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Learning Why “WE MUST STOP HITTING CHILDREN” Just Got Easier!

The Center for the Improvement of Child Caring (CICC) is herein republishing its authoritative series of articles on why “WE MUST STOP HITTING CHILDREN”. This version has been created to make it easier to keep your place when you go from one article to another.

These important articles are intended for both parents and for anyone who works with parents, including teachers, principals, counselors, therapists, doctors and nurses.

The brilliant contemporary celebrity, Louis CK, has a fine perspective on this issue. Click on his picture to appreciate his wisdom…

Louis C K on Hitting is Crazy

The series is written by CICC’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Kerby T. Alvy, a nationally respected authority on parenting and author of numerous books and programs on effective parenting and parenting education. He has an important Call to Action at the bottom of this announcement.

Click on the title to read each article of the series

Part 1 Children Are People Too

Part 2 Definition of Physical Punishment

Part 3 Hitting Children Is Very Common

Part 4 Approval of Hitting Is Declining

Part 5 Hitting Is Used For A Variety Of Reasons

Part 6 Are Physically Punished Children Better Behaved?

Part 7 Do State Laws Define Allowable Vs. Prohibited Physical Punishment?

PART 8 Human Rights Considerations

Part 9 Countries Who Have Outlawed Hitting Children

Part 10 Conclusions and What to Do Instead of Hitting Children


“The information in this series of articles has the potential to prevent the abuse of children. That goal is so very important to our communities and nation. Thus, we strongly encourage you to share this series with your family members, friends and colleagues.

To make it easy for you to do this, here is a “Tiny url” address to this announcement:

Now you can copy and paste this address into an email or share on social media.

By sharing this announcement, you are doing something wonderful for the children of this world.

Thank you in advance for your kindness, Dr. Kerby T. Alvy”

Effective Black Parenting Instructor Training Workshop Oct. 24-28, 2016 Washington, DC

All arrangements have been made for this Workshop. It is being conducted in cooperation with the DC Children’s Trust Fund, through which enrollments can be made.

Go directly to the Home Page of the Trust Fund by clicking Here and Scroll to the bottom of the Page where you will see “CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Training”. There you will find Program Descriptions and Enrollment Procedures.

Here is some of the pertinent information about the Workshop…

1) PURPOSE: To learn how to deliver Classes in Center for the Improvement of Child Caring’s (CICC) Effective Black Parenting Program.

2) WHAT YOU GET: 5 Days of Professional Training, a Complete Instructor’s Kit of materials needed to run Classes, and Certification to conduct Classes.

3) ENROLLMENT FEE: $1,395.00 (which includes Complete Instructor’s Kit)

4) WORKSHOP LEADER: Ruth M. Rich, M.A. (who has conducted numerous classes)

5) LOCATION: Children’s National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

6) TIME COMMITMENT: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Monday-Friday)

By completing this Workshop, You will be joining over 5,000 colleagues in 44 States and the District of Columbia who have been similarly trained over the last 4 decades.

CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program has won numerous awards, and is considered to be an evidence-based National Model.


Dr. Alvy receiving congratulations from President Clinton for CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program.

EBP Parents Handbook_3879

To obtain Instructional Materials for CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program, Click here

To learn more about CICC & Dr. Alvy, Click here

Great Success with Effective Black Parenting Workshops and… 2 More Scheduled!

Two new Effective Black Parenting instructor training workshops in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles have been scheduled!

The workshop in DC will take place the week of October 24-28, 2016. It will be held at Children’s National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. It will be led by Ruth M. Rich, M.A., who has taught numerous classes and seminars in the Effective Black Parenting Program. sororruth2-corr_cropEBP Parents Handbook_3879

There are openings in that workshop. The enrollment fee is $1395 for the five days of professional training. The fee includes a complete Kit of educational materials to use in running classes in this evidence-based program, and certification to conduct classes.

To enroll please contact Mr. Samuel Tramel, the Executive Director of the DC Children’s Trust Fund. He can be reached at (202) 299-0900 Ext. 24 or The Children’s Trust Fund is partnering with CICC in organizing and running this workshop.

The upcoming workshop in Los Angeles is scheduled for September 19-23, 2016 and it is sold out. It is being sponsored by Shields for Families and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).


The new workshops are following on the heels of two very successful workshops which were conducted on August 24-28, 2016 in the Los Angeles area. Both of those workshops were supported by the County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and two local non-profits, Shields for Families and Prototypes. Both were attended by service providing personnel from child welfare agencies.

