SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Parenting Without A Paddle

SS Member Image By drodriguez 05.14.08
Parenting Without A Paddle
Share Tweet

One of the most heated debates among parents today is the idea of spanking a child as a way of disciplining them. Some do it because it is what was done to them and some don’t do it for that very same reason.

A recent article by Claudia Kalb in Newsweek tackles the debate with new evidence that spanking children may lead to problems down the road. Kalb cites a research paper written by co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire’s Murray Strauss.

Strauss asserts that spanking kids increases risks of sexual problems as adults. One statistic says that 25 percent of college students whose parents used corporal punishment were more likely to have unprotected sex. This statistic is reduced by half in students who were rarely or never spanked. Strauss reported to Newsweek concerning these numbers by saying, “It’s consistent with so many other studies showing harmful side effects.”

One human development researcher that disagrees with Strauss’s study is Robert Larzlere. He believes that “conditional” or “back-up” spanking of children ages 2 to 6 can be helpful. Larzlere warns that the spanking must be nonabusive (a couple of open-hand swats from a calm parent) and must be used as a back-up to things like timeouts and reasoning. Larzlere believes the key to using spanking as a disciplinary method is for parents to be able to discriminate between “inappropriate and appropriate use.”

Researcher Elizabeth Gershoff on the other hand is in agreement with Strauss’s latest study. Gershoff has been studying side effects of spanking in children for quite some times and states, “The more children are spanked, the more aggressive they are and the more likely they are to engage in delinquent or at-risk behavior.” Gershoff believes the side effects go beyond those of a sexual nature saying that children learn from being spanked that a person must use aggression to get their way.

What do you think of the latest research that spanking can have problematic side effects later in life?

Make a Comment

Comment  *
  • Aloyse77 By Aloyse77

    Sexual problems are only from a person searching for their pleasure. You can not blame a spanking for someones issues as an adult. Its just an excusse for your bad behavior, once you realize you made bad choices. It's your life you pick how you will live! Think before you act, the results are all YOUR!

  • marylsmith88 By marylsmith88

    **we were raised to not think that sex should be reserved for marriage

    sorry for the typo! :)

  • marylsmith88 By marylsmith88

    Our generation has been raised that sex is not something that should be honored and should only happen in marriage. From what is on tv to easily accessible birth control pills, unprotected sex is more common than most people will admit.

    Unprotected sex rates aren't affected because a child was spanked. It's because birth control pills allow for people to have unprotected sex without worrying about pregnancies.

    Theories are great, but most people use theories to blame everyone but the real culprit.

  • Lusadi By Lusadi

    The problem with any psychological study is that the field as a whole is based in theory and not in fact. They 'think' this could be the cause, but there is rarely solid factual proof to back it up. It has a history of defending the popular view and ignoring the actual.

  • ladyporsche911 By ladyporsche911

    Waaa! Waaa! Sorry, but I don't subscribe to the theory of spanking causes unprotected sex at an early age or obesity! I was spanked rather harshly when I was young and smacked in the face but it didn't cause promiscuity or ignorance nor obesity. It is far too easy to pin the blame on whatever is popular at the moment. I have 3 kids, the only things I vowed never to do was spank when I was angry and face slap. They have turned out fine, okay the last one is still in process (she's 4)! The other 2 are 21 and 26 and as I said are fine. I dare say the so called experts have no children and if they did then they would et just as baffled as the rest of us parents! I am not saying beat the snot out of them, but the occassional whack on the bottom is not going to scar them for life. But on the other hand....opinions are like a..holes, everyone has one!

  • thershey By thershey

    I think that a swat is sometimes neccessary,for the benefit of the young child .

  • cometgirl By cometgirl

    how valid is this study? Is it retrospective????? The majority of us who've commented have been spanked, myself included and have had no issues or emotional scarring. I have 3 boys and while I try to talk to them when they're misbehaving and use timeouts, sometimes a swat to the rear when appropriate works better. Psychologists (?) are figuring out how damaging our childhoods have been and now with a society of no spanking at all, look at all the disrespect...not in a million years as a child would I call an adult by their first children rarely use Mr. or Mrs. anymore..more violent..etc...yep, they are not spanked and more disrespectful than ever - I'm not advocating we change back to a society of spanking, just that it does have some merit when discretion is used.

  • Karmacidal By Karmacidal

    Correlation does not equal causation. That being said, anything done in an inappropriate or to excess will cause harm, be it reward or punishment.

    Firm, consistent discipline is necessary to child development and a loving parent that swats their child calmly to reinforce a rule or get their undivided attention is doing their child a favor.

    Learning that some actions have unpleasant consequences is crucial to being a responsible adult.

  • rmhartsell By rmhartsell

    As apart of the "younger generation," ( I am a 24 year old working mom) I can see the difference between people my age who were spanked as children and others who were not.

    The disipline that parents give affects the child's whole outlook on authority for their whole lives! If a child is wrong, then they need to be reminded that there is an authority that NOTICES AND CARES. Without that guiding authority, kids run around unchecked, wild, and undisciplined.

    Now, as an education administrator, I see young adults in graduate school who think (1) nothing is there fault. (2) everyone in authority is "trying to keep them down." and (3) take no personal accountability whatsoever when they do something wrong.

    It has to start somewhere people! If you love your kids, teach them a healthy respect for authority. And if it takes a swat on the rear, then so be it.


    My oldest is 26 and my youngest is 7 (total of 7 children). I never beat my older kids but they got swats on the bottoms for things that could really hurt them, like playing with outlets or running away from me in a parking lot ect. Since all these "laws and Child research" I must say my younger children have never really been spanked. I was afraid DHS or someone would come if I did. My last three children ages 7, 13 and 15 are more out of controle than their older siblings. They are more sassy and not as respectful to their elders. They seem to be more testing on the limits that are set for them and don't get along together as well as the older 4. My Parents say its just the "times of the world." I say it has a little to do with the way they have been diciplined, too. As for the verse from the Bible Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child. I have always been taught and when I read it as it tells me; If I "SPARE" the rod I will "SPOIL" my child. A spoiled child is not a good thing.

More stories like this