Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Young Children Who Are Smacked 'Go On To Be More Successful'

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 13:24

From The Daily Mail:
Young children who are smacked by their parents grow up to be happier and more successful than those who have never been hit, research claims.

It found that children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school when they are teenagers.

They are also more likely to do voluntary work and to want to go to university than those who have never been physically disciplined.

But the study also revealed that children who are smacked after the age of six were more likely to exhibit behavioural problems, such as being involved in fights.
Assuming the research is accurate, and considering how vague the term 'smack' is, I would imagine it implies that using physical discipline when necessary is more effective in the long run than being permissive. After 6 years old, the age of the child requires stronger physical punishment that will invariably have a negative effect down the road.

This is how the study was done:
Professor Gunnoe questioned 2,600 people about being smacked, of whom a quarter had never been physically chastised.

The participants' answers then were compared with their behaviour, such as academic success, optimism about the future, antisocial behaviour, violence and bouts of depression.

Teenagers in the survey who had been smacked only between the ages of two and six performed best on all the positive measures.

Those who had been smacked between seven and 11 fared worse on negative behaviour but were more likely to be academically successful. Teenagers who were still smacked fared worst on all counts.
Another defense of physical discipline:
But psychologist Aric Sigman said: 'The idea smacking and violence are on a continuum is a bizarre and fetished view of what punishment is for most parents.

'If it's done judiciously by a parent who is normally affectionate and sensitive to their child, our society should not be up in arms about that. Parents should be taught to distinguish this from a punch in the face.'
Read the whole thing.

Considering the permissiveness that seems to be the norm today in raising children, the only impression an article like this is likely to make is negative. By the same token, even those who agree and even advocate physical discipline agree it should be used judiciously.

As for myself--if I was comfortable with the idea, I wouldn't be using the term "physical discipline" now, would I?

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