The accompanying photo was taken at the graduation of the workshop that Shields for Families sponsored. In the middle of the first row is Dr. Alvy, CICC’s Founder and Executive Director, and next to Dr. Alvy, wearing the beautiful medallion, is Ms. Ida Collier, CICC’s National Trainer who led that workshop.


Below is a link to the video of the graduates speaking about the impact the workshop and the program had on them.

It’s worth taking the time to view the entire video because their comments are both powerful and poignant. They share how they have begun to successfully use the workshop skills and ideas with their clients and their own family members.
Click Here to view the video.

Los Angeles County Embraces CICC Parenting Programs ___ by Kerby T. Alvy, Ph.D.

Through its Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the County of Los Angeles has recently and is currently making a new and large commitment to insuring that its families receive the many parenting education benefits of the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring’s national model parenting skill-building programs.

This DCFS is the largest public child welfare agency in the United States and serves the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Over the last 30 years it often contracted directly with CICC to train its children service workers to deliver classes in CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program for Parents of African American Children and classes in CICC’s Los Ninos Bien Educados Parenting Program for Parents of Latino Children with the clients the department serves.

During 2015 and 2016, DCFS has indirectly contracted with CICC to train many of its staff members and the staffs of community-based child welfare groups to be able to conduct these highly effective classes. They have and are currently doing this by awarding grants to local child welfare groups who, in turn, contract with CICC to run Parenting Instructor Training Workshops at their agencies in different areas of the county.

The first of this type of creative arrangement took place the week of August 24-28, 2015 at the Antelope Valley offices of the Los Angeles Children’s Bureau. That workshop was to prepare instructors to deliver classes in CICC’s Effective Black Parenting Program and it has already resulted in the delivery of several very successful classes, which is one of the reasons that DCFS has continued and expanded these sorts on contractual arrangements.EBP Parents Handbook_3879

The second such arrangement took place at the offices of El Projecto del Barrio in Panorama City the week of May 9-13, 2016. It taught CICC’s Los Ninos Bien Educados Program and was also very well received. See videos of that workshop on the Videos/Photos page of CICC’s website.Los Ninos Book Cover_English_crop

The current week of August 15-19, 2016 is witnessing two more such workshops in the Effective Black Parenting Program in the Pomona and Hawthorne areas of the county. These are being hosted by the Prototypes (Pomona) and the Shields for Families (Hawthorne) agencies.

Another workshop in the Effective Black Parenting Program will be hosted by the Shields for Families agency the week of September 19-23, 2016 in the Long Beach area.

All of these workshops are being led by CICC’s National Trainers of Parenting Instructors. You can meet one of these National Trainers, Mr. Carl Shackelford, on the Videos/Photos page of the CICC website. He is seen leading the graduation of a prior Effective Black Parenting workshop in the Los Angeles area. Carl will be leading the September 19-23, 2016 Workshop in Long Beach, CA.

Carl Shackelford - EBP Graduation w_Text

Altogether the five workshops mentioned in this article will train a total of 85 new instructors. They in turn will be educating hundred of more parents to be more sensitive and effective in raising their children, and thereby helping to prevent the abuse of hundreds of children.

During these times when so many people are wondering whether Black and Brown lives matter, it is especially commendable that L.A. County’s DCFS has taken such important leadership in making all of this happen!

If your agency, department, school or religious organization would like to bring similar benefits to your area, CICC can arrange to conduct an instructor training workshop in your community during a week that is convenient for you.

To explore this possibility, please complete and return a Workshop Application Form.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 3C By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 3C: When Punishment and Corrective Consequences Don’t Work By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

You may be thinking right now of how you have repeatedly punished or corrected your children for certain things that they do, but somehow they keep right on doing those things anyway. How can that happen? I really don’t know the details as to what forms of punishment and correction you use and what behaviors you choose to punish, but I can offer you a few educated guesses.

First of all, there may be a good chance that your child will simply not get caught misbehaving. Children are usually very aware of what behaviors are likely to bring punishment, but they are also very aware of how likely they are to get caught at them. Of course, if they don’t get caught, they don’t get punished. It’s as simple as that.

“O.K.,” you may be saying, “but what about those things he does right under my nose? He knows I’ll notice it and punish him for it, but that doesn’t seem to stop him. How do you explain that?” That brings me to my second educated guess.

