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Entries in Hitting (2)

Monday
Jun112012

Self-Injury Reported in Children as Young as 7

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Self-harm practices such as cutting and hitting can begin in children as young as age 7, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Research suggests that many adolescents and adults engage in self-injury as a means to self-medicate for stress and depression.  But findings from this study now warn to look out for these behaviors as early as elementary school.

"For a parent, for a teacher and for a medical professional, part of the message is to recognize that kids at younger ages are harming themselves," said Benjamin Hankin, associate professor of psychology at University of Denver in Colorado.  "There's this view that only older kids do this, but parents should pay attention to the emotion and behavior problems earlier."

Hankin and his colleagues interviewed 665 children in third, sixth, and ninth grades.  Nearly 8 percent of the children reported at least one attempt to harm themselves, the study found.

More specifically, nearly 8 percent of the third graders interviewed reported at least one attempt at self-harm.

Some of the signs to look for in younger children include extreme frustration that can lead to incidents such as hitting their heads against the wall, Hankin said.

"The signs and what you're looking for can change based on age and gender of the kid," he said.

Girls were three times more likely to self-injure than boys once they reached the ninth grade, the study found.  Girls reported more cutting and carving of skin, while boys were more likely to report hitting themselves.  Hankin warned parents to be aware of the risks of self-injury in earlier childhood.

"An important thing for parents is to follow their gut instinct," he said.  "If you think your child is experiencing emotional pain, then ask."

"Sometimes they may deny it, but parents shouldn't shrug it off," said Hankin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Parents Caught Spanking Children on Tape

Comstock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Researcher George Holden set off to study how often parents yelled at their children, but after listening to 36 hours of real-time audiotapes he heard something else -- the cracks of spanking and the screams that followed.

Most of the behavioral incidents were "petty" in nature, according Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Texas, but the punishment was "virtually all highly inappropriate."

In one incident recorded on tape, a mother spanked her 3-year-old 11 times for fighting with his sister and is reduced to tears and coughing.  One child was punished for not cleaning his room.  Another was slapped for being overzealous during a bedtime story by pointing and turning the page.

"They were pretty shocking," said Holden, who has written five books on child development.

"They highlight that so much of corporal punishment are misguided notions of parenting that are bad for the child," he said. "It's sad that a parent inadvertently ruins the quality of their relationship by jumping on the child for being a normal kid."

The study, Real Life Mother-Child Interaction in the Home, was conducted over six nights, when parents and children were most tired.  Holden found 36 mothers and one father at Dallas day care centers who agreed to leave a tape running between the time they got home and put the kids to bed.

The parents were evenly divided from all economic backgrounds.  Most were white and a third were African Americans.

So as not to skew the study, they were told that it was about parents' interaction with their children.

"The vast majority -- 90 percent of parents -- admit yelling at their kids, but we didn't have a good data what is it like," Holden told ABC News.

But the tapes showed more than yelling.

"We have not totally coded all the tapes yet, so we actually expect to find a lot more examples of this inadvertent window into parents' use of corporal punishment," said Holden.  "It presents a unique view that no one ever had before about what goes on in these families."

Holden presented his study this month in Dallas at the Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline and it was reported in Time magazine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio