There has been much debate around this topic and a lot has been said. Some of the arguments against spanking have been:- It causes violence in children.- It ingrains in them a link between love and abuse- It decreases a child's IQ- It causes serious psychological damage in the child.
Their are numerous problems with these allegations, not least of which is that almost all of the amazing, respectful, balanced, intelligent, and selfless people I know were spanked growing up. I'm not talking about out-of-control excessive beating; but a measured, controlled and calm spank as one of the many forms of discipline employed in a loving approving family environment. The implications of the above claims of the anti-spankers is that all people that were spanked (which is almost everyone over 30) should be suffering from low IQ, psychological damage, aggressive violent behavior, etc...but in reality, the opposite is true.
The problem with many of the anti-spanking studies is that their test pool contains people that were kicked, punched, excessively beaten, etc (which most spanking parents would be against) together with people that were appropriately spanked. So their test pool was flawed in the very beginning producing flawed results. When we look at the studies that decoupled legitimate cases of abuse from people that were appropriately spanked, the results and findings are completely different and heavily support appropriately used spanking. Unfortunately, anti-spankers struggle to see the difference between vengeful out of control beating of a child and loving controlled and measured spanking on occasion where necessary.
Let's take a look at a few of the peer-reviewed published social scientific studies that have been performed in this area of discipline where obvious abuse was decoupled from what most parents would consider appropriate spanking:
1) A study entailing 2,600 interviews pertaining to corporal punishment, including the questioning of 179 teenagers about getting spanked and smacked by their parents, was conducted by Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Gunnoe’s findings, announced this week: “The claims made for not spanking children fail to hold up. They are not consistent with the data.”
Those who were physically disciplined performed better than those who weren’t in a whole series of categories, including school grades, an optimistic outlook on life, the willingness to perform volunteer work, and the ambition to attend college, Gunnoe found. And they performed no worse than those who weren’t spanked in areas like early sexual activity, getting into fights, and becoming depressed. She found little difference between the sexes or races.
2) Gunnoe’s findings are being largely ignored by the U.S. media, but made a splash in British newspapers. It is not the first time her work has been bypassed by the press. Her 1997 work showing that customary spanking reduced aggression also went largely unreported.
Nor is she alone in her conclusions. Dr. Diana Baumrind of the University of California, Berkeley and her teams of professional researchers over a decade conducted what is considered the most extensive and methodologically thorough child development study yet done. They examined 164 families, tracking their children from age four to 14. Baumrind found that spanking can be helpful in certain contexts and discovered “no evidence for unique detrimental effects of normative physical punishment.”
She also found that children who were never spanked tended to have behavioral problems, and were not more competent than their peers.
3) Another study published in the Akron Law Review last year examined criminal records and found that children raised where a legal ban on parental corporal punishment is in effect are much more likely to be involved in crime.A key focus of the work of Jason M. Fuller of the University of Akron Law School was Sweden, which 30 years ago became the first nation to impose a complete ban on physical discipline and is in many respects “an ideal laboratory to study spanking bans,” according to Fuller.
Since the spanking ban, child abuse rates in Sweden have exploded over 500 percent, according to police reports. Even just one year after the ban took effect, and after a massive government public education campaign, Fuller found that “not only were Swedish parents resorting to pushing, grabbing, and shoving more than U.S. parents, but they were also beating their children twice as often.”
After a decade of the ban, “rates of physical child abuse in Sweden had risen to three times the U.S. rate” and “from 1979 to 1994, Swedish children under seven endured an almost six-fold increase in physical abuse,” Fuller’s analysis revealed.
“Enlightened” parenting also seems to have produced increased violence later. “Swedish teen violence skyrocketed in the early 1990s, when children that had grown up entirely under the spanking ban first became teenagers,” Fuller noted. “Preadolescents and teenagers under fifteen started becoming even more violent toward their peers. By 1994, the number of youth criminal assaults had increased by six times the 1984 rate.”
Since Sweden, dozens of countries have banned parental corporal punishment, like Germany, Italy, and in 2007 New Zealand, where using force to correct children entails full criminal penalties, and where a mother cannot even legally take her child’s hand to bring him where he refuses to go.
4) Contrary to popular belief, the pediatrician and leftist political activist Dr. Benjamin Spock did not popularize parental leniency. In early editions of his famously bestselling book, “Baby and Child Care,” Spock did not rule out spanking, (although he did later); on the contrary, Spock called for “clarity and consistency of the parents’ leadership,” considered kindness and devotion to be a necessity for parents who spank, and believed that the inability to be firm was “the commonest problem of parents in America.”Spock’s 21st century disciples, however, depart from his original precepts.
DrSpock.com, which “embodies the strength and identity of world-renowned pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, providing parents with the latest expert content from today's leading authorities in parenting,” and embraces Dr. Spock’s “philosophy and vision,” declares that “Punishment is not the key to discipline."
(Theodore Kettle) As in climate change, politicians all over the world seem out of touch with the most rigorous science regarding parental discipline. The newest research could constitute powerful ammunition to parents rights activists seeking to reverse the global trend of intrusive governments muscling themselves between the rod and the child.
All decent parents (spanking or non-spanking) are anti-abuse and want legitimate abuse eradicated from society. But the answer is not producing a nanny state where the government infiltrates and invades healthy happy families and imposes their preferences on parents. Even more scary is that, we can be sure that it won't stop there. If government can dictate to parents in this area, what will come next. We'll end up with a situation where the values or preferences of government officials are being imposed and forced on good parents leading to the breakdown of the most precious thing in society; the family unit.
Many of the studies above were referenced from Newsmax.
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