Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Provoke not your children to anger..."

I have never been a parent — although I was once a child. I do recall both paddlings [the paddle was kept on top of the refrigerator - hiding it didn't work] and "time-outs" when I was young — don't recall just when they ended, but it was well before adolescence. I doubt that was what warped my personality. Mollie Hemingway writes about a recent study of spanking in "Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card?":
...[A]t some point in the past century, child-rearing books began discouraging spanking and encouraging such new proverbs as "let's all take a 'timeout' so that our anger might melt away, leading to fruitful conversation, peace and harmony in the home."

Some parents have taken the advice to such an extreme that they're hesitant to impose any consequences at all on their children. ....

Those parents who still use physical discipline keep it on the down-low. That's not just because spanking is no longer politically correct but because some lawmakers are attempting to ban even the most benign swat. .... Antispanking advocates say that physical discipline isn't just immoral but also detrimental to a child's long-term adjustment.

Yet a new study by Calvin College's Marjorie Gunnoe found no evidence to support the claim. In fact, it found that those adolescents who were spanked as young children actually ended up having a sunnier outlook and were better students than those who were never spanked.

Compared with those who had never experienced physical discipline, those who endured parental swats between the ages of 2 and 6 were much more likely to report positive academic records and optimism about their future. Even those who received their last spanking between the ages of 7 and 11 reported that they volunteered more, compared with those who had never been spanked. In fact, the never-spanked group never scored the best on any of the 11 behavioral variables analyzed. ....

.... The group that had the worst overall social adjustment was made up of children who were spanked into their teenage years. .... [more]
I wonder whether the alternatives to a whack on the behind — haranguing, yelling, sarcasm, negative character evaluations, guilt-inducing, and, of course, permissiveness — don't have much worse effect on a child than a simple spanking by a loving parent ever could.

Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card? - WSJ.com