Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More research indicating that spanking is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea

So maybe don't do it? Okay thanks.

Spanking Negatively Influences Children’s Cognitive Development, Columbia Researchers Find 
The researchers found that spanking remains a common experience for American children. Half of mothers said they spanked their child at age 5, as did one third of fathers. 
So SPARE ME this crap:
(except maybe the world will be run by kids who were never spanked,
BECAUSE THE KIDS WHO WEREN'T SPANKED WILL BE THE SMART ONES
you know, running the world)


The study went on to drop these truth bombs:
One of the study's key findings was that children who were spanked frequently by their fathers at age 5 went on to have lower vocabulary scores at age 9, even after controlling for an array of other risk factors and earlier vocabulary. Lead author Michael MacKenzie noted: “This is an important finding, because few studies in this area have examined effects on cognitive development.”
In addition, children who were spanked at age 5 went on to have higher levels of acting-out behavior problems at age 9, again even after controlling for other risk factors and earlier development.
And before you start saying, but of course they were! Because correlation or something!
 In their analysis, the researchers controlled for an extensive set of factors that might also influence spanking and children’s development, including other risk factors (late prenatal care, risky health behavior, intimate partner violence, and father supportiveness during pregnancy, maternal IQ, parenting stress, depression or anxiety, and impulsivity, and mothers’ cognitively stimulating activities with the child), as well as factors related to the child and family background (maternal age, race/ethnicity, immigration status, educational attainment, employment status, and family structure growing up; family structure and income; and child gender, age, low birth weight, birth order, and temperament). Taking advantage of the longitudinal data in the FFS, the researchers also controlled for children’s prior levels of behavior or development. 
NYT's Well Blog did a feature on it where they interviewed the study author. He pointed out that by hitting your kid, you're not teaching them for the long-term. You're being misled by the short-term effect that hurting your kid has. So enjoy that feel-good rush you get from hurting your kid, I guess?
Spare the rod and spoil the child? A new study suggests that the opposite may be true: spanking could increase the risk of bad behavior. 
“Spanking does make the kid stop,” said the lead author, Michael J. MacKenzie, an associate professor at the Columbia School of Social Work. “It gives the immediate feedback [to the parent] that it’s working. But the goal is to have kids regulate themselves over time. And in that, spanking fails.”
I know I'm being a little snarky. And I'm sorry if I'm hurting your feelings because you spank your kids and you think you are a super parent. Because maybe you are. So let me turn down the snark and put it this way. When you hit your kids you are teaching them that it is okay for someone to hurt them. You are teaching your kids that someone they trust is allowed to hurt and humiliate them. Are you comfortable sending them out into the world with that kind of understanding of the people and themselves? Does that sound okay to you?

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