resources they need to maintain the sexual health and safety of their children and the consciousness to recognize a child bearing the scars left to strangle the spirit of Bill Zeller.

May he finally find peace.

Helpful Resources:

Read Zellers final words at   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/07/bill-zeller-dead-princeto_n_805689.html

The Sex Information and Education Council of the US  http://www.siecus.org/

The American Academy of Pediatrics   http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/2/498

Prevent Child Abuse America   www.PreventChildAbuse.org

Dr. Janet Rosenzweig is a 30-year veteran of child welfare and youth serving programs. She is committed to bringing the best possible information to parents to help them raise safe, healthy, happy kids.  

This post is based on a column that first appeared in the Princeton Packet 2-8-11

The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey

Because Kids Don 7 Come with Instructions




The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

  1.      Spanking can damage the parent-child relationship. It erodes the bonds of trust and closeness necessary for the parents to be able to socialize children. The child may feel anxiety, anger, or fear toward the parent (Hirschi, 1969, Azrin, Hake, Holz, & Hutchinson, 1965; Azrin & Holz, 1966)
  2.        Corporal punishment is associated with negative effects on mental health; harsh punishment can lead to adolescent depression and distress. Children who have been spanked may feel less confident and assertive and more humiliated and helpless. Corporal punishment has been associated significantly with adolescents’ depressive symptomology and distress (McLoyd, Jayarante, Ceballo & Borguez, 1994) (Baumrind & Black, 1967; Lasky, 1993).
  3.     Spanking interferes with moral development. Children will learn to act based on whether they get caught as opposed to real, internal morals and values. Spanking also reduces a child’s capacity for empathy.(Hoffman, 1983; Lepper, 1983).
  4.       Spanking is associated with increasing a child’s aggressive behavior. When spanking is used to punish aggressive behaviors the likelihood that children will continue to engage in aversive behaviors increase by 50% (Becker, 1964; Patterson, 1982; Radke-Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968; Steinmetz, 1979).
  5.        Spanking may lead to child abuse as tempers flare. As many as two thirds of abusive incidents may have begun as attempts to alter children’s behavior with a spanking (Coontz & Martin, 1988; Gil, 1973;Kadushin & Martin, 1981).
  6. Spanking can make a person more likely to act violently with a romantic partner later in life. (Caesar, 1988; Downs, Miller, Testa, & Parek, 1992; Sigelman, Berry, & Wiles; 1984; Straus & Yodanis, 1996; Swinford, DeMaris, Cernkovich, & Giordano, 2000).
  7.      Spanked children are more likely to become aggressive adolescents. Parent’s use of corporal punishment was the strongest predictor of adolescents’ aggression eight years later (P. Cohen, Brook, Cohen, Velez & Garcia, 1990).
  8.        Spanking legitimizes violence and aggression; Children who are spanked are more likely to resort to aggression and violence during conflicts as adults. (Aronfreed, 1969; Bandura & Walters, 1959; Eron et al, 1971; Walters & Grusec, 1977; White & Straus, 1981).
  9. Spanking is associated with an increase in child delinquency, antisocial behavior and the likelihood of adult criminal behavior (Burt, 1925, Gleuck and Gleuck, 1964, Hetherington et al, 1971, McCord and McCord, 1959, Wilson and Hernstein, 1985, Paterson et al, 1992.)
  10. Corporal punishment can convince a child to avoid misbehavior in order to avoid future punishment, but can not, on it’s own teach children the responsibility to behave independently in morally and socially acceptable ways (Hoffman 1983, Grusec, 1983)


Grevin, P. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. Random House Inc. (1991)

Miller, A: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus and Giorux. (1990) Complete citations for articles available from PCA-NJ or Gershoff, Elizabeth: 2002, Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic Theoretical Review Psychological Bulletin 128:4 539-579

Tips for Parents #13

Compliments of:

The Parenting Education Resource Center
Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey
103 Church Street, Suite 210
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373)

