Okay, brace yourselves, Good Enough Mother is about to venture right into ground zero on one of the most incendiary parenting debates, spanking.
Yesterday I posted about Jerry Lewis and his incendiary comments regarding Lindsay Lohan. Lewis said he’s ‘smack her in the mouth’ if he saw her – completely inappropriate in my mind… but it got me thinking about how many old school parents differ from the younger generation in their parenting tactics. Jerry is 87 years old, a smack in the mouth is a long way from a spank, and Lindsay is a grown woman now… but you get where I’m going with this!
I was spanked as a child and you can rest assured whatever I got my tail swatted for I deserved. Now, as a mother of two children, I too, believe in spanking.
It helps, when you discipline a child, to have a variety of tools to be able to call upon. Spanking is just one of the tools I used. Of course, I no longer spank my kids as they are 12 and 14 and different forms of discipline, like grounding and taking away items and privileges works for this age group. But when they were younger, I did not spare the rod.
The American Academy of Pediatrics official position is that spanking should not be used on children but it is a perplexing issue for parents. An estimated 90% of parents have spanked their children at one time or another yet 85% wished they hadn’t.
There are also interesting breakdowns between race and gender. According to a survey done in 2008 77% of men were likely to agree that kids needed (what the survey called) a “good hard spanking” compared to 65% of women. Among race, African American women appear to the be group most in agreement with spanking as a disciplinary tool (80%) as opposed to 63% of white women and 61% of Hispanic women.
But there are questions on the long-term effects of spanking on kids. Researchers studied more than 3,000 American women and toddlers and found that the kids spanked several times a month were 40% more likely to display aggressive behaviors. And what of the cognitive impact? A recent study out of the University of New Hampshire showed lower IQ’s among kids who were spanked versus those whose parents used other methods of discipline .
I cannot speak for everyone else and those of you who follow me and this site know I do not purport to be an expert, just one mom feeling her way through this life with kids and hoping I don’t screw them up too badly. But my take on spanking is this:
Casey and Cole appear no worse for wear from the bit the spankings they received when they were younger. I guess I would add my husband and me in that group and we got far worse than anything our own children received. I can only go by the anecdotal evidence in my own life and that is that spanking worked for us.
So what are your thoughts? Did you or do you spank your children? Were you spanked as a child and did that impact your view of it as a way to discipline? As I said before, this is one of those really hot topics that people have strong opinions on. I would love to hear yours but please be respectful of other people’s positions. Fire away!