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Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won't Save Black America

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A challenge to the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in Black homes and its connections to racial violence in America Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect blac A challenge to the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in Black homes and its connections to racial violence in America Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect black children from the streets, incarceration, encounters with racism, or worse. However, the consequences of this widely accepted approach to child-rearing are far-reaching and seldom discussed. Dr. Stacey Patton's extensive research suggests that corporal punishment is a crucial factor in explaining why black folks are subject to disproportionately higher rates of school suspensions and expulsions, criminal prosecutions, improper mental health diagnoses, child abuse cases, and foster care placements, which too often funnel abused and traumatized children into the prison system. Weaving together race, religion, history, popular culture, science, policing, psychology, and personal testimonies, Dr. Patton connects what happens at home to what happens in the streets in a way that is thought-provoking, unforgettable, and deeply sobering. Spare the Kids is not just a book. It is part of a growing national movement to provide positive, nonviolent discipline practices to those rearing, teaching, and caring for children of color.


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A challenge to the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in Black homes and its connections to racial violence in America Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect blac A challenge to the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in Black homes and its connections to racial violence in America Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect black children from the streets, incarceration, encounters with racism, or worse. However, the consequences of this widely accepted approach to child-rearing are far-reaching and seldom discussed. Dr. Stacey Patton's extensive research suggests that corporal punishment is a crucial factor in explaining why black folks are subject to disproportionately higher rates of school suspensions and expulsions, criminal prosecutions, improper mental health diagnoses, child abuse cases, and foster care placements, which too often funnel abused and traumatized children into the prison system. Weaving together race, religion, history, popular culture, science, policing, psychology, and personal testimonies, Dr. Patton connects what happens at home to what happens in the streets in a way that is thought-provoking, unforgettable, and deeply sobering. Spare the Kids is not just a book. It is part of a growing national movement to provide positive, nonviolent discipline practices to those rearing, teaching, and caring for children of color.

30 review for Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won't Save Black America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Who should read this book? Every single person on the planet, even if you aren't a parent. Why should you read this book? It is just a wealth of information. From dispelling the notion that hitting children is an inherently "Black" thing, tackling the misinformation that hitting a young person is a Christian teaching, and giving out the tremendously important information on the mental and psychological damage hitting can do to children. We really have to start treating our children as fully huma Who should read this book? Every single person on the planet, even if you aren't a parent. Why should you read this book? It is just a wealth of information. From dispelling the notion that hitting children is an inherently "Black" thing, tackling the misinformation that hitting a young person is a Christian teaching, and giving out the tremendously important information on the mental and psychological damage hitting can do to children. We really have to start treating our children as fully human from the moment they are born, while at the same time examine how WE as adults were not treated as full humans from our parents and caregivers. This will be an uncomfortable book for those who insist that violence against children is necessary. But in the end, it is worth reading. When should you read this book? Like right now!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sprinkles

    'Sparing the Kids' focuses on the Black/African American perspective of corporal punishment and the culture surrounding it, but anyone can benefit from reading this. Spanking, beating, whupping, paddling, even the occasional "pop" should stay in the past with a very painful history (spoiler: religion plays a part!). What's important is to step back from shaming parents of less-intense cases and acknowledge that there are plenty of discipline options that don't compromise a child's space and bodi 'Sparing the Kids' focuses on the Black/African American perspective of corporal punishment and the culture surrounding it, but anyone can benefit from reading this. Spanking, beating, whupping, paddling, even the occasional "pop" should stay in the past with a very painful history (spoiler: religion plays a part!). What's important is to step back from shaming parents of less-intense cases and acknowledge that there are plenty of discipline options that don't compromise a child's space and bodily autonomy. Parts of this are very painful or frustrating to read. It may even make the reader reflect on their own upbringing or parenting style. Dr. Stacey Patton is nothing short of a genius for compiling studies, history, science, anecdotes, and relatable stories into an engaging and life-altering text. Hopefully her stances will become a mainstream culture soon. Don't hit your children, everyone!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reka Beezy

