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Why you shouldn't take Ted Cruz's parenting advice about spanking

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

Ted Cruz advocates spanking his children–and Hillary Clinton–for lying

I recently saw an article in The Huffington Post politics section entitled “Ted Cruz: Voters Should Spank Hillary Clinton Like I Spank My 5-Year-Old” by writer Samantha-Jo Roth. The title and quote from Senator Ted Cruz are appalling: Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told voters they should give Hillary Clinton the same punishment he gives his 5-year-old for lying.

More: How to give parenting advice without overstepping boundaries

What are the ramifications of such an atrocious statement made to the public? First of all, spanking is not an effective parenting tool, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A study entitled "Spanking Linked to Mental Illness," originally in the Journal of Pediatrics, explores the correlation between mental illness and physical punishment and discusses the harm of the practice of spanking.

There is no reason to use spanking, as there are many effective parenting techniques that apply reason and logic in helping redirect children to make positive choices and to appropriately use negative consequences when behavior needs management. Negative consequences are not spanking — they are taking away privileges, such as playtime or electronics time.

In this case, the parenting technique of spanking is not only harmful, but also inappropriate for a public figure to blatantly give the public such information in a tongue-in-cheek manner, as well as also alluding to spanking a woman. Even metaphorically, violence and aggression to women isn't even OK to joke about. What a harmful comment to be said by a public figure!

More: Are your kids emotionally prepared for the school year?

Let’s discuss some better parenting techniques to help teach children to learn appropriate behaviors. Remember that children learn from their parents. If a parent is spanking — the message sent to the child teaches aggression and fails to offer appropriate role modeling.

Better parenting techniques for teaching right and wrong:

  • Use a take-away and reward system. If a child follows directions and shows positive behavior, then reward with verbal praise or extra playtime. If the child acts out, respond by taking away playtime or have the child take a break to engage in coping tools to make a better choice.
  • Talk with your kids and teach them to share feelings and thoughts.
  • Have a behavioral management system for your child, depending on their age, and teach them positive behaviors and choices instead of such a strong influence on disciplining.
  • Think like a teacher and use a chart and stickers.
  • If parents are not able to parent effectively in a healthy way, there are numerous parenting classes. Parents can seek out a family therapist and learn better ways to parent.

There is no reason in 2016 that parents can’t find appropriate tools to help raise their children without spanking. Choose better for your children.

More: How I'm teaching my kids privileges are earned

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