Certain behaviors may have both positive and negative consequences. If younger brother has been teasing older brother unmercifully all day long, older brother might suddenly find it very positive to land a few punches on him. Even though older brother knows you will punish his fighting, the sheer delight of revenging himself on his younger tormenter, as well as the benefits to his peace of mind for having brought that teasing to a halt, may be well worth the cost of enduring any corrective consequences his parents hand out to him. In other words, if a behavior continues to occur, despite the fact it is often and perhaps severely corrected, there are probably some powerful rewards serving to maintain that behavior.

Let’s look at yet another example of how this works. Little Darlene feels that she hasn’t been getting enough parental attention these days. She has tried hard to please her parents, but it seems that they just never notice when she is behaving appropriately. It won’t take her long, however, to figure out that misbehavior will get her all the parental attention she can handle. Since negative attention is often better than no attention at all, it won’t be surprising if Darlene soon becomes a consistent behavior problem. All this because no one took the time to reward her good behavior with positive forms of attention.

You see, kids want their parents to notice them, and, in the long run, most of them would rather be corrected than ignored altogether. Clinic files are filled with cases of children who simply wanted parental attention and resorted to unacceptable means to get it. Many parents don’t realize that they have the power to improve relationships with their children simply by effectively giving them attention.

With information from this Series of Articles, the next step is to be sure that you are giving children as much attention as possible in loving and consistent ways.

All of the Parent Training Programs that CICC offers show you numerous ways of conveying positive and consistant attention, all of which will reduce the need to use corrective consequences. The Programs also provide many ways of using corrective consequences which do not involve the use of physical force, i.e., non-violent corrective consequences.

CCP-EBP-LNBE Handbooks 3Across

Click here to learn more about and how to obtain the Instructor Kit of each Program or just the Parent Handbook of each Program.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 3B By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 3B: When a Positive Consequence Is Not Positive By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

One word of caution is in order before we leave the topic of positive consequences. One man’s meat may well be another man’s poison. Let’s take the case of the well-meaning but unliberated husband as an example. Lately, it seems that his wife has been getting up early on weekends to cook him up a scrumptious breakfast, and boy, does he like that behavior! Knowing full well that this behavior is more likely to continue if it’s rewarded, hubby figures that he’d better get on the stick and do something nice for his wife in return. So he decides to take her out to a hockey game. Bad choice – this is not a positive consequence to her: she hates hockey. A big hug and a kiss after breakfast not only would have been a bit more appropriate, but also would have gone a lot further toward inspiring his wife to keep on cooking those great breakfasts for him.

The Concept of Punishment and Corrective Consequences

John Doe has a plane to catch. Because he’s afraid he might be late, he decides to hurry. Tooling around the highway at well over 90 miles per hour, a number of interesting things can happen to John Doe.

He might make it to the airport in time to catch his flight. No problem. All is well. Driving too fast has produced the positive consequence of catching his flight.

The arresting officer might be in a pretty good mood. Nevertheless, the siren, the flashing red light, and the brief lecture on traffic safety scare the hell out of John Doe, and on top of everything he misses his plane. In this instance, driving too fast has not paid off; it’s been punished and corrected.

The arresting officer might have had a spat with his wife, and now he’s in an ugly mood. Consequently, John Doe ends up with a ticket and a court appointment before he can say, “But, Officer –“John will lose $125 and a day of work – and of course, he also misses his plane. Again, the behavior of driving too fast has been punished and corrected.

John Doe has a bone-jarring collision with a 6-ton truck. For sure, he will miss his plane and he’ll probably miss tomorrow as well. To say that his driving too fast has been punished and corrected in this instance would be an understatement.

We have just looked at four possible consequences for driving fast. The first was positive; the other three were punishing and negative. Such punishment and negativity are the opposites of positive consequences.

Whereas having a positive consequence follow a behavior makes it more likely to occur again, a behavior that is followed by a punishing, negative consequence is less likely to recur in the future, i.e., it is “corrected” in the sense of being less likely to happen again. Thus, punishments or negative consequences are considered to be corrective in nature.

Also, just as positive consequences come in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes, so to do corrective consequences. Our beleaguered John Doe was scared, scolded, delayed, fined, and physically injured for speeding. As a result, he will probably think twice before driving so fast again, at least in the immediate future.

Now think for a moment or two about some of the ways children receive a negative or corrective consequences for their misdeeds. Some are scolded; some are shook or spanked; some lose privileges; some forfeit their allowances; some are hollered at or berated; some are sent to their rooms. There is a multitude of ways to correct behavior, yet there is one common theme. Corrective consequences are intended to decrease the chances that the misbehavior will happen again.

The use of spanking and other physically punishing corrective consequences are special instances that deserve extensive consideration and discussion as they constitute physical violence against children. Such a discussion is contained in a prior series of articles on why We Must Stop Hitting Our Children!. Click here to find that series.

