Parenting Without A Paddle

   By drodriguez  May 14, 2008

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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Mizzes by Mizzes | Marietta, GA
May 19, 2008

I agree, I wasn't promicsuous and have sexual issues as an adult and was spanked A LOT.

I think it's funny how they have "new evidence" on spanking...

Who are they actually interviewing? The demographics and all?

Nowadays, the kids need it because this non-spanking, non-discipline of the kids-that's why there behavior is awful now!

You didn't hear or see bad kids like you do these days because we knew if we acted out, there was a spanking waiting for us when we got home.

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Lusadi by Lusadi | Wasilla, AK
May 18, 2008

I think spanking, done appropriately, has its place in the discipline toolbox. It should not be the answer every time. The most effective punishment is the one that the child is going to remember the next time they go to commit the same offense.

doublejs513127 by doublejs513127 | Lexington, NE
May 15, 2008

I have to say that I agree with spanking your child if done in the appropriate way. I was spanked as a child and I have not had any sexual issues nor have I been abusive as an adult!! I wish sometimes that things would just go back to the ways and the days of when we were children and when our parents were children. Things seemed so much easier then and parents could actually raise their children to be respectful adults without the fear of someone stepping in and yelling CHILD ABUSE because a child got swatted on the hind end for something they did wrong. My children are now 17 and 14 and both of them as small boys got swatted on the hind part when needed. And now both of them have turned out to be respectful, they have good manners, and are very happy.

kirstensapphire by kirstensapphire | Fremont, CA
May 15, 2008

I was spanked a lot when I was young child, but I never turned out promiscuous or abusive. As a matter of fact I'm chaste and rather conservative. I really do not think spanking children leads to sexual or abuse problems as adults. I'am walking proof of that!

pastorchuckieswife by pastorchuckieswife | Corsicana, TX
May 15, 2008

Thats whats wrong with our world now, no reaction to what kids do. Sure kid do whatever you want, I as your parent have no rights to raise you with an discipline. "Spare the rod spoil the child." So lets just lay down and let the schools, and the government raise our kids huh! I was spanked as a child and I did not have sex before marriage! Spanking is not the answer to everything but come on people wake up if you can't disipline your kids why have them? How are they going to learn without boundaries? Can you go to work whenever you want and keep your job? Conseqences are a part of life!

Vanners by Vanners | SHERMAN OAKS, CA
May 14, 2008

I think it is how you spank a child. I have two younger brothers. When one of us got in trouble - all three got into trouble. It helped to reinforce the idea that the accountability of each other's actions. (if that made sense) We kept each other in check to avoid getting into trouble. My parents would make us lay down on the floor and spank with the handle of the duster. Yea it hurt. Yes it was painful. No I wouldn't recommend it, but my parents were by no means abusive. Most of the time it would only be a swing or two, usually because they would ask a question and we didn't answer. A little like getting pulled over by the highway patrol: "license & registration please - do you know why I pulled you over?" I don't think the officer would like it if you just stared at him/her blankly. I think there are many parents out there who don't know the proper way of raising kids, spoil them too much and expect miracle changes and perhaps due to personal chaos - take it out on the children through abuse. I don't have children of my own (yet) but I do have many friends who do have children. I do believe that time-outs work, but I don't believe that spanking is awful or causes "risks of sexual problems" as the article states. I graduated high school a whole year early. Graduated from college with a bachelors and so did my brother. The baby of the family now 20, didn't get it as much as me and my other sibling, but we all turned out "not too shabby" I would have to say. No one is perfect. I think there HAS to be communication and balance. Don't just go swinging your palm or fist or the handle of a duster. There's a fine line between spanking and abuse... and I think many people don't know it, so they cross it.

covergrl77 by covergrl77 | Hamilton, NJ
May 14, 2008

I agree that a swat or hand smack to reinforce for a 2-6 year old is helpful but beyond that I don't think spanking is the answer to anything. It encourages aggressive behavior of the parent and child. Parents need to remain calm and in control as much as possible.