For starters, the exit polls were wrong. Found that parents who stopped using cp often were influenced by external sanctioning that suggested use of cp was wrong. Five focus groups were conducted with parents (n=18) from a community at particularly high risk for using cp (black, low socioeconomic status, southern) in order to investigate their perceptions about why cp use is so common. Four categories encompassed the various ways in which parents viewed the instrumentality of cp; namely, they felt: 1) it was an expression of love not harm, 2) it worked to promote child safety and respect, 3) it worked when nothing else worked, and 4) it was essential for teaching important long-term lessons relevant for being out in the world. Family and community practitioners know that it is essential to begin where the family or community is at; in other words, know the values, hopes, and challenges of the families and communities in question. One unique comment came from a mother who felt that single mothers might be more inclined to use cp on a child that resembles the child’s father, especially when the mother no longer has a positive relationship with the father.
Participants were recruited in the spring and fall of 2008 through an early head start/head start community center that serves low-income families in a southern city; 94% of those served were from female-headed households. ) were used to analyze the five focus group transcripts with atlas.