The next and last article in this current Series will deal with when punishment and corrective consequences do not work.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 3A By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 3A: Learning-Through-Consequences By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Behavior is also shaped by its consequences. This simple commonsense statement tells you a great deal of what you need to know about human behavior. What does it mean? Simply this: If you do something, be it going to a party, kissing your spouse, or even scratching your nose, whatever happens to you as a consequence (or result) of that behavior will determine how likely you will be to behave that way again in the future. There’s a great deal of scientific research backing up this statement, and understanding it is the key to understanding human behavior. Behavior is shaped by its consequences. Remember that: it’s important.

Pos & Neg Consequences

The Concept of Positive Consequences

Knowing that behavior is shaped by its consequences, we can now go one step further. If you behave a certain way and something good happens to you as a result, you will be more likely to do that same thing again. A trained porpoise, for example, knows that if he jumps through a hoop, his trainer will reward him with a fish dinner.

Sure, you probably wouldn’t jump through any hoops for just a mouthful of raw fish, but take a minute or two here to think about all the things you do in your daily life, and then see if you can figure out the various positive consequences you get which make doing those things worthwhile. We go to work, for example, because we get paid for that behavior. We ask a question, and the answer is our reward. We say nice things to people so they’ll like us. The list is virtually endless. Let’s take a closer look, however, at an example of how a child’s behavior is affected by positive consequences.

Michael is an eager-to-please four year old who has spent his entire afternoon working on a finger-painting to give to his dad when he comes home from work. When Dad rewards Michael’s effort with a big smile, a hug, or lots of praise, chances are that Michael not only feels pretty good about himself, but he’s already looking forward to making his dad more nice presents in the future. How long do you think Michael would continue to do nice things like this for his dad if all he got was a perfunctory “Oh, that’s nice” as his reward? Probably not too long. Once the positive consequences which serve to maintain a behavior stop coming in, that behavior is not likely to occur again. In short, if you want to see more of a particular behavior from someone, make sure that he feels he’s been amply rewarded for that behavior.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 2B By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 2B: The Five Modeling Effects By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Bandura further discovered that there are five types of effects that models can have on children, which showed that what can be learned from models not only includes new patterns of behavior, but also standards against which children can judge themselves and their abilities, their competencies in problem solving and conceptualization, and internal rules for creating behaviors. The five effects of models are:

1. Models Teach New Behavior

This is the modeling effect where children learn entirely new patterns of behaviors that were not previously part of their repertoire, such as learning how to dress themselves or how to ask questions in a polite manner, how to say unusual words like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” or how to hit a baseball.

2. Models Strengthen or Weaken the Use of Prohibited Behaviors

Here the actions of models serve to weaken or strengthen those behaviors that they already possess and which they have learned are prohibited, such as when a model’s use of swearing does not result in any adverse effects to the model and thereby weakens a child’s inhibition to swear. Another instance would be when a model is punished for some action, like speaking when they were supposed to be quiet, which increases the child’s own reluctance to engage in the same or similar actions. Another example would be a child observing an older sibling taking some money from the purse of their mother and thereby being less inhibited in doing so himself.

3. Models Encourage the Use of Already Learned Behaviors

Here the actions of the model serve as social prompts for previously learned behaviors that have not been inhibited but haven’t been used because of insufficient inducements. This prompting effect of models can facilitate children behaving altruistically, volunteering their services, delaying or seeking gratification, showing affection, selecting certain foods and apparel, conversing on particular topics, being inquisitive or passive, thinking creatively or conventionally, or engaging in other acceptable forms of action.

4. Models Change How Objects and Situations Are Used and Appreciated

In this type of influence, the behavior of models serves to direct the child’s attention to particular objects or settings that the model favors. Examples here would include where the aggressive model in the previously mentioned study drew the children’s attention to using a mallet to strike dolls, or when children observe parents eating in bed and get the idea that a bedroom can serve as a kitchen or dining room, and begin eating in their own beds.

5. Models Arouse Similar Feelings

This type of modeling effect takes place where the modeling of some action involves a display of or expression of emotion and the child reacts in similar emotional ways. An example would be seeing a parent cry when being spoken to harshly by someone else like another parent, and the child herself feeling sad and humiliated. Another example would be a child observing another model elated over receiving a gift, and feeling uplifted also.

