Friday, February 17, 2012
But asserting that spanking causes aggression is like saying
that eating causes cancer.
Researchers like this who study spanking continue to make a
fundamental error: neglecting to separate the confounding variables. That is,
the phenomena that go along with spanking are the more likely causes of
aggression that they found. When researchers ignore these variables, it
invalidates their research. They continue to infer a causal relationship
between spanking and aggression, when in fact they have not demonstrated a
causal connection at all.
Some parents who spank do so with rage, in an out of control
manner. They physically dominate the child with a hostility that communicates
loathing, not love. These parents often use no other discipline tool but
spanking. Their model is “spank all the time for anything, anywhere, and to
whatever degree I feel like it.” These parents also tend to exhibit aggression
toward spouses, pets, and other adults. This model of aggression is indeed likely
to teach the child to be aggressive. To the parents in this group, I say: knock
it off. Stop abusing your child and get some help.
On the other hand, plenty of parents spank without any of
the negative side effects. They remain in control, communicate the express
purpose of the punishment, and utilize other means of discipline when
appropriate. They are not indiscriminate and keep the physicality or violence
of spanking to a minimum. It is neither brutal nor injurious. Children spanked
in this manner do not feel abused because they are not being abused. They are
being loved. This kind of parenting and spanking is perfectly appropriate,
healthy, and largely effective. To the parents in this group, I say: keep doing
what you’re doing and ignore the bad science.
Any research that does not distinguish these two
fundamentally different patterns is either willfully deceptive or ignorant;
either way, it should be ignored. Unfortunately, I have not seen any spanking
research that makes the crucial distinction.
Try again, spanking abolitionists. Next time, try good
science, not junk science.
Monday, December 5, 2011
It’s that time of the year.
Starting with Labor Day, holidays tumble round us, closer always than our busy schedules allow us to think they are. We’re all still surprised to see Christmas promoted at the same time that we’re barely thinking of retrieving scarves, gloves, boots and hats from their summertime repository. You know, the closet, way in the back.
Among the moments of joyful anticipation, there may be bittersweet longing. Depression or anxiety may cause you to grit your teeth to face the holidays with little more than grim resolve. Holidays are unlikely to measure up to the media images of friends and family gathered around a Martha Stewart-decorated table.
For many, these are tough times. Our nation is troubled. Many are struggling financially.
Youth may be worried by an uncertain future. Relationships may be disrupted
by illness, death, or financial or emotional insecurity, and it is no
secret that the holidays can serve as a magnifying glass, making
pre-existing problems seem even bigger.
But you are not helpless in the face of the forced gayety in which you find yourself. Here are some tips:
First, take heart. You can safely remind yourself that this, too, will pass. But it isn’t time that is healing; it is what you do with it. So, take charge.
Write down some things that you can do for yourself that feel good, and do some or all of those things.
Get yourself out of your self-imposed exile and go somewhere, visit someone.
Give of yourself. There will be enough left, I promise.
Make a spectacular dinner and invite someone about whom you care. You can let it be tuna casserole. It doesn’t matter.
Make an appointment to grieve mightily if you need to. That’s right, give yourself permission to feel what you feel and do it with all your might. Your ability to feel is one of God’s gifts to us and is, after all, what makes you human. Honor your grief by spending some time with it, privately and for a limited amount of time. Then, leave it. You can return to it another time if you need to.
Make your own golden moments by seeking out connection with those you love.
Share your feelings with someone whom you trust.
Take charge of sifting through long-standing traditions. Keep those that you want to maintain and start a new one. Get creative. Have fun with it.
Go to a place of worship. Allow yourself to feel peace. Peace.
Think about what gifts are supposed to represent. Give one. Give many.
Let your gifts be about something far more meaningful than any money you may spend.
Don’t compare yourself and your own situation with what you perceive others may have. Don’t believe the magazines or the everyone-loves-everyone-all-the-time stories on TV.
Spend some time with children.
Get enough sleep. Eat. Drink plenty of water.
Go for a walk at night when it’s snowing. Bundle up.
Make a short-term goal and a long-term goal. Savor the anticipation of
of attaining them.
Find a way to help someone who needs something you can provide.
Let the message to people you love be that they matter. The message to you from your loving Self is that you matter.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
By Jessica Fox, LCPC
I love this article Modern Allowance Tribune Story on giving your kids an allowance. One of my clients referenced this article in a session so I decided to check it out, and boy was I glad I did. It’s not a mind-blowing, completely unique concept or anything., but rather, a sort of “duh” moment; why didn’t we think of this before?
I am no economic expert by any means. I am not well versed in the stock market and could probably only last 10 minutes in a conversation about the government’s plan to stimulate the economy. I’m a therapist, I could talk about anxiety and depression for hours…..However, as a therapist that works with parents, I found this article incredibly useful. It connects the concepts of finance with social responsibility. Two ideas that unfortunately have been strangers for some time now.
