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Healthier Futures, a National Dialogue, and Adrian Peterson



Healthier Futures, a National Dialogue, and Adrian Peterson

 CHICAGO, IL, November 18, 2014 – At Prevent Child Abuse America we work to create healthier futures for all children. We also seek to create environments that lead to great childhoods. And we strive to create an equal playing field for all children and all families.

 We traffic in hope and solutions, thriving children, and a healthier world for all of us to live in. What we do not do is traffic in rage. It doesn’t serve the nation’s children, their families, or the communities they live in.

 But we know there will be rage today directed at the National Football League for suspending Adrian Peterson for the rest of the 2014 season. People will question whether his rights as a parent, and worker, are being undermined. And while we agree that this is an important dialogue, we do not believe it is the most important dialogue we as a nation can be having right now.

While we take no stand on Peterson’s case, we appreciate all of the dialogue that has occurred coast-to-coast since his very public case raised the issue of appropriate discipline. What we’ve learned since the news about Peterson first broke is that despite being a controversial topic, people are very willing to discuss their views on corporal punishment.

While we recognize that all parents have the right to choose the manner in which they discipline their children, we also know that there are more effective methods than corporal punishment, and so what we also hope is that we can have this dialogue with you as well.

When having this dialogue, it’s important to stick to what we know. Thanks to research from Dr. Martin Hoffman, we know that alternative forms of discipline like time-outs or loss of privileges are proven to be as, if not more effective than corporal punishment. Thanks to research from Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, we also know that not only does corporal punishment fail to make children compliant in the short-term, it also fails to make a long-term difference in the child’s behavior, and in fact can lead to life-long, negative health outcomes. At the same time, we recognize that every parent has the right to decide for themselves how to discipline their children, so we encourage everyone to look up this research for themselves, and if you have questions, let us know, because we'll be happy to answer them.

 “We hope that all those who’ve been willing to have this discussion, whether with friends, spouses, family or even strangers,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “will be equally willing to learn more about alternative discipline methods that are proven to be more effective than corporal punishment and are more effective at promoting the kind of moral and obedience education that discipline is meant to teach.”​

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 ABOUT PREVENT CHILD ABUSE AMERICA

Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 and based in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 49 states and over 400 Healthy Families America, home visitation sites in 37 states, the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.