I have yet to meet a parent that hasn’t experienced the impulse to hit their own child. Perhaps the thought occurs when a 15 month old bites mom and then laughs, an 18 month old slaps his sibling, a 3 year old runs into the street. The impulse of course is normal, but is the act of hitting normal too? And if normal for a great number of parents, is it an effective tool for discipline? Will it harm your child in the long-run?

It is easy to understand the argument that supports an aggressive response by parents to the actions mentioned above – ‘my child will only know that hitting hurts if she experiences it also. My child doesn’t respond to time-outs or is too young to understand loss of privilege as a means of discipline… We only ever hit in an attempt to show the severity of the infraction — running into the street has to be met with a greater punishment – otherwise it is only as bad as everything else we discipline for…’

Delaying Kindergarten Entry

I am drawn to this topic because I’d really like to believe I made the right decision for my recent elementary school graduate. In my community, a significant percentage of children are delaying kindergarten entry, most commonly noted in the boys with birthdays in the first half of the calendar year. The rationale for holding back, or “redshirting” as commonly referred, varies among parents questioned – some report concerns of social and emotional maturity relative to a child’s peers, others have academic concerns and still others have concerns about size and experience relative to sports success. I honestly understand each of these reasons—my son, who sits at the 40-50% for height, looks pretty small on the football field, so small in fact that his natural athletic ability really didn’t outshine his size disadvantage. I have seen plenty of smaller kids, with more pronounced athletic abilities, excel beyond their larger/older peers, but my …