The article discusses a few different ways to distribute allowance to children. Many families are now adopting a plan that imitates the 401k system where they match what their children save. Other families are trying to teach kids about social responsibility, pushing them to place one third of their allowance into an envelope for charity. It is so important that we model and educate children about being giving. Many researchers have described today’s youth as “entitled.” I hear it all of the time in my practice, parents complaining that their children just seem ungrateful and entitled. It’s not all their faults. We need to do a better job at making charity a part of our lives and sharing this knowledge with our kids. Make it an expectation. You will teach your children two essential lessons about budgeting and valuing every dollar and the responsibility we all have to help those less fortunate.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Essentially, individuals with this diagnosis have experienced one or several events that they interpreted as traumatic. As a result of this experience(s), these individuals may have trouble sleeping, develop nightmares, experience flashbacks (quick memories, smells, sounds, etc. that remind them of the traumatic event), and have difficulty concentrating. Additionally, these individuals may avoid the place the event occurred at and they also may avoid speaking to others about the traumatic event(s). Of course, there are many more symptoms a person may experience as a result of experiencing a traumatic event but, these are some of the more common symptoms. What is deemed a traumatic event? While natural disasters, witnessing a crime, rape, verbal/physical/sexual abuse, and various accidents are common causes of PTSD, any event(s) that an individual is unable to cope with by himself or herself may be seen as traumatic.
So what do you do with this information? Unfortunately, not many mental health professionals have had sufficient (or any) training in working with individuals who have experienced the above symptoms and may even meet the criteria for PTSD. You may be reading this thinking, “Hey, that sounds like me” or “This sounds like someone I know.” I’m here to give you some helpful suggestions that will help you and your loved ones on the road to recovery and a more fulfilling life!
• Do your research! Believe it or not, but not all therapists are qualified to work with individuals who have experienced trauma. Also, visit the National Center for PTSD’s website: http://www.ptsd.va.gov for more information about PTSD symptoms, up-to-date research, and resources.
• Essential to any individual’s recovery from a debilitating disorder is support. If you feel you may have PTSD, seek out additional support. If you know someone who may have PTSD, show some support! Become involved in their recovery, make yourself available to talk as often as you can, and consider family therapy if it is appropriate.
• Almost all individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD also have co-occurring diagnoses (or eventually develop them). Some common co-occurring problems include: Alcohol Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Anger, and Substance Abuse to name a few. It is important to seek assistance as soon as possible to minimize the impact of the trauma and begin the healing process.
As a psychotherapist specializing in traumatic stress, I understand that all this information may be overwhelming and you may still be confused if you or a loved one may suffer from PTSD. You may get lost sifting through the millions of publications on PTSD; you are not alone. Contacting a physician or psychotherapist is the first step down the path to recovery and, if necessary, I hope you will take it!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This story got me thinking about the light and dark sides of Facebook and other social media sites. So often in my private practice, I encounter situations where Facebook has caused tweens and teens to feel isolated, ostracized, and completely stressed out from the pressure to keep up with photos, status updates and friends. I have seen parents ban Facebook altogether, worrying that their child is obsessed! There are also parents who have banned Facebook because their children are using it inappropriately with provocative photos or vulgar messages. So, my overall feeling has been that many adolescents are not truly ready for a responsibility like Facebook.
As a psychotherapist, I find much of my work--and perhaps my biggest challenge--is being a liaison between parents and teenagers. It is a critical part of my practice because of the huge disconnect that often exists between generations. My advice to parents regarding Facebook is this: allow your child to open a Facebook account as a privilege, not as a human right. I won't suggest an age, because this level of maturity should be determined by you, the parent. Your child should be able to earn this privilege by showing good decision-making skills, a sense of self-worth, responsibility, and the ability to resist peer pressure. When that child of yours does have an account, it is up to you to monitor it and make sure that your child is upholding his or her end of the bargain. No inappropriate photographs or language, no identifiable information, a limited amount of usage on the website, and a healthy usage of it. You should have your child's password and set limits.
Sometime I get scared when I think about what adolescents will be using for social media in 15 years, and I'm sure I'm not alone. All the more reason to equip our children with the tools necessary to navigate the murky cyberwaters, as a model for navigating all of life's difficult terrain.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
An interesting new English study of sexual abuse victims has concluded that there is a very strong causal relationship between sexual abuse and future psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the more profound the abuse suffered, the more profound was the emotional problem and level of psychosis. The researchers also correlated sexual abuse with future struggles with depression and anxiety.
Most people with at least half a brain would say, “Well, duh.”
But wait, didn’t we learn somewhere that psychiatry had determined, definitively, that schizophrenia and other mental disorders were “brain-based” (the term “brain-based” being code for “caused by a genetically inherited birth defect in the brain”). At least this is what the vast majority of psychiatrists preach; this is also what their public advocacy group, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, teaches.
