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Child Discipline Expert, Joan Durrant to Address Positive Parenting at ODU

By Noell Saunders

In collaboration with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is observed in April, Old Dominion University's In Support of Children organization is hosting a free public event to address positive parenting with child discipline expert, Joan Durrant on Tuesday, April 4.

The event will take place in Kaufman Hall, room 224 from 7- 8:30p.m.

Durrant is a professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba in Canada. Her research focuses on preventing child maltreatment and public education. At the event, Durrant will discuss an approach to discipline that strengthens relationships while helping children learn.

"Every time we slap, spank or hit children, we lose an opportunity to teach them how to deal with frustration in a constructive way," Durrant said. "If we want children to be skilled in problem solving, good at resolving conflict and able to take other people's perspectives, we need to show them how to do this."

After taking numerous trips to Sweden over the years, the first country to ban physical punishment of children, Durrant incorporated Swedish approaches to parenting in her research. In collaboration with international organization Save the Children, she developed a program called, Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting that is being used in more than 30 countries.

In 2013, Durrant was named one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women and has received several awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award.

"This presentation is for parents and those who plan to be parents. It's also for anyone who works with them or wants to pursue a childcare field," said Lucien Lombardo, In Support of Children's co-faculty advisor.

In Support of Children, commonly referred to as ISOC, is a student organization that was formed in January of 1992 by former ODU sociology and criminal justice professor Karen A. Polonko and students in her child welfare class. Polonko passed away last year after a long battle with cancer but her legacy lives on as the organization, composed of faculty, students and staff, continues it's commitment to end all forms of violence against children.

ISOC holds annual vigils to remember victims of child abuse. The organization created the motto "It's never OK to hit a child," which has spread worldwide.

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