I was spanked as a child, mostly for running away and for disobeying my parents. My brother got spanked for kneeing a classmate in the balls and trying to off me every couple months. I’m pretty well-adjusted, always did well in school despite my efforts to appear “punk rock,” and I certainly never thought ill of my parents for introducing me to the long arm of the law. I still meet people who I think could’ve benefited from a good (not sexy) spanking once in a while. And turns out, I’m right. A new study shows that children who are smacked by their parents might grow up to be happier and more successful than those who’ve never been hit. Children who are physically punished until the age of 6 perform better in school as teenagers and are more likely to do volunteer work and go to college. That said, those who got whipped into adolescence developed behavioral problems. [Times Online] While children’s groups have been trying to have physical obedience outlawed, professor of psychology Marjorie Gunnoe says, “The claims made for not spanking children fail to hold up. They are not consistent with the data. I think of spanking as a dangerous tool, but there are times when there is a job big enough for a dangerous tool.”
Apparently, it was hard to research physical discipline in the past since nearly everyone got spanked, but Gunnoe conducted the study of 2,600 people where a quarter of the subjects had never been reprimanded physically. The study showed that those smacked until the age of 6 performed slightly better on every positive measure—including academic performance and optimism for the future—and no worse on the negative measures like antisocial behavior, early sexual activity, violence, and depression. Those who were still being smacked from ages 7-11 performed slightly worse on the negative measures but were still likely to perform better academically. Now Gunnoe’s trying to figure out why she got these results and suggests that maybe parents who ruled out physical discipline didn’t encourage self-discipline or the social skills needed to succeed.
Were you spanked, smacked, rulered, or left ungrazed? As a product of disciplining, I believe that the hand print on my butt did serve as a reminder to be more careful and respectful. How’d you guys turn out?