Could physical and verbal child abuse be responsible for the violence and low standardized test scores in the black community?
As we struggle to understand why so many African American children and adults lag behind their white counterparts on standardized tests, researchers have discovered some startling new information.
Dr. Murray Straus, a professor of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire has found a link between how parents discipline their children and the IQ of those children.
According to the findings, children who are spanked have lower IQs than those who aren't. "How often parents spanked made a difference," Straus said in a news release from the university. "The more spanking, the slower the development of the child's mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference."
So what does that have to do with African Americans? According to research conducted by Dr. Alvin Poussaint, professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, "There's an overuse of beating kids" in our community. "You have a disparity in white and black communities in which 80% of black parents believe you should beat the devil out of them." says Poussaint.
Dr. Poussaint made his comments during a forum called "The Future of African American Men", at around 51 minutes into the program which aired on C-Span. You can view the entire program here.
Dr. Poussaint says there are "very high levels of child abuse and neglect" in the black community. He says black boys are the preferred targets of this abuse, which also includes verbal attacks. Poussaint says helpless, innocent 2-year-olds are called " you idiot" and "stupid" and are told "you're no good just like your father."
Dr. Poussaint says such physical and verbal abuse makes the children angry."Research shows the more you beat them, the angrier they get," Poussaint says, and it's that rage that eventually turns into violence.
According to the Yale Child Study Center, blacks are being expelled from preschool at alarming rates. The black to white ratio is 2 to 1. And 9 out of every 10 black expulsions are boys. According to the study, boys who are three and four years old, barely out of diapers, are being kicked out for being aggressive, violent, and for using adult language.
According to Dr. Poussaint it's that same childhood rage created by abusive parents that later makes it so easy for gangbangers to pull the trigger
As if higher academic achievement and peaceful African American neighborhoods aren't enough incentive,Dr. Rahil Briggs, a child psychologist with the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, says there's another upside to not beating your kids. She says regardless of how you do it, disciplining your child is a teaching moment.
"If you spank, you teach your child that hitting is the way to deal with a situation," she said. "But if you use other methods of discipline, you can begin teaching your child higher-level cognitive skills, self-control, cause-and-effect and logical thinking."
So what should you be doing instead of hitting? Dr. Poussaint shares some ideas here.
You can also get some powerful ideas from parenting expert Bolanle Ambonisye at www.tappingourparentalpower.com
More parenting resource information can be found on the parenting resource page of The New Black Revolution.Com.here
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