By: Darrian Langer
The use of corporal punishment as a tool for disciplining children is an issue that touches us all, and is a topic more sensitive than a well whipped bottom. More than a quarter century ago the American Academy of Pediatrics linked corporal punishment to increased aggressive and destructive behavior, decreased self esteem, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. The vast majority of experts and researchers within the scientific community agree that spanking does not work, and yet two thirds of American Parents who completed the General Social Survey in 2016, agreed with the statement “ Sometimes a child just needs a good hard spanking.” Family psychologist and syndicated columnist John Rosemond disagrees with many of his peers in the scientific community. In a 2018 article entitled “To spank or not to…here we go again.” Rosemond attacks a recent wall street journal article by Susan Pinker that highlights the links between spanking and a host of future behavioural issues, eventually arriving at the conclusion that the conveyance of authority is paramount when parenting and that the occasional spanking has little affect on a child’s development. To support his argument, Rosemund points to research claiming that occasional, moderate spankings by loving parents, is associated with not only better behavior, but also improved psychological well being. How is it that 2 different sets of researchers can arrive at completely opposite conclusions about the affects of corporal punishment? What is the line between moderate spanking and abuse? And if hitting a child does indeed have negative affects on their behavior and psyche, why are so many parents still doing it and why do our laws allow it? These are just some the questions we will consider ahead on Striking Innocents.