Is Spanking Detrimental to Children? YES: Murray A. Straus NO: Robert E. Larzelere Definition of Spanking Non-abusive, physical punishment In most research : 2 slaps to child’s rear end Research claims: Used in 3/4 of world’s societies Most common form of physical punishment in the U.S. Accepted part of American culture belief that spanking works when all else fails legal in all U.S. states 84% of Americans believe it is sometimes necessary almost 100% of parents with toddlers hit their children More acceptable when child violates moral rule as opposed to a social convention Most likely to occur at home, usually with other people present Agreement that psychological punishment and abusive punishment are wrong, but unwilling to make similar statement about hitting or spanking. Illegal in 5 countries Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland Close to being prohibited in Germany, UK, Canada, and Bolivia Child Abuse rates still high Debate: Is spanking an effective form of discipline? Short-term effects Is it causing violence or other psychological problems? Long-term effects -- modeling Are studies sufficient in studying effects of spanking? Should spanking be prohibited in the U.S.? YES: Spanking and the Making of a Violent Society Straus claims that spanking: teaches children violence leads to a more violent adult a society that accepts spanking will be violent shows children that it’s OK to hit others to solve problems weakens the bond between parent and child Evidence The article looked at two types of studies: cross-cultural: corporal punishment increases the probability of societal violence individual: more corporal punishment, the greater the probability of the child: • being a delinquent • having anger • assaulting others also a greater probability of physical assault on the spouse Ten Myths that Perpetuate Corporal Punishment 1. Spanking works better 2. Spanking is needed as a last resort 3. Spanking is harmless 4. One or two times won’t cause damage 5. Parents can’t stop without training 6. If you don’t spank, your children will be spoiled or run wild 7. Parents spank rarely or only for serious problems 8. By the time a child is a teenager, parents have stopped 9. If parents don’t spank, they will verbally abuse their child 10. It is unrealistic to expect parents to never spank Conclusion However, due to lack of direct evidence and problems with causality, it cannot be concluded that corporal punishment causes societal violence article states that non-spanking alone won’t produce a non-violent adult, there must be: high level of attention to child’s needs and safety positive rather than punitive modes of dealing with misbehavior NO: A Review of the Outcomes of Parental Use of Nonabusive or Customary Physical Punishment Many studies that find detrimental outcomes are cross-sectional and do not effectively distinguish the differences between physical/abusive punishment and nonabusive/customary punishment. These studies also have methodological flaws such as studying populations that are already at risk or are already prone to be violent. Overall parenting style, rather than the use of spanking, determines an individual child’s initiative. Relevant Studies All six of the clinical Those studies that treatment studies and excluded abuse from both of the sequential their measures of studies showed physical punishment predominantly were more likely to find beneficial outcomes. beneficial outcomes. 70% of the prospective (55%) studies found neutral outcomes. Conclusion How the parents use discipline tactics is more important than the actual punishment. Spanking is no more harmful, if not less harmful, than verbal putdowns. Discussion Have you witnessed another child being spanked? How did you react? What were your opinions about its use? Did it seem to be effective? What disciplinary techniques did your parents use? Which were most effective? How do you plan on disciplining your own children? Can spanking ever be effective and not harmful in parenting? How does overall parenting style interact with use of spanking?
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