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Local parents respond to NFL child abuse case | Families

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Local parents respond to NFL child abuse case
Families, News
Local parents respond to NFL child abuse case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Whether you call it cultural or criminal, the debate over spanking and other corporal punishment has come center stage in the United States.

A national conversation over parenting continues to grow in the wake of a child abuse case involving NFL star Adrian Peterson, who is charged with felony child abuse after reportedly spanking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

"The scars on the kid's leg and bruises look pretty excessive," said Nicholas Dudley, a Little Rock father of two. "My wife and I decided early on that we wouldn't spank our children, we just believe there are multiple other ways to send a good message to your children as far as what needs to be done."

"A lot of research shows that if you use more behavioral techniques and give positive reinforcement to behavior that you desire you can have the same outcome," said UALR School of Social Work Director Howard Turney, Ph.D.

The Peterson case has given rise to a national debate over corporal punishment and it seems everyone is weighing in.

"I'm from the South, whippin' we do that all the time," said Turner Sports Analyst Charles Barkley. "Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances"

"There is some thought in certain regions of the country that corporal punishment is a way to manage children in a positive way and I would disagree with that," added Turney. "I think there are other ways to manage children and to help them."

"There's a clear line that delineates discipline and abuse," said Arkansas Department of Human Services Communications Director Amy Webb. "It's pretty clear what is outlined in the law… There's a clear line that delineates discipline and abuse and, for us, abuse is outlined in the law and it is shaking a child, hitting a child in the face, punching, kicking, burning, cutting children."

Webb's office gets more than 30,000 calls to its child abuse hotline every year.

"We're glad people are having a conversation about it but I want to be clear that there are some laws that really outline very clearly what is allowed and what is not allowed," added Webb. "You can look on our child abuse website and it clearly identifies what is child abuse and what the law says about it because there are serious consequences if you are found to have abused a child."

You can report suspected child abuse online at http://www.stoparchildabuse.com/ or at the state's anonymous child abuse hotline: 1.800.482.5964.

Families, News