The average Joe doesn’t realize that there has been a minority of mental health clinicians who have known for decades that the broken brain theory of mental illness is hogwash. It is heartening to know that at least some professionals are catching on.
It’s about time they caught up. Maybe now they can stop blaming brains and start placing responsibility where it belongs—psychospiritual overwhelm (or emotional trauma). Whatever you want to call it, the vast majority of “mental illness” isn’t really an illness at all; it is a normal, predictable response to an emotional, cognitive, and spiritual trauma that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. It’s nurture, not nature.
Just wait: psychiatry will “discover” some way to explain away the common sense nurture explanation. With their whacked-out logic, they’ll start telling the public that children born with the predisposition toward schizophrenia somehow invite sexual abuse more often than others. Yeah, that’ll be really helpful. Or psychiatry’s favorite nonsensical refrain, “The abuse uncovered the underlying mental illness.” How these people get advanced degrees is one of the great mysteries of the world…
The truth is that the fountainhead of psychiatry stems from the cockamamie theory that presumes emotional problems are caused by faulty wires or biochemical imbalances. Gratefully, more and more people are turning to common sense, rather than pseudoscience. Hopefully, more scientists will produce science that both reflects and utilizes common sense from this study. Then we can really start helping the hurting.
Until then, they will be drugged into brain-damaged submission, without hope of a cure, wondering how the professionals who were supposed to help them turned out to be almost as cruel as their original abusers.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
In The Guardian, you said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
Let me say at the onset that you have every right to your belief—your faith in no god is a fundamental right that I would never dream of stealing. Let me also say that I appreciate the lack of hostility in your assertion, which is a welcome contrast to the more vehement opponents of theism, such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
I am no theoretical physicist. I do not claim to comprehend quantum physics on an academic level. However, I do believe that I have a basic hold on the essentials of logic and reason; I also have a layman’s understanding of Newtonian physics and quantum theory and therefore can make some reasonable statements about your assertions.
No matter what you or Dawkins or Hitchens assert, no scientific theory can sustain irrationality or illogic. Mystery, oxymoron, and apparent contradictions can be explained and corrected. True contradictions, however, breach the boundary between possible and impossible. You have made that leap.
It is simply illogical to assert that something can spring from nothing. Spontaneous creation ex nihilo is nothing less than impossible—both practically and theoretically. Even quantum physics does not allow for matter that has never existed to spring out of nothingness.
Nothingness. Think about that for a moment. Nothing does not simply mean nothing in that particular segment of the natural universe. Nothing prior to something means that there was no matter, no forces (including gravity), no movement, no time, no action, no inaction…nothing existed in the natural world. Nothing could have spontaneously created itself, because that would require it to exist before it existed. This breaks the Law of Noncontradiction, the indisputable law which guides and rules all scientific inquiry. Asserting such a thing is not good science, even in the mysterious realm of quantum physics. It is not even pseudo-scientific. It is pure, unadulterated nonsense.
Sometimes the simplest assertion from the most unlikely source expresses the profoundest truth: “Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.”
I’m not so sure your comparison of Heaven to that of a fairy tale is helpful to your overall claim. At least in fairy tales, the laws of logic rule. Sure, a frog can turn into a prince, but at least the frog does not spontaneously create itself. The former is logical, albeit impossible; the latter is illogical.
You said in a 2010 interview that "there is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works." It is surprising to me that a man who is so clearly intelligent and knowledgeable in one arena can say something so profoundly ignorant (or disingenuous). If religious belief were merely based on authority outside of observation and reason, then it would indeed be foolish. But what makes more sense: something coming from nothing or something coming from something outside of itself? The latter, of course.
Reason not only suggests, but dictates that the universe was not self-created. This does not necessarily mean the God of the Bible; there are other, sufficient reasons for that hypothesis. But the God of the Bible begins with reason, continues with reason, adds significant observations, and then, when these two become sufficient, the Bible’s explanation for the universe becomes authoritative. You’ve got it backwards. Perhaps you have been taught incorrectly.
Christians believe that Heaven exists not because it is a fairy tale narrative of the “opiate of the masses”, but in spite of this opiate. Atheists like Freud were quick to presume that theists are simply too afraid of their own mortality and, to soothe their existential crisis, believe in “pie in the sky, by and by…” He was too weak to realize that atheism is functionally the “cocaine of the masses”, aiding a stubborn ego to ignore their responsibility to someone higher than they.
That science trumps religion because it is presumed to explain things is the fairy tale. To believe that all matter sprang into existence out of nothing requires a far greater leap of faith than theism. It’s simply too far-fetched.
My belief in Heaven is based on evidence, beginning with logic and reason. Your belief in creation ex nihilo is based on a very vibrant, but illogical faith. I pray that you will examine reason and evidence, instead of the dogma of the closed, natural world.
Dr. Dathan A. Paterno