    Man, we got issues.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonea

    To be honest I am super conflicted about this book. SUPER CONFLICTED! Philosophically I agree with the larger message of the book which is that hitting children as a means of discipline is not ideal for their emotional, psychological and intellectual growth. That I can 100% agree with. My problem is that I thought this book was going to be more scientific in nature in terms of looking at studies in regards to black children then it did. I find it hard to enjoy a book when the science behind conc To be honest I am super conflicted about this book. SUPER CONFLICTED! Philosophically I agree with the larger message of the book which is that hitting children as a means of discipline is not ideal for their emotional, psychological and intellectual growth. That I can 100% agree with. My problem is that I thought this book was going to be more scientific in nature in terms of looking at studies in regards to black children then it did. I find it hard to enjoy a book when the science behind conclusions is faulty or at least not based on rigor (at the very least). I understand that Pscyhology is not this author's area of expertise but she does take on that area of study. I just think that if she is going to do it, it should be done authentically. That means you can't gloss over things that don't fit your conclusions, you can't use the worst case scenarios to form theories (you have to take from a wide range of experiences) and you cannot use personal communication as evidence to support your theories. I actually wanted this to be a better book because I thought it could be something that I could recommend to parents but I can't. It is more of an advocacy book than parenting in my opinion so there are no practical parenting tips that I think parents could find helpful. The actual writing is good though, which is why I gave it 2 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tamika

    I feel as though reading the first two chapters are enough to get it. I thought this book would give a little history on physical discipline, tie it to white supremacy, and get on with some solutions. Instead it seems to be countless mentions of studies that sometimes are written in a strange way to support the author's stance. For example: "71 percent of young women [who are former foster youth] had gotten pregnant." When did they get pregnant? Over a lifetime, or before a certain "acceptable" I feel as though reading the first two chapters are enough to get it. I thought this book would give a little history on physical discipline, tie it to white supremacy, and get on with some solutions. Instead it seems to be countless mentions of studies that sometimes are written in a strange way to support the author's stance. For example: "71 percent of young women [who are former foster youth] had gotten pregnant." When did they get pregnant? Over a lifetime, or before a certain "acceptable" age? As a Black parent who is already committed to non-violent discipline, this book should have been an easy read that backed up my viewpoint. Unfortunately I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and trying to decipher what some statistics really meant.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    This was certainly an eye-opening book focused on corporal punishment in the black community. It was interesting to read about how this form of punishment continues to flourish despite research against it. Corporal punishment has been brutalizing black bodies since the days of slavery, yet it continues to be used as a means of discipline, often leading to separation of families. I liked the fact that this book appears to be well researched. I hope it is read by those who could benefit from updat This was certainly an eye-opening book focused on corporal punishment in the black community. It was interesting to read about how this form of punishment continues to flourish despite research against it. Corporal punishment has been brutalizing black bodies since the days of slavery, yet it continues to be used as a means of discipline, often leading to separation of families. I liked the fact that this book appears to be well researched. I hope it is read by those who could benefit from updating discipline practices. Some of the writing was repetitive, but definitely a worthwhile read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I've been thinking about how I'm going to review this book and what I can say to do justice to the awesomeness that is this book. I picked this up as