AAP Says No Spanking

Although spanking has always been controversial, more than ninety percent of American families surveyed have used spanking as a means of discipline at some time. And although spanking may stop the undesired behavior in the short term, repeated spanking may cause aggressive behavior in the child. In the April, 1998 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics goes much further than simply recommending that parents refrain from spanking. The article (found on the Web at discusses the consequences of spanking and thoroughly explains several nonviolent alternatives.

The AAP discusses the three essential components for effective discipline: 1) a positive, supportive, loving relationship between the parent(s) and child, 2) use of positive reinforcement strategies to increase desired behaviors, and 3) removing reinforcement or applying punishment to reduce or eliminate undesired behaviors.

Store-Bought Chicken Can Sicken

In the most comprehensive test of its kind, Consumer Reports magazine found seventy-one percent of store-bought chicken to contain dangerous bacteria. Researchers found Campylobacter, the leading cause of food poisoning nationwide, in sixty-three percent of chickens tested. Campylobacter is responsible for up to seven million food-borne infections each year, up to 1,000 of these are fatal. Salmonella, which kills up to 2,000 people each year, was found in sixteen percent of chicken tested. Both Salmonella and Campylobacter can be eliminated if the meat is cooked to an interior temperature of 180 degrees, but the raw meat may still contaminate kitchen utensils and food preparation surfaces. The researchers also found that one in twenty birds were almost spoiled and that no brand was consistently cleaner than others.

Next Up: Liquor Industry

University of Minnesota law professor Stephen Simon says the parallels between the liquor and tobacco industries make it logical that the liquor industry will be next in line for litigation. "The liquor industry markets to youth," says Simon. "Like the tobacco industry, they want brand loyalty, and they have to get these kids drinking their beer as early as possible." Simon says he's seen articles where beer and liquor manufacturers literally say, "If we can get a kid to start drinking our beer, we have an annuity for the life of that drinker." (University of Minnesota News Service)

Gender Games on the Playground

The spring issue of Melpomene Journal published some early findings of a study investigating the different ways in which boys and girls use the playground. Children attending a Hopkins public school summer-care program were observed at six sites. Researchers noted the equipment the children used, the kinds of games played, and the number of boys and girls involved. Children were interviewed to determine their play preferences and patterns.

Early results indicate that boys tended to play ball games in open space or on blacktop, while girls tended to socialize or interact with teachers. Girls played less vigorously than boys and few girls took part in ball games. Boys stated a preference for playing with other boys, while girls preferred playing in gender-mixed groups. Boys also said they didn't like girls and that their friends were boys. Girls liked mixed groups because it was "more fair, more fun, and no one would be left out." A full report of the study will be published in a future issue of the Melpomene Journal.

A Few Tips for Better Shopping Trips

Grocery stores in Red Wing have teamed up with the U of M Extension Service and the Rotary Club to make shopping a better experience for families. Parenting messages are attached to grocery carts and suggest ways to help children behave. The ten different messages also provide phone numbers for additional parenting resources. The project attempts to provide valuable information to parents exactly when they need it. Some of the messages suggest games to include the children and make shopping more fun. For instance, children can be engaged by finding five things in the aisle that are red (or glass, or poisonous, etc.). Counting, alphabet, "I Spy," or other games also help alleviate the stress of a trip to a crowded store with tight aisles and those unavoidable candy displays at kids' eye-level in the check-out line.

Join Our Crew Minnesota Parent has a great internship opportunity for anyone wanting to learn the inner workings of a monthly magazine. Candidates should be capable of working independently. Proofreading and database/data-entry experience are required, writing experience is a plus. Interns may have the opportunity to write freelance articles for Minnesota Parent. Ten to fifteen hours per week. Flexible. Unpaid. Send resume and cover letter by June 1, 1998 to Paul Pfeiffer, 401 N. Third St., Suite 550, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

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