Tuesday, January 27, 2015

World belief: Spare rod, spoil child perpetuates negatives of human behavior

Carol Forsloff - Despite certain world differences in politics and culture, one thing many have in common is "Spare the rod and spoil the child." But is this a good thing?

This advice of how to raise children may be cited as Biblical, however it is part of the culture of peoples around the globe of different faiths and ideas.

And even though science raises questions, research tells us children "get in."  Yet that is only in the short run.

In other words, children will pay attention after a swat or some level of physical punishment used for attention-getting.  Long term, however, it may have the opposite effect.  It may indeed promote aggressive behavior.

You know that phrase, "You're gonna get it when we get home?"  Well, there are plenty of kids who do.  That old-fashioned, over-the-knee way that some folks declare works, and others abhor, remains the main punishment the majority of preschool children receive worldwide.

This is in spite of the fact bans against corporal punishment of children have been adopted in 24 countries since 1979.

The way children are punished has been looked at by researchers at the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center.  They were surprised to see the numbers of children who still get corporal punishment.

“The findings are stark. Harsh treatment of children was epidemic in all communities. Our data support the conclusions that maltreatment occurs in all nations,” said Desmond Runyan, MD, DrPH, professor of social medicine at UNC and principal author of the study that looked at countries as various as Egypt, India, Chile, the Philippines, Brazil and the U.S. to examine the way children are punished.

These findings can be found in the Journal of Pediatrics, a 2010 issue of the magazine.  The findings, however, remain supported by observations in 2014.

These are among the key observations:

1.  Rates of harsh physical discipline revealed by the surveys were “dramatically higher” in all communities “than published rates of official physical abuse in any country.”

 2. Mothers with fewer years of education more commonly used physical punishment.

3. Rates of corporal punishment vary widely among communities within the same country. For example, both the highest and lowest rates of hitting a child on the buttocks with an object, such as a paddle, were found in different communities in India.  Nearly one quarter of those people in the US sample used this style of punishment.

4.  Harsh punishment of children by parents is not less common in countries other than the U.S. It may be more common, especially in low and middle income countries. elated studies led by Adam J. Zolotor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of family medicine in the UNC School of Medicine examined punishment trends given to three-to-11 year-old children used surveys in the years 1975, 1985,1995 and 2002.

Although the percentages of children punished by slapping or spanking had declined by 18 percent, most preschool children at 79 percent continue to be spanked, and nearly half of them are struck by something like a paddle or switch.

“This study shows that the U.S., unlike most other high income countries, has had little change in the use of corporal punishment as commonplace,"Zolotor said. "Given the weight of evidence that spanking does more harm than good, it is important that parents understand the full range of options for helping to teach their children. A bit of good news is that the decline in the use of harsher forms of punishment is somewhat more impressive.”

Another study looked at the behaviors of parents towards their children who lived in countries that had adopted bans on corporal punishment following the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1979.  Only the U.S. and Somalia of 193 nations have not signed on to this convention treaty.

As a side note, the Methodist Church , in its opposition to capital punishment, underlines the fact the United States is not just one of the countries that have not signed on for the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.  The United States is the world leader in sentencing children to death.

The study further finds:

• Although 24 countries have banned corporal punishment, this is only 12 per cent of the world’s countries.

Of the 24 countries with corporal punishment bans, 19 are in Europe,including all of the Scandinavian and near Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland). Three others are in Central or South America, one in the Middle East and one in Oceania (the region that includes Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Ocean island
nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia).

• There are no national bans on corporal punishment anywhere in Asia or North America.

National bans on corporal punishment are closely associated with declining popular support for corporal punishment and parent report of spanking.

However, this decline seems to begin before the passage of such law. The association between such bans and child abuse are less clear, but studies suggest a decline in abuse following legal prohibition.

“This study shows us that, over 30 years after the passage of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations and after ratification by 193 member countries, a small number have supported this convention by explicit prohibition of corporal punishment. It also underscores the important relationship between social change and legislative change,”
Zolotor said.

But while some countries have banned corporal punishment, science underlines that even though parents who do spank their children, or otherwise offer physical punishment as a means of controlling a child, the effect long-term is to increase aggressive behavior.  This may in fact be tied to the trends in more aggressive physical and verbal behavior observed by social scientists.

What Medical Daily has reported is the Columbia University study that showed that children spanked at age 5 showed more aggressive tendencies by age 9.

That means the long-term effect is relatively short.

Elizabeth Gershoff, a developmental psychologist, has examined the trends of corporal punishment and other beliefs that seem to linger on despite scientific evidence that reveals these beliefs to be inaccurate or even dangerous to the human consciousness and behavior.

Her emphasis is entitled, "Debunking Denialism."  She has a number of publications relative to aspects of this thesis, one called "More Harm than Good" that examines corporal punishment.  She reviewed the research and found that most parents have used physical punishment or some sort of restraint on children with the resulting findings that the effects have been negative.  And whereas people may attest to their own compliance, and having grown up well-behaved as a result, these are individual anecdotes as opposed to research studies that have been over time and look at various factors and greater populations than isolated individual self-reporting.

For what Gershoff emphasizes most is that those who receive physical punishment as children often use similar types of ways to punish their own children, so the practice occurs over generations.  And those who were punished as children are apt to have mental health problems as adults.

Physical punishment of children, and the maintenance of this as a sound way to treat children, can often reflect part of social patterns, that in some areas are on the rise.  Gershoff and others have made the observations also that those who maintain non scientific beliefs often hold similar more mythological or antiquated beliefs in the face of contrary evidence.

