Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If Spanking Causes So Many Unfortunate Traits in Children, What’s Everybody Else’s Excuse?

Amidst all of the news about Santorum’s sweep in last night’s primaries – And good for him! – this is the headline that really caught my attention this morning: “Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study.”

So that’s the one that I’m writing about today.

According to Joan Durant, a professor at the University of Manitoba, and her co-author, Ron Ensom of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, spanking children can cause everything from dangerously aggressive behavior to a lower IQ.

In fact, “We’re really past the point of calling this a controversy,” Durant says. “That’s a word that’s used and I don’t know why, because in the research there really is no controversy.”

In other words, spanking is automatically psyche-altering abuse. End of story. Rather like global warming.

However, the study admits that spanking isn’t nearly as common as it used to be. What it doesn’t mention is how bad adolescent behavior has gotten over the past few decades.

These days, it’s not uncommon for middle school students (i.e. 11-14 year olds) to be having sex. And that trend is still trickling downward even to the elementary school level.

The same goes for hardcore drugs, alcohol and gang activity.

In light of Durant and Ensom’s “research,” this evaluation of reality begs the question of how many of those children have actually been spanked. And how many of those parents have taken the exact opposite routes of looking the other way or flat-out encouraging that behavior?

As a former education student who still has a number of friends in the business, I hear horror stories all the time about school children’s behavior, from K all the way up to 12. And I also hear about the parents who either flat-out condone their sons and daughters’ exceptionally immature and egocentric conduct, or just ignore it.

To them, spanking never enters into the equation, even though that could be just the thing their children need in order to leave high school without a drug addiction or an STD.

Spanking, when administered correctly, teaches children about boundaries and consequences. Boys and girls who are properly disciplined tend to not grow up into dysfunctional men and women who expect a world that caters to their needs just like their parents did… a dangerously unrealistic belief that usually leads to unfulfilled lives.

Children need serious discipline in some form or another. Because discipline is what’s needed to succeed in life.

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