Roundup: Time to change FL spanking law? Toxic stress and kids

Devery Broox was found not guilty of child abuse after “berating a 7-year-old boy, shaving his eyebrows and head as punishment and forcing him to do calisthenics,” said this report by Susan Jacobson in the Orlando Sentinel. “At one point, a slapping sound and the wailing of a child could be heard off camera.” Even though some jurors shirked in horror at the video that Broox had posted, Florida law says it’s not a crime “to impose reasonable physical discipline on a child for misbehavior … even though physical injury resulted from the discipline.” It’s worth taking a look at the video accompanying the text story, because Broox talks about his own past discipline, which he regards positively, including being paddled by a football coach and doing pushups as punishment. Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, did a 2008 study that found that parents “are legally permitted to administer physical punishment in all states except Minnesota,” according to the story.

In this post on Huffington Post, Dr. Lloyd Sederer, medical director of New York’s Office of Mental Health, gives kudos to the American Academy of Pediatrics for boldly declaring in a policy statement issued in December “what has been known but too hidden from sight: Namely, that brain and emotional development is profoundly disrupted by childhood adversity and trauma.” He says it’s a “rallying call for what heretofore was another example of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”

Here’s an interesting Q-and-A with Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. Targeting toxic stress in children appeared in the Boston Globe. Here’s his answer to a question about the effects of toxic stress:

“The consequences of toxic stress are among the most expensive problems society deals with. Prison is incredibly more expensive than early childhood programs. Economic dependence is much more expensive than people earning a living and paying taxes. Being healthy is much less expensive than paying for heart disease and diabetes and stroke. All of this is not only morally imperative, but it has huge financial cost implications.”

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