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Parenting Without A Paddle

Parenting Without A Paddle

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?

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  • cometgirl By cometgirl
    06.05.08  

    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 name..today 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.

  • thershey By thershey
    06.05.08  

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

  • ladyporsche911 By ladyporsche911
    06.06.08  

    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!

  • Lusadi By Lusadi
    06.07.08  

    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.

  • marylsmith88 By marylsmith88
    06.08.08  

    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.

  • marylsmith88 By marylsmith88
    06.08.08  

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

    sorry for the typo! :)

  • Aloyse77 By Aloyse77
    06.18.08  

    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!

  • Aloyse77 By Aloyse77
    06.18.08  

    ***ALL YOURS***

  • interested By interested
    06.19.08  

    Most of the "many other studies" Straus cites is seriously flawed. As with most other things, especially behavioral issues, the who how and why of corporal punishment really makes a difference. Most studies ignore those distinctions - in fact, they pretend that there is no difference between constant, objectively physically damaging (ie causing measurable injuries) corporal punishment, which is abusive by any sane standard and occasional spanking. When you see a researcher say about a home where there is the occasional spanking that there is an "atmosphere f violence" you know that you are dealing with someone who has no clue.

    On the other hand, anyone who thinks that a parent (or teacher) cannot be abusive without ever hitting a kid is also totally clueless. Oddly enough, many f the same researchers talk about it, but doing their "research" on corporal punishment totally ignore the issue and it's impact.

  • eastnashvillenative By eastnashvillenative
    07.08.08  

    I believe that spanking can be a very effective tool. Growing up, the knowledge that I may be spanked made me stop and think twice about my actions. If my only punishment had been to sit in time out and daydream for a few minutes I really don't think that would have had the same effect. I work in a school office and it's absolutely sickening to hear the way kids talk to their parents and teachers. The same ones get in trouble day after day and will look adults in the face and say they know nothing's going to happen to them because all they have to do is call Dept. of Human Services and request an investigation. In school suspension is a free day in a quiet classroom and out of school suspension is a day to sleep late, play video games and roam the streets because Mom/Dad/Granny/Aunt can't take a day off work because they have bills to pay.

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