I went to the Helping Boys Thrive Summit with Michael Gurian and Dr. Gregory Jantz yesterday and it was AMAZING! I’m so glad I went!
But I left feeling disturbed. One dad shared with the Q&A panel that he disciplines his tween boy by spanking him with a foot-long paddle and even punching him in the chest. Then he laughed about it and implied that he wishes he could discipline his son’s friends too. The whole audience laughed with him, like it was a big joke.
In my mind, this isn’t funny at all. Washington’s own Hanna Williams died the victim of “corporal chastisement”.
Michael Gurian addressed the issue by clearly saying that spanking to cause pain, spanking on the skin, and spanking with an object is child abuse. But he didn’t come out definitively against spanking, even though research shows that spanking is ineffective compared to better discipline methods. (See Stop Spanking.org for more details.)
Dr. Jantz answered by saying that in his house they use natural consequences. I’m assuming that’s code for Love and Logic methods. Love and Logic is absolutely opposed to corporal punishment as well.
Kudos to Michale Gurian and Dr. Jantz for sharing, but I wish you had gone further. I am worried about those tween boys in question.
95% of the Helping Boys Thrive Summit was outstanding. I would highly recommend going. But next time, maybe they should invite L.R. Knost or Robbyn Peters Bennett to take a seat on their panel too.