To raise the consciousness of the world on treatment of children and the progress of civilization, educators remind us of the value of early childhood education, one that involves parents in the very early types of it, from child-raising principles to how to look at things with new eyes to assess behavior.

From how people punish children, to how people interact later on, it seems is an important subject if we are to treat others humanely now and in the future.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Women who drink smarter than men who do

Men and women are always said to be debating who is smarter, but science has established that drinking patterns can help answer the question.

In fact, "he just doesn't get it" may be underlined as truth by science, something likely to be refuted by the men who read this article and look at the results of what has been found.

But it's not all good news for women, as you will find by reading the article further as well.  Still the research says women who drink liquor are smarter than men who drink.

Emancipation for women to drink is fairly modern.  In fact it used to be rare even in the United States, for women to sidle up to a bar stool alone.

In fact it was rare not just to find a woman drinking but even serving alcohol.

Now it is a fact that alcohol consumption, and even serving it, is now becoming a fact all over the world, including India that  in 2007 started letting women serve drinks at night late.  So alcohol and women are getting paired in a variety of ways, including mental function.

Studies show that although women may not be able to hold their liquor as well as men, they can use alcohol to maintain mental function. The fact is that women who drink one to seven drinks per week have better cognitive function in their dotage than non drinking women or men of the same age, a recent health study has concluded. What accounts for this?

Health experts in Scotland who conducted the study in 2010 observe that the difference in the cognitive function between men and women in relationship to alcohol may have something to do with the fact that women have more estrogen than men. However, that reason doesn’t seem to answer the question completely since women ages 72 to 80 have long since passed menopause, either naturally or following surgery; so there’s not much estrogen protection left.

There are likely more causes for the differences found in this study that medical science will discover eventually that might explain further why there are mental capacity differences between men and women during the aging process that are associated with whether one drinks or not.

 The Scottish study reported by MedlinePlus included age factors as well as health conditions such as whether or not an individual was a smoker or had a history of blood vessel disease because these are the kind of conditions that can negatively impact the ability to recall information. These factors were found to have no effect on outcome differences between men and women.

This study continues to be developed in other medical journals and research, although none encourage drinking to any excess, but that moderate drinking might be beneficial in some ways.

 And, as often happens, there are conflicting conclusions between the study about gender differences with alcohol consumption, aging and the retention of cognitive function and other studies about gender differences and alcohol intake.

The Federal guidelines in the United States assert the health limits to be one drink a day for women, and one to two drinks a day for men.

The Portland Oregonian reported the Harvard Health Letter’s corollary to the Federal guidelines that women should limit their consumption of liquor because they metabolize alcohol more slowly and retain a higher blood alcohol level than men. This is probably why women are teased by male companions at parties that they can’t hold their liquor as well. The Health Letter also maintains that women need to limit their intake of alcohol because, on average, they might have more risk of long-term heart and artery damage.

 So it appears women take some risks with drinking. They can elect to risk having a heart attack or take their chances and if they survive past age 72, they will be smart enough to take over entirely from the guys because earlier in life they did not let some man tell them not to drink.  Still the CDC offers a caution.

Even though women who drink may be smarter than men who die, they don't metabolize alcohol as well as men, so the physical health factors, and the behaviors involved in drinking at the time of imbibing it are increased.  It also increases the chances for liver disease more than men.  Binge drinking is also a factor in sexual assault, according to experts.

Women might maintain bragging rights over their intelligence and offer the research on women's drinking related to that of men as evidence, but it turns out that too much alcohol has a more negative affect on women than men in relationship to overall health, making it not such a good thing when drinking is overdone.  Therefore not all is a positive outcome when it comes to alcohol consumption.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Where are the oldest living people and what are the factors for living long lives?

Nation emblem for France
Several years ago the nation of Georgia proclaimed its citizen, Antisa Khvichava, as the oldest person in the world.  How long can the average person expect to live and what does knowing about this woman help the rest of us realize how to achieve longevity?

First of all, the evidence about the woman herself.

How to take a sudden trip so it won't upset you and others

Taking off unexpectedly
Carol Forsloff---I'd like to take a little time here and tell you about John Sullivan, whom many of you don't know but I think you would like. His story is a good one and likely can help many of you take an unexpected trip that might help when travel like it can be troublesome, as we find many things these days with world events and our personal situations. 

John left yesterday morning on a trip, and the way he did it was a surprise to his friends. But even more special were the gifts he left behind for many of us.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Which ethnic or national groups have the biggest hearts?

Canadian Flag
Often people exclaim negatively about an ethnic or racial group.  But why not look at the best of some of them, for example in an exploration of which group is considered to have the biggest hearts?

Several years ago Universum studied 300,000 university students around the world to assess their interest in helping others through their career aspirations and found Canadians tops with the biggest hearts. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Experts underline Pakistan central to world's extremist worries

No Exit from Pakistan - daniel-markey-no-exit-from-pakistan
Daniel Markey's book offers observations about the underpinnings of Pakistani- US relations
Carol Forsloff--Five years ago the Obama White House said this - “The safe havens for violent extremist groups within Pakistan continue to pose an intolerable threat to the United States, to Afghanistan, and to the Pakistani people.  Have things changed?

What the United States found in 2010 offered allegations in the war logs that Pakistan‘s Inter-Services Intelligence has been covertly supporting the Taliban.  This brought about strong statements from the White House, finding the situation “unacceptable.”