Spanking lowers IQ?

If parents want to have smart children they can start by not spanking them, according to new US research.

Children who are spanked have lower IQs than children who don't receive corporal punishment, say researchers who presented a study at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego earlier this month.

In a study of 806 children from nationally representative samples of groups aged 2 to 4 and 704 children aged 5 to 9, the younger children who were not spanked scored five points higher than their peers who had been spanked. The children in the 5-9 year old group who were not subjected to physical punishment had IQ scores 2.8 points higher, according to the research.

"How often parents spanked made a difference. The more spanking the slower the development of the child's mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference," said Murray Straus, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and co-author of the study, in a news release.

The researchers attributed the link between lower IQs and spanking to the fact that physical punishment is a chronic stressor that affects the brain adversely in young children (who experience it more than three times a week), and if it continues for years, can show up in post-traumatic stress symptoms, fears of impending catastrophes and being easily startled -- symptoms also associated with lower cognitive functioning.

Parents in higher income brackets and educational levels and with a higher average IQ are also less likely to spank, the researchers said.
According to statistics, however, the use of corporal punishment is decreasing worldwide.

Do you agree that spanking is bad for your child?

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