La lista de las 10 mejores …Razones para no pegarle a su nino

  1. El pegarle a su nino puede afectar la relacion entre el padre y el nino. Corroe los enlaces de confianza y cercania necesarios para que los padres puedan socializar a los ninos. El nino puede sentir ansiedad, coraje o miedo hacia el padre (Hirschi, 1969, Azrin, Hake, Holz, & Hutchinson, 1965; Azrin & Holz, 1966)
  2. El castigo corporal es asociado con efectos negativos sobre la salud mental; el castigo extremadamente fuerte puede conducir a la depresion y afliccion en los adolescentes. Los ninos quienes han sido azotados pueden sentir menos confianza y ser menos asertivos y se pueden sentir humillados y desamparados. El castigo corporal ha sido asociado significativamente con la afliccion y los sintomas de depresion en los adolescentes. McLoyd, Jayarante, Ceballo & Borguez, 1994) (Baumrind & Black, 1967; Lasky, 1993).
  3. Los azotes interfieren con el desarrollo moral. Los ninos aprenderan a comportarse basado en si lo descubren en vez de operar en sus sentido de morales y valores internos y reales. El azotar a su nino reduce su capacidad de empatia. (Hoffman, 1983; Lepper, 1983).
  4. Azotar a los ninos se asocia con aumentar el comportamiento agresivo en los ninos. Cuando los azotes se utilizan para castigar comportamientos agresivos la probabilidad que los ninos continuen a utilizar comportamientos agresivos aumenta por un 50% (Becker, 1964; Patterson, 1982; Radke-Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968; Steinmetz, 1979).
  5. Los azotes pueden conducir al abuso de los ninos cuando los temperamentos se encolerizan. Hasta dos tercios de incidentes abusivos pueden haber comenzando como intentos de alterar el comportamiento de los ninos con azotes. (Coontz & Martin, 1988; Gil, 1973; Kadushin & Martin, 1981).
  6. Los azotes pueden hacer que la persona tenga mas probabilidad de comportarse violentamente con un companero romantico mas tarde en su vida.. (Caesar, 1988; Downs, Miller, Testa, & Parek, 1992; Sigelman, Berry, & Wiles; 1984; Straus & Yodanis, 1996; Swinford, DeMaris, Cernkovich, & Giordano, 2000).
  7. Los ninos quienes han sido azotado tienen mas probabilidad de convertirse en adolescentes agresivos. El uso de castigo corporal de los padres fue el pronosticador mas fuerte de la agresion de un adolescente ocho anos mas tarde. (P. Cohen, Brook, Cohen, Velez & Garcia, 1990).
  8. Los azotes legitimiza la violencia y la agresion; Los ninos que son azotados son mas probables de recurrir a la agresion y la violencia durante conflictos como adultos. (Aronfreed, 1969; Bandura & Walters, 1959; Eron et al, 1971; Walters & Grusec, 1977; White & Straus, 1981).
  9. Ser azotado se asocia con un aumento en la delincuencia del nino, la conducta antisocial y la probabilidad de la conducta criminal adulta. (Burt, 1925, Gleuck and Gleuck, 1964, Hetherington et al, 1971, McCord and McCord, 1959, Wilson and Hernstein, 1985, Paterson et al, 1992.)
  10. El castigo corporal puede convencer a un nino a evitar las malas conductas para evitar el castigo futuro, pero no puede, por si mismo ensenarle a los ninos la responsabilidad de comportarse independientemente en maneras moralmente y socialmente aceptables (Hoffman 1983, Grusec, 1983).


Grevin, P. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. Random House Inc. (1991)

Miller, A: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus and Giorux. (1990) Complete citations for articles available from PCA-NJ or Gershoff, Elizabeth: 2002, Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic Theoretical Review Psychological Bulletin 128:4 539-579

Consejos para padres #13

Obsequio del

Centro de Recursos Educativos para Padres
Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey
103 Church Street, Suite 210
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
1-800-CHTLDREN (1-800-244-5373)