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20 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics started veering parents away from spanking. Now they’re outright saying "Don't do it."

In 1998, the AAP issued guidelines to doctors stating that "parents be encouraged and assisted in developing methods other than spanking in response to undesired behavior." Now, the nation's largest organization of doctors who specialize in treating children is taking a harder stance.

"Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term," the new policy statement reads. "With new evidence, researchers link corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children.


Corporal punishment is defined as "noninjurious, open-handed hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior," which includes spanking. The policy statement includes findings from a vast body of research showing that spanking is proven to be ineffective at changing children's behavior and is associated with negative mental health in the long term.

Spanking has been a subject of debate among parents for decades, with passionate arguments on both sides.

I've written parenting content for years and have witnessed countless discussions about spanking. Some feel it's absolutely unacceptable strike a child in any way, for any reason. Others see a "pop on the butt" as a necessary way to drive home a lesson and teach kids to behave. Frequently, those in the non-spanking camp cite the research showing that spanking is an ineffective and potentially harmful form of discipline. Those who defend spanking often point to the decrease in spanking as a reason "kids these days" are disrespectful and misbehaved, and insist that being spanked themselves did not adversely affect them in any way.

Having grown up in a non-spanking household and raising my kids in one, I've never understood the arguments that spanking is necessary. Most kids now aren't spanked, and most of them are lovely children and teens who are respectful, kind, contributing members of our community.

So what do non-spanking parents do instead?

Healthy discipline strategies start with an understanding of natural child development stages.

Babies and toddlers can sometimes exhibit behaviors that may be frustrating to parents, but often those behaviors are simply phases of learning.

For instance, for babies and young toddlers who are getting into things, Dr. Robert Sege, a pediatrician at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and first author of the AAP policy statement told CNN, "the best thing to do is just pick them up and move them somewhere else, distract them, change the subject—and that's usually all they need and they can handle it."

Some spankers say they only use spanking for serious safety issues, like a toddler running into the street. Some, like Sege, suggest logical consequences like having the child hold your hand anytime you're near a road. But if the goal is to inspire fear of something truly dangerous, there are ways to do that without spanking.

When my toddlers started running into a road or reaching for a hot stovetop, I would immediately sweep them into my arms and express my own exaggerated fear for their safety. "Are you okay?! That was so scary! That car could have squashed you!" I'd get right down on their level, let them see my worried face, check them over to "make sure they were okay," and then hug them tight again. "Oh, thank goodness you're okay! That was so scary!" A little dramatic perhaps, but effective.

Positive parenting is a long game, but loving, consistent teaching pays off.

As kids get older and can understand more, parenting means lots of communication and consistency. Of course, kids need to know that there are consequences for their actions and choices—that's an important life lesson for parents to teach—but nowhere in real life is being hit on the butt a natural consequence for a poor choice.

Most of parenting boils down to helping kids learn how to be good humans, and spanking does nothing to teach them how to do that. And since research shows spanking is ineffective at best and harmful at worst, there's simply no need for it. Other methods of discipline are shown to have better outcomes, so parents would be wise to stop thinking of it as a necessary or useful tool and explore other means of teaching kids good behavior and habits.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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