This Just In! Spanking Works!
By Laura Fogerty
Before you decide not to read this latest bit on spanking, consider that I am planning to see things from a different perspective than I usually do. Today, and just for today, I am going to argue on the “pro” spanking side. Spanking teaches valuable lessons. Spanking works. That is all I can come up with for the “pro” column, so here goes!
Spanking teaches valuable lessons. Yes, true, it does! It teaches that violence and love are inextricably connected. It teaches that the bigger, stronger person gets his way. It teaches that the people who love you are allowed to hit you. It teaches that sometimes, the people you trust will hurt you. But wait, these points seem more in the “con” column than the “pro.” Sorry. It’s all there is for lessons learned from being spanked, but hold on! We still have the fact that spanking works!
Spanking works. In the short term, true fact. Most of us will stop doing what we are doing if someone hits us. So, yes, in that regard, spanking works. But what about the long term? To better understand the effects of spanking we should consider the long term and short term effects of giving into a tantrum. When we yield to the screaming, flailing, tantrum throwing child in the grocery checkout line and give her the candy, it works. The screaming stops. The crying stops and the tantrum is over. Until the next time. We all know, the more we give into tantrums, the more they recur. In the same way, when we spank our children, it does work, for the moment, but what doesn’t work about spanking is long term success. Spanking puts an end to the undesirable behavior, but only in the here and now. Children who stop the undesirable behavior when spanked outgrow this method of “discipline” in time and haven’t really learned how to control behavior as much as they have learned to avoid punishment
Researchers have found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. By spanking our children, we put them at higher risk for a host of psychological, physical and societal issues. Ninety percent of American parents spank, and as a nation we have the highest incidence of incarceration per capita in the world. Norway, on the other hand, abolished spanking in 1987 and has the lowest crime rate on the planet.
Yes, spanking does work and spanking does teach lessons, but maybe not in the ways we intended or hoped
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!
Laura has an ACE score of 6.