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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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  • durk11 By durk11
    07.09.08  

    In those studies, did anyone ever consider the fact that the reason the kids were getting spanked was because it's their personality or 'disposition' to misbehave or not follow the rules.... and that carries over in every other spect of their life. Hence the 'whole sex before marriage thing'. In these studies, were the children given a psychological exam first? I think it's a bunch of rubish. you can't let kids walk all over you. I only reserve my spanking for my kids (ages 4 & 7) when time-outs and reasoning don't work. I haven't spanked my daughter in over a year. She has learned that if she pushes my buttons, she will get a swat on the rear. Although I do agree that there is a fine line between discipline and abuse... parents should start discipling BEFORE they lose their cool.

  • photogator By photogator
    07.14.08  

    I agree with durk11...this study (as any study) has some holes that are not quite filled in, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    However, I was occasionally spanked as a child, but only when I did something really, really bad. My parents preferred to punish by timeouts or restricting privileges. Spanking was a last resort, and it was their way of letting me know that I really crossed a line. I have to say, I never repeated those mistakes again!

    I'm not sure how I will respond to my own children (as I don't have any now) but I will probably go the same way as my parents...trying to use any other punishment, but when warranted, I don't think spanking is out of the question.

  • adgiggle By adgiggle
    07.21.08  

    I was spanked as a child,I am not a sexual deviant.I have one partner and we have been together for 7 going on 8 years and for the first few years we were together we used condoms until we wanted a child and now we use them again.I do not think spanking your child/children leads to sexual deviancy.I do believe abuse leads to many different problems,but simply spanking does not.I also believe not punishing your child/children at all is more dangerous to them and could lead to drug abuse,alcohol abuse,and unprotected sex with multiple partners.because they think they can do what ever they want and there is no consequence.The "God complex"they feel as though they are invisible.

  • MBenita By MBenita
    07.23.08  

    Geez. I'd really like to meet the people behind some of these "studies" and see what their kids are really like via a hidden camera. Not only were we spanked, we didn't threaten to call the cops nor were there "time outs" and all the screaming at parents and that crap. Take your behind to your room until you apologize and get your act together! Super Nanny didn't come into the household because it was under control!

  • Salemsw By Salemsw
    07.27.08  

    I have to say I agree with the last post.(Mbenita)I remember the eye my father would give us growing up and that alone would stop you in your tracks.

  • firecracker By firecracker
    07.31.08  

    I agree. My mom just had to give me the look and I knew I better staighten up. I do not agree with spanking but I do feel parents need to make sure kids know who is boss.

  • ChelleB By ChelleB
    08.06.08  

    I was spanked until I was 10 years old and I was definitely NOT sexually active at an early age. I actually didn't even date in high school and had my first boyfriend when I was 21. I think the findings of this study can hold true for some people, but not for all. My mother stopped spanking me at 10 years old because she felt it was around that age that she could talk to me and easily explain in detail the reasons for why I shouldn't do certain things and that I would understand.

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