a recommendation from my current supervisor, as we deal with this concern every single day in our practice with families facing CPS issues and continued use of spanking. Also, many of our families are African American, and as a white woman, I had challenges in understanding how to convey the problems around spanking to client parents whom were ofte I've been thinking about how I'm going to review this book and what I can say to do justice to the awesomeness that is this book. I picked this up as a recommendation from my current supervisor, as we deal with this concern every single day in our practice with families facing CPS issues and continued use of spanking. Also, many of our families are African American, and as a white woman, I had challenges in understanding how to convey the problems around spanking to client parents whom were often so entrenched in corporal punishment. I've struggled to have any way of being heard as someone who is not from the same cultural background and not part of the larger system trying to push my seemingly white agenda on client families. The common refrain heard is regarding it being the culture of black parents to use spanking and corporal punishment on a much more severe scale (belts, switches, using other tools), as "it worked for them" or "that's how we keep children from getting killed on the streets." I regularly thought of my clients' families while reading this book and how Stacy Patton's arguments refute all that white culture has pushed upon African Americans to believe in continuing to harm their children. Is this REALLY a strategy working for the African American community, considering black individuals are still the largest percentage of casualties out there? In addition, how is the thought that whupping children, just like white slave masters whupping black slaves, in any way better and superseding this past? In fact, it's reliving it and continuing the cycle of abuse that has kept the black community oppressed since first being brought to this continent for slave labor. I also appreciated Patton's discussion about early childhood trauma and how it impacts brain development, further incurring biological deficits in children when they face abuse such as spanking and whupping, including lower IQs, problems with executive functioning, and, significantly problematic, a lowered responsiveness to physical threat, thereby allowing for increases in risky and dangerous behaviors throughout their life course. Most of all, discussion of how these children will also equate harm with love, and similarly seek out others who continue to harm them in response to misunderstanding cues of care and love, as well as further the cycle of harming their children out of love, is critical to helping these families. Of course, white society has caused much of this oppression through historical record and continued disparities in all aspects of life. Therefore, these families continue to be involved with CPS and the judicial system at a much higher rate than other minorities and whites since this discrepancy creates a natural place for white society to continue stereotypes of black people being "angry" and "violent." Patton does not leave this on a note of misery, however, She discusses the cases of success in which intervention by way of understanding families as more than "child abusers" and more than at face value for their behaviors have succeeded, as well as providing testimonies from black families that have never spanked or have otherwise stopped spanking, and the successes of their families as a result. As I read this book, I had to take it in chunks, as Patton had no fear (and rightfully so) in tackling major issues and being real about the situation at hand. One chapter at a time was all I could handle in her description of vast social injustices that have largely been ignored, promoted, or otherwise been allowed to continue. However, as I was able to digest it all, she did an absolutely wonderful job in squashing any outside argument for the promotion of spanking for any reason whatsoever. While the topic is clearly targeting black children and families, much of the arguments also describe incongruities that argue for no longer spanking children in families of any ethnic or racial background. I HIGHLY recommend this book. I hope anyone working with families and dealing with discipline issues in any form reads this book and I hope to engage this book in some sort of training format in the future for practitioners with families. PLEASE READ IT.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rae Johnson

