What Do Kids Think About Spanking? Ask Camila!
A good friend of mine, Al Crowell, calls me awhile back to tell me he has a brilliant idea about how to help people realize they shouldn’t be hitting kids. He tells me his granddaughter, Camila, has never been spanked. Her parents are completely against coercive parenting. He says, “What if we tried to understand a child’s viewpoint about spanking – from a child who has never been spanked?” Of course I thought this was an incredible idea. He goes on to tell me that Camila is an amazing person, full of life and curiosity. That sure flies in the face of the fear that if you don’t spank kids, they’ll just run over you. To the contrary, Al wanted to do a project with her, because she is such a fun person. He tells me “she is a joy to be with, and wants to be an actress in a very young girl kind of way.”
Apparently, Camila has been taking an acting class with the local summer theatre program. “She wants to be famous,” Al tells me, “Camila is all girl! She has talent and an amazing ability to remember her lines.”
Al is one of the co-founders of The US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, so he is always dreaming up ways to help people make that shift of awareness that spanking is wrong. When Al asked Camila if she was interested in making some film clips about spanking from a child’s perspective, she was all over it! Al wrote much of the script for these film clips, but he assures me, “When Camila says she doesn’t understand why parents have to hit their kids, she is sincere. She really doesn’t understand why parents would do that.” When I first saw these clips, I watched one after the other, laughing and nodding in agreement. Camila is so disarming. It is enlightening to listen to a child who, from a place of genuine innocence and confusion, speaks out against hitting children. I think Camila, Al and his film crew did a wonderful job!
Thankfully we have been hearing more and more voices speaking out against harsh discipline. I asked Al how he became involved in the anti-hitting movement of children.
I’ve been interested in this issue for a very long time. For me, my interest was sparked in the sixties and seventies when my wife and I were involved in the non-violent movement. That is when we decided not to hit our kids. Positive Parenting material like Rudolf Driekurs’ and other great books on children’s development stages helped us a lot. I was so happy with the results that I decided to get a degree in counseling and work with families, especially with men around men’s issues and fatherhood. For thirty years I have been tuned into the non-violent parenting movement and have watched it change from being laughed at to being taken seriously. I’m proud to say that my son has also raised his two boys in a similar manner.
Robbyn Peters Bennett:
How did you come to organize the US Alliance?
Years ago, I joined the board of Project No-Spank under Jordan Riak, whom I consider a mentor. After a number of years, I began to feel that we were preaching to the choir. At the same time, I began to recognize a grassroots effort where people were doing things in their own communities to help stop the spanking of children. I yearned to organize all of us in the US to join together so that we could collectively support each other and become a more powerful voice. So, several of us who wanted to support a national effort formed The US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. The US Alliance is an organization dedicated to organizing a movement to end spanking in the US. We are now in our third year of gathering names and groups who are doing similar work and forging alliances. We are using the Internet, social media and networking. I’m inspired! I can see folks coming together as a movement where broader outreach now seems directly on the horizon.
How can others participate in this movement?
For one, share Camila’s videos on Facebook and email. Also share with your friends, family, and community a copy of our parenting pamphlet (see below) that is a soft touch approach to explaining why parents should never risk spanking their child. And be sure to go to http://endhittingusa.org and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current on efforts around the nation and get ideas on how you can help end the hitting of children.
Check out Camila’s Videos!
Do You Need Help Talking to a Loved One About Spanking?
This “soft touch” pamphlet can help you raise the topic of spanking with your spouse, friend, family, and your clients in a respectful, supportive way. It is a fully illustrated story of loving parents, Betty and Al, discussing how they want to discipline their little boy. The parents discuss the usual issues concerning whether or not to spank and they come to the conclusion that it is just too risky, and there are much better alternatives.
Al Crowell is cofounder of The US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. He lives with his lovely wife Pilar Mejia in San Fransico, CA. To learn more about joining the movement and helping end violence against children, email Al at [email protected]