The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Study Says Spanking Is Bad For Kids? More Psuedo Science From The Ivory Tower

Posted by Bill Nance on September 16, 2009

A study published in the journal Child Development says spanking is bad for kids, according to a CNN article. Pardon me if I’m somewhat skeptical over how exactly one really measures for this stuff, and am even more skeptical when I hear the same old pacifist arguments from ivory tower social “scientists.”

“”We’re talking about infants and toddlers, and I think that just, cognitively, they just don’t understand enough about right or wrong or punishment to benefit from being spanked,” said Lisa Berlin, the study’s lead author and research scientist at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

Well Dr. Berlin, you’re quite right. Infants and toddlers don’t grasp ethics or time-outs and yelling is terrifying to a child that age. That’s why you give them a swat when they reach for the electrical outlet or the stove. They don’t grasp it’s not allowed, they DO grasp that when they reach for it they get an ouch, immediately and consistently. It usually doesn’t take more than a few times to teach the lesson.

Berlin and colleagues found that children who were spanked as 1-year-olds tended to behave more aggressively at age 2…

Measuring aggression in terms of X percent over/below baseline is nearly impossible.  How exactly do you arrive at a baseline? What exactly is your method for measuring aggression and how do you average it? And finally, how do you assess this so-called “aggressive” behavior other than in a fundamentally subjective and therefore unreliable manner? If the kids who were in one group were all randomly beating the snot out the kids in the other group, that would get my attention too. But that’s not the case here, and as with every study I have ever read that attempts to measure aggression, I’m reasonably sure that this one used “anything other than totally docile” as a definition of aggression. Seriously, someone define for me in a scientifically measurable way what is the difference between aggression and assertiveness in 2 year-olds and how to tell the two apart? -Remember, these are child psychologists, the same people who think little boys who don’t act like little girls need Ritalin.

To continue:

…[They] did not perform as well as other children on a test measuring thinking skills at age 3.

It’s  extremely difficult to measure the thinking skills of 3-year-olds. Kids develop at wildly different rates at that age for reasons that have nothing to do with spanking. So claiming that spanking is correlated with different measurements of thinking skills is questionable to put it kindly.

The new study focused on children from low-income families because prior research suggested that spanking is more common among them, Berlin said. This may be because of the added stresses of parenting in a low-income situation, or because of a “cultural contagion” of behaviors among people. For example, in some families this study examined, a grandmother would spank a child, or neighbors would encourage physical discipline, she said.

Her study found that about one-third of the 1-year-olds, and about half of the 2- and 3-year-olds, had been spanked in the previous week, according to mothers’ self-reporting to the researchers. At all three ages, African-American children were spanked significantly more frequently than those from white and Mexican-American families, and verbally punished more than the other children at ages 2 and 3, the study said.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  They used as a sample people from low-income groups which they admit are under “added stresses” and then used self reporting as a model for the study? In other words they looked for the most likely group to have high stress, low income, stress over money, little or poor childcare, most likely to be much younger parents than average..They picked out the group likely to be the worst parents in the country and then decided this would be the ideal group to use to study the effects of spanking? R U f***ing serious?

Now, as to self reporting:

Out here in the real world we know low-income people are much more likely to get their kids taken away for giving them a spanking than middle class people who have lawyers and will raise Hell with a legislator. This is a known factor. Do the study’s authors really think they can be relied on as accurate self-reporters of what many child welfare agencies define as a crime?  Are you people completely daft about the way the real world works? -wait, never mind, we’ve asnwered that.

This kind of thing is just silly. There are so many unmeasurables, so many complicating factors that there is no way on earth to control for,the study was meaningless before it started. Secondly, by measuring kids only in the first three years, years in which completely normal healthy and intelligent kids exhibit wide latitudes of behavior and cognitive skills and trying to correlate it with something you can’t even pretend to know is occurring with any certainty is ridiculous. Finally, when one third of your control group reports spanking their one-year-olds every week, you know before you get any further that this is far from “normal” behavior from the parents, which might lead you to draw conclusions about beating, abuse or other things, but can’t possibly tell you about the efficacy of “spanking.”

Stop with the B.S. studies that can’t and don’t prove anything. If you can’t measure it without using some half-assed subjective metric and you can’t control for variables, it’s not science. It’s someone’s subjective opinion. And choosing this group for the study instead of a populati0n cross-section indicates the “researchers” started out with an axe to grind and carefully crafted a “study” to confirm their opinions.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Study Says Spanking Is Bad For Kids? More Psuedo Science From The Ivory Tower”

  1. PDeverit said

    Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say
    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit http://www.nospank.net.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    PsycHealth Ltd Behavioral Health Professionals,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  2. Bill Nance said

    I find it interesting that only recently (ok 20 years or so) has there been all this nattering about giving a child a swat on the butt to get their attention or to teach a lesson to a child too young to grasp a danger.

    Frankly I chalk it up to the far-left and their pacifist tendencies. Just because someone puts together a study or publishes something in a sympathetic journal doesn’t make their assertions a fact. I can point to many personal acquaintances who never spanked their children and have kids that are horribly messed up. It’s an anecdotal observation, not a statistic or a trend.

    I cited well-known and obvious problems with trying to track this stuff to start with, no matter how diligent you try to be about your study and control groups. The case I cited in this article is so utterly devoid of even a pretense of “science” it’s a joke.

    To the anti-spanking fanatics even a swat on a toddler’s butt to let him know touching the outlet is unpleasant is abuse. Perhaps these jackasses have nannies to do nothing other than spend every second hovering over their charge to give them a time out (which a toddler will not grasp in the slightest nor associate with the outlet) I don’t and neither do most parents.

    In my experience you can usually tell which kids get spankings and which are getting time-outs. The ill-mannered brats get time-outs.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children.

    Projection much?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: