April 2002Vol. 3, No. 3April 30 Designated as Day for Non-Violent Discipline
Parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers are asked to refrain from hitting children on April 30. The fifth annual SpankOut Day USA is sponsored by EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment of Children), a program of the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio.
EPOCH-USA advocates non-violent methods of discipline instead of corporal punishment. It states that corporal punishment is unsupported by research, sometimes leads to injury, alienates caregivers and children, and contributes to the cycle of physical violence by teaching that it is acceptable to hit people who are weaker and smaller. Alternative methods of discipline, such as distracting infants/toddlers from misbehavior, teaching a more appropriate behavior, and making reasonable consequences are suggested. "Catch your child being good" by praising and hugging is also proposed as a way to raise a well-behaved child.
Using the theme "Raising Good Kids Without Hitting," EPOCH-USA offers various materials to help communities participate in SpankOut Day. It also provides grants to non-profit agencies to hold educational events on that date. Among the items EPOCH-USA offers are:
- Event logos
- Positive Discipline agreement for parents
- SpankOut Day community proclamations
- Faith community materials
- Newsletter articles and press releases
- Handbook of suggested events
- Posters, stickers, magnets, T-shirts
- Reproducible, copyright-free brochures in English and Spanish
- Free public service announcement
According to Nadine Block, Executive Director or EPOCH-USA, SpankOut Day is modeled after the "Great American Smokeout." "It is currently a national event but we have had much interest from a number of international organizations and plan to expand it beyond the U.S. next year," said Block. She anticipates approximately 100 events commemorating SpankOut Day 2002. Some examples from years past include an educational booth at Fort Jackson Army Base in South Carolina, translation of SpankOut Day materials into Russian for 200 immigrant families in Ohio, and a discipline mentor program for teen mothers in Wisconsin. Two positive discipline workshops in Ohio for client families of social service agencies featured "time-out totes" (containing a child's chair, a timer, and a booklet on effective use of time-out) and a kite-flying event which highlighted alternatives to spanking.
Nadine Block, Executive Director
Center for Effective Discipline/EPOCH-USA
155 W. Main St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 221-8829
Fax: (614) 221-2110
Also see "Study Examines Spanking Among Minnesota Parents" (this issue of CBX)