    If you’re looking for a parenting how-to guide, this isn’t it. However, this book provides an insightful view on parenting in the black community & where it stems from. It requires you to dig deep within yourself and evaluate your childhood experiences. I think this book is a good read for anyone of color, parent or not. It serves as a good basis of information that could be shared within our community of one another and how those in the community (friends, neighbors, mentors) could have a diffe If you’re looking for a parenting how-to guide, this isn’t it. However, this book provides an insightful view on parenting in the black community & where it stems from. It requires you to dig deep within yourself and evaluate your childhood experiences. I think this book is a good read for anyone of color, parent or not. It serves as a good basis of information that could be shared within our community of one another and how those in the community (friends, neighbors, mentors) could have a different approach to our youth. Be prepared to truly reflect on yourself. Some chapters like 8 & 9 were hard for me to continue to read. It hurt. Some of the information was a bit repetitious, however it reminded me & made me replay the experience again. All insightful, thoughtful and really eye opening.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    This book is a must read for all african American parents, caregiver or anyone who deals with kids you need to read this it was such a great book it was not an easy read I had to put it down a few times and walk away because what I read made me angry or sad but in the end I felt hopeful and full of joy knowing that there are people who are committed to breaking the cycle when it comes to how we parent and treat our children .

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tresha

    Patton lists solid arguments against the practice of corporal punishment while also tracing its roots to white supremacy (slavery, Jim Crow, etc). It doesn't include practical tips on how to parent positively, but it does provide a huge amount of data and scientific evidence as to how detrimental whupping (spanking, popping, beating,etc) can be to the development of children and teens. Patton's book teaches: - that is whupping is a continuation of the violence inflicted upon black people during s Patton lists solid arguments against the practice of corporal punishment while also tracing its roots to white supremacy (slavery, Jim Crow, etc). It doesn't include practical tips on how to parent positively, but it does provide a huge amount of data and scientific evidence as to how detrimental whupping (spanking, popping, beating,etc) can be to the development of children and teens. Patton's book teaches: - that is whupping is a continuation of the violence inflicted upon black people during slavery AND the attitudes of the early English settlers about childhood and children's innate sinfulness - that corporal punishment is actually not just a "black" thing according to data. -that right now more significant numbers of black children are beaten at schools in the deep South and in predominantly black school districts with approval from parents -that parents who end up interacting with Child Protective Services aren't always harsh abusers, but parents who genuinely love their children and caused severe injury in the heat of the moment - that corporal punishment rewires a child's brain and interferes with the development of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that handles impulse control and decision making. Whupping can cause the very behaviors parents are hoping to avoid in their children. This book provides many of the reasons for not using spanking as a parenting tool. It has helped shaped my conviction against the practice. Patton provides a strong case for "why" we shouldn't spank. For the "how" to parent positively I revisit books such as, "How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, How to Listen so Kids Will Talk," "Magic 1-2-3 Parenting", and "Parenting with Love and Logic".

  11. 4 out of 5

    Deafinition

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Dr. Stacey Patton has ventured into territory that deals with the deepest effects of America's history of African enslavement. She begins by honestly inviting the reader into a conversation where they know they will be challenged, but she makes a compelling argument to stay engaged as she skillfully, courageously, and compassionately lays out the facts of history that have been overlooked for far too long. She proves herself to be an erudite student of this material and also an expert by honorin Dr. Stacey Patton has ventured into territory that deals with the deepest effects of America's history of African enslavement. She begins by honestly inviting the reader into a conversation where they know they will be challenged, but she makes a compelling argument to stay engaged as she skillfully, courageously, and compassionately lays out the facts of history that have been overlooked for far too long. She proves herself to be an erudite student of this material and also an expert by honoring her lived childhood experiences. What she does remarkably well is allows the reader to engage themselves in all parts of their own history and the teachings that society has imposed upon them without shame. This book is assured to be a fixture in American history for generations to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I started this book and then put it down for other things and came back. It was a lot to process at first but eventually I got back in and after having more time with my toddler I see the merit in the approach. The author lays out an extensive history of brutality against children in not only the US but worldwide. I think every parent and grandparent should read this book and have an inter generational meeting of the minds.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    I’m so grateful for Patton’s articulation of how corporal punishment in Black America is rooted in historical trauma and white supremacy. I hope it gets another copy edit before a subsequent printing to clean up typos. I’ll be sharing this one with social worker and librarian friends.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    I had began but never finished due to my lack of interesting in reading at the time lol, but even then I never forgot some parts of this book. This is a extraordinary book, hard to read because it’s so sad and raw at the times but an absolutely necessary read. Dr. Stacey Patton is the best.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    This was hard to read and I don't even know what to say about it as a white person. It felt voyeuristic to read almost. But as someone who is firmly against corporal punishment, it's nice to know this book exists. This was hard to read and I don't even know what to say about it as a white person. It felt voyeuristic to read almost. But as someone who is firmly against corporal punishment, it's nice to know this book exists.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Absolutely incredible. It gets to the heart of the issue and effectively follows all of its branching effects through society then points the reader toward solutions.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Monica Whitfield

    Good information. Lots to think about. Some content was quite repetitive.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Tyler

    This book was so fascinating and if people keep an open mind then they will see that Dr. Patton has some very valid points. Full review to come by the release date!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erik Gillespie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Taikein Cooper

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bitsy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Darren Linkin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  26. 4 out of 5

    Keshelle Ormsby

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erica Warren

  28. 5 out of 5

    Apryl

  29. 4 out of 5

    Layne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

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