Is spanking children OK? Calvin College professor's research shows adults who remember being spanked are more well-adjusted [Excerpts]
Spanking children has fallen out of favor for many parents.
GRAND RAPIDS -- While timeouts and other disciplinary methods work for some parents and is encouraged by some child psychologists, a Calvin College psychology professor says her research shows corporal punishment forms more well-adjusted people later in life.
Marjorie Gunnoe says the study finds children who remember being spanked on the backside with an open hand do better in school, perform more volunteer work and are more optimistic than others who were not physically disciplined.
"This in no way should be thought of as a green light for spanking," said Gunnoe, who has studied spanking for more than a decade.
Her research contradicts claims spanked children are more aggressive and have other detrimental consequences.
The practice should be considered when lawmakers across the county consider banning spanking, Gunnoe said, noting 24 countries have barred the punishment.
"This is a red light for people who want to legally limit how parents choose to discipline their children," she said. "I don't promote spanking, but there's not the evidence to outlaw it."
The research, now attracting international attention, shows the punishment is most effective on children between the ages of 2 and 6, Gunnoe found. The study did not consider the frequency or severity of the discipline.
(Nate Reens, The Grand Rapids Press Online, January 04, 2010)