Does spanking children lead to violence?
By Andrew Herrman

During a recent speech in Chicago, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a Harvard psychiatrist, related how, when he was a child and misbehaved, his father would "smack me in the back of the head.''

"It was like shock treatment,'' said Poussaint. "He had a theory that if you misbehaved, something must be wrong with your brain and you needed a correction."

The story elicited chuckles from the largely African-American audience, but Poussaint's point was no joke to him.

One way to help reduce violence in poor, black urban neighborhoods is to reduce it in the home, he says.

In his most recent book, Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors, co-authored with entertainer Bill Cosby, Poussaint cites one study that showed that 94 percent of black mothers agreed that "a good hard spanking" was a useful "disciplinary technique" compared with 65 percent of white women and 46 percent of Asian-American women.

Not all black parents who use corporal punishment create violent children, he noted. Poussaint grew up in Harlem, received his M.D. from Cornell and served as a script consultant to NBC's "The Cosby Show."

But, Poussaint said, "Violence begets violence -- it makes children angry."

"I think a lot of homicides relate to rage and anger and getting back at someone, even if it's a nameless face,'' he said.
To read the rest of the article, click here