By Adrienne Moore

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — To spank, or not to spank?

It’s an issue that’s long plagued parents, but new research being called the most comprehensive analysis on spanking says it doesn’t work.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan looked at 75 studies involving more than 150,000 children over 50 years. They found that children who were spanked were more likely to defy their parents.

Family discussions about discipline can often leave a house divided.

“We talk to them, we try to figure out this is what we need to do and this is what we should do. We don’t do the whole spanking thing,” said Jennifer Jarvis.

She says just talking about it is enough to bring her daughter to tears.

“I’m not even mad or angry and look, she’s about to cry,” she said.

Other families believe it can be an effective punishment technique. With seven kids, Carolyn Tevis’ mother was often alone and outnumbered.

“She would always say ‘wait till your daddy gets home.’ That’s how we were raised. And my dad did spank us. But not abuse us,” she said.

Now, a five-decade study published in the Journal of Family Psychology reveals spanking doesn’t make kids behave better right away, and it often leads to worse behavior in the long run.

Researchers also found children who are spanked are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial.

But many parents we spoke to like Ericka Sexton disagree, saying a little tough love teaches some valuable life lessons.

“I think we need more spankings because they did better. Kids respected elders back then, now it’s a little bit different,” she said.

Researchers did point out that the effectiveness of spanking ultimately depends on the individual child.

Adrienne Moore

  1. Ion A. Dowman says:

    There is spanking, and there is beating. I was not above spanking my young daughter when she was naughty, but I made sure to keep it within bounds: immediate, one spank only on the bottom, through clothes, hard enough to be felt as a spank, but not enough to hurt or sting. It was rare for me to resort to this, one hand is sufficient to count the occasions, and never after the age of 5. Having administered the spank, I treated the issue as resolved.

    My use of it was a physical expression of disapproval, not exactly a punishment. The fact of the spank was enough chastisement, and for mine closed the matter. One needn’t go berserk about it. It was and is long my belief that if you can not discipline yourself to administer chastisement within reason – and the bounds should be be tight and rigidly adhered to – then don’t do it. Looking back to when I was a kid, I have often wondered who was it needed the ‘discipline’. What I was looking at (and experiencing) was a deliberate effort to hurt – to inflict pain. That is torture, in my book, and certainly beyond reason, whatever the misdemeanour.

    Too much is far worse than too little, by ‘depreciating the currency’ as it were. This had two unintended effects (I’m going by my observations as well as experience during my own childhood, at home and school). One was that kids often became hardened to physical punishments and treated them as incidental hazards, not so serious. The other was the physical harm that could result in serious injury and even death. A high-school classmate of one of my brothers was killed by an abusive uncle who was supposed to be his guardian, and who obviously long since had lost all self-control, let alone control over his nephew. So ‘cheapened’ had each blow become by frequent beatings, that ‘to get the message across’ the adult felt the need to administer a fatal dose of what he called ‘discipline’.

    Even though he was no classmate of mine – I had long left high-school by this time – even after some 40 years I still remember that kid’s name.

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