In terms of what determines whether or not a child follows the examples of models, Bandura found that one of the most important determinants was what happens to the model for engaging in the behaviors. If the consequences to the model are positive, the model is more likely to be followed. If the consequences to the model are negative, then the model is less likely to be emulated. Similarly, if the consequences to the child for engaging in the behavior learned from models are positive or negative, these personal consequences also influence whether models are actually followed.

Another major determinant of whether the behavior of models will be copied or reproduced is the importance and status of the model in the eyes of the child. The more important the model is to the child, the more likely the child is to copy and be influenced by the model. This, of course, helps to explain why parents are such powerful models.

Thus, for better or worse, children learn a great deal from simply observing the actions of the significant models in their lives. What they observe sets the stage for much of what they actually do and say.

This type of learning can produce some of the greatest joys of parenthood when parents recognize their finer qualities being modeled and repeated by their children. It can also create some of the biggest challenges and problems of parenthood, as children repeat their parents less desirable qualities and habits.

Doing everything possible to model the qualities and behaviors that you want your children to develop and learn is the most profound implication of this type of learning. If you want your children to behave in a certain manner, behave that way yourself. Or, in other words, a good way to shape desirable child behavior is to be sure your behavior is in good shape.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 2A By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 2A: Dr. Bandura’s Work Regarding Modeling By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

The research and theory of Dr. Albert Bandura of Stanford University is most instructive. His conception of psychological modeling or observational learning is powerful and multi-dimensional. Drawing on his own research with children, Dr. Bandura has come to conclude that

“most human behavior is learned by observation through modeling. By observing others, one forms rules of behavior, and on future occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action. Because people can learn approximately what to do through modeling before they perform any behavior, they are spared the costs of faulty effort. The capacity to learn by observation enables people to expand their knowledge and skills on the basis of information exhibited and authored by others. Much social learning is fostered by observing the actual performances of others and the consequences for them.”


Bandura has noted that for observational learning to occur, the individual must attend to the behavior of a model, be able to retain the information that is observed, and both be able to reproduce the observed behavior and be motivated to do so.


In his classic modeling studies with children, Bandura and his co-workers demonstrated that children whose attention was riveted on adult models who engaged in very aggressive behavior, which the children themselves were quite capable of doing (hitting a large doll with a mallet, for example), clearly learned or retained the aggressive behavior simply by observing it.


Difference between Learning and Performing

However, and this is very important, how much of the aggressive behavior they actually engaged in themselves at a later time depended on what subsequently happened to the model and on what was in it for the children if they engaged in the behavior. If they observed that the model seemed to enjoy or get some reward for engaging in the behavior, and/or if the child received some personal reward from engaging in the model behavior, the child was much more likely to repeat or copy the behavior at a later time.

Learning vs Performance

By showing that different factors were involved in acquiring and engaging in modeled behavior, Bandura was able to demonstrate the difference between learning and performing modeled behavior. This important distinction should serve to alert parents to the likelihood that their children will repeat the behaviors they model if the parents themselves seem to get something out of it (enjoyment, relief, satisfaction, etc.) and that the behavior may be repeated far in the future. This type of knowledge can help parents realize the power of the examples they set, as well as the power of other models in their children’s environment (siblings, peers, teachers, etc.) to influence children’s behavior and functioning.

Why Children Behave the Way They Do: A Series of Articles To Better Educate All Parents By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 1: Introduction to Series by Kerby T. Alvy, Ph.D.

This series of 6 articles (1, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B and 3C) is intended to provide parents with a basic understanding of why their children act as they do. By having this understanding they are in a more knowledgeable position to help their children behave in ways that are consistent with their family values.

The series is based on the results of numerous scientific research studies from the fields of child development and learning theory.


These results, and the principles of learning that they reflect, apply to all parents and all children. They apply to parents and children from different cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds. They apply to the behavior of children of any age, from infancy through adolescence.

Thus, the ideas and information contained in these 6 articles are relevant to everyone who is involved in the awesome task of raising children, and to those committed and humanitarian people who choose to work with and help children and parents.

To parents themselves, these ideas and principles are likely to be new, assuming they have not been fortunate enough to have taken child development courses. To those who work with children and parents, who are likely to already have taken child development courses, these articles will probably serve as a summary review.

The articles are based on the powerful and simple notion that children learn a great deal through two very important and interrelated processes, Learning-Through-Modeling-the-Behavior-of-Other-People (Articles 2A and 2B) and Learning-Through-The-Consequences-of-Their-Own-Behavior (Articles 3A, 3B and 3C). Each article elaborates on these processes to provide in total a fairly comprehensive appreciation of what every parent should know.