Training Abusive Parents to Use Nonviolent Child Discipline Strategies
When family assessment indicates that parents are relying on excessively harsh corporal punishment to control child misbehavior, and especially if instances of child injury are traceable to the parent’s use of extremely punitive discipline, training in appropriate, nonviolent child-management skills is needed. Essentially, the therapist seeks to assist the parent in replacing current violent forms of discipline (such as excessive screaming, spanking, hitting, or beating) with more effective management skills that are nonviolent in nature. As the parent uses these appropriate skills to deal with child misbehavior, the risk of violence, and therefore injury, during disciplinary episodes will be reduced. Although we will focus in this chapter on strategies for assisting parents to handle misbehavior nonviolently, a closely related clinical task is helping parents to use positive-reinforcement-based techniques simultaneously when interacting with their children. That topic will be discussed in Chapter 6, and therapists will always want to combine attention to reducing a parent’s violent disciplinary practices with concurrent attention to teaching more positive interaction skills. In this way, treatment extends beyond the short-term goal of reducing a parent’s current reliance on harsh discipline to the longer-range goal of establishing positive reinforcement-based interactions within the family.
KeywordsChild Behavior Corporal Punishment Child Behavior Problem Physical Punishment Abusive Parent
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