The World Cup and Domestic Violence

As the World Cup begins the lovely staff of Sojourn thought a re-post from the feminist blog, The Curvature, could kick off a discussion of the relationship or non-relationship between domestic violence and sporting events.

Many media outlets and popular assumptions state that drunken and upset men (perhaps returning from a lost soccer match) are more likely to batter their spouses and partners.

For this reason, the England police department crafted new PSA's, warning telling men and women about the consequences of domestic violence with a World Cup theme.

While I applaud the English police department for attempting to curb the rates of domestic violence during this time, I find it aggravating that domestic violence is understood in such basic terms in these adds. According to the English police, domestic violence is just that -- physical violence -- against women. Of course physical violence is a terrible outcome of an abusive relationship, and the most visible, but domestic violence is also defined by many other behaviors: emotional manipulation, use children, money, pets, and denigration to control their female partners -- this is abuse, not just one crazy night of drunkenness.

Batterers have learned abuse. Simply warning them that if they beat their partners after watching the World Cup they may go to jail does not undo the dangerous and abusive tendencies of the batterer.

The Curvature explores more in depth,

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Our staff works tirelessly (go them! we love them!) and rarely get a chance to really get to the BLOGGING. Blogging is so fun and I am sad that my fellow Sojourn friends cannot blog with me all the time but for now it will be me! Posting! As much as my little volunteer heart can muster!

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Should parental love be used as a tool for controlling children?: NO

At Sojourn, we advocate for comprehensive and compassionate parenting, and denounce conditional or aggressive parenting. With this in mind, we were obviously thrilled to see a Alfie Kohn's article on unconditional parental love in the New York Times.

As analyzed by Alfie Kohn in his article, "When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ ", two recent parenting books by Phil McGraw of the talk show "Dr. Phil" and Jo Frost of "Suppernanny" tell readers that what children need or enjoy should be offered contingently, turned into rewards to be doled out or withheld so they “behave according to your wishes.” And, as stated by Dr. Phil, “one of the most powerful currencies for a child,” he adds, “is the parents’ acceptance and approval.”

Likewise, Jo Frost of “Supernanny,” in her book of the same name (Hyperion, 2005), says, “The best rewards are attention, praise and love,” and these should be held back “when the child behaves badly until she says she is sorry,” at which point the love is turned back on.

Kohn asks, Should parental love be used as a tool for controlling children? At Sojourn we respond with a resounding NO.

Kohn agrees. Instead of conditional parenting, Kohn suggests that unconditional parenting is far superior, "In practice, according to an impressive collection of data by Dr. Deci and others, unconditional acceptance by parents as well as teachers should be accompanied by “autonomy support”: explaining reasons for requests, maximizing opportunities for the child to participate in making decisions, being encouraging without manipulating, and actively imagining how things look from the child’s point of view."

At Sojourn, we are always pleased to hear further proof that nonviolent, compassionate, and unconditional parenting continues to be widely supported and we hope that misled writers (we are looking at you Dr. Phil and Suppernanny!) will take the time to read the studies cited by Kohn.

Read the full text: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/health/15mind.html?_r=3&src=twt&twt=nytime