3 Jan 2010

Children who are smacked when young are more likely to be successful, study finds

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:21 PM on 03rd January 2010

Children who are smacked by parents often turn out more successful than those who have not, research has found.
The study concluded that children who had been physically disciplined when they were young, between the ages of 2 and 6, were performing better as teenagers on almost every measure that was taken into consideration than those who had never been smacked.
It was only in cases where it continued beyond the age of 12 that the children were found to be affected negatively, resulting in a dip on performance indicators.
The results of the US-based study undermines the efforts of various campaigners who have been trying to have physical punishment outlawed in the UK, who have claimed that it causes long-term damage to the children.

Currently, UK law allows parents to chastise their children as long as it does not leave a physical mark such as a bruise - the government has said it is reluctant to criminalise parents purely for disciplining their children with the best of intentions.
'The claims made for not spanking children failed to hold up. They are not consistent with the data,' Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told the Sunday Times.
'I think of spanking as a dangerous tool, but there are times when there is a job big enough for a dangerous tool - you just don't use it for all your jobs,' she added.
Gunnoe, who lead the research, said 2,600 people were reviewed, of whom about a quarter had never been smacked.

It also included detailed interviews of about 179 teenagers who were asked how old they were when they were last smacked and how often they were smacked as a child.
She then looked at many outcomes parents generally night want for their teenage children such as academic rank, volunteer work, college aspirations, hope for the future, and confidence in their ability to earn a living when they grow up.
It emerged that those who had been spanked just when they were young were doing a little better as teenagers than those who’d never been spanked on almost every measure.
Research of this kind is rare, given that physical punishment was not viewed as taboo until fairly recently.

However, in a recent poll, more than 70% of Britons would support a ban on smacking.
Source HERE

The above article was slightly adjusted when I read through it again, so here in green, I've copied the adjusted article from the original source - again.

Last updated at 8:55 AM on 04th January 2010

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. Smacking is currently banned in 20 European countries, including Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. In Britain 'reasonable chastisement' in the home is allowed unless it leaves a mark.

But the study, by Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of Psychology at Calvin College in the U.S. state of Michigan, found there was not enough evidence to prove that smacking harmed most children. She said: 'The claims that are made for not spanking children fail to hold up. 'I think of spanking as a dangerous-tool, but then there are times when there is a job big enough for a dangerous tool. You don't use it for all your jobs.'

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. Parenting guru Penelope Leach disagreed with the findings.

'No good can come from hitting a child,' she said. 'I do not buy this idea that children will learn positive behaviour from being smacked. 'The law says adults hitting adults is wrong and children should be protected in the same way. Children are people too.' 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.'
Two years ago, Britain was criticised by the UN for failing to ban smacking in the home, after experts said it was a form of abuse.
And growing numbers of the public seem to agree: A recent poll found 71 per cent of parents would support a ban on smacking.


  1. Anonymous4.1.10

    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 "Dr. Phil" and "Supernanny" 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 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,
    Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
    Global Initiative o End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child buttock-battering is prohibited by law (with more in process).

  2. Anonymous4.1.10

    The vast majority of professionals agree that child buttock-battering isn't healthy. A marginal few (mostly religious Fundamentalists) think that child bottom-slapping is good. They use a selective literalist interpretation of the Bible to justify hitting children, much like the Bible was used to justify "witch" burning, depraved torture methods of "heretics", slavery, racism, wife-beating, oppresion of women, etc.

  3. Weird. :) Kan dit amper nie glo nie. En wat dink die juffrou daarvan?

  4. Hi Boendoe, my persoonlike opinie: Ons kinders het daardie raps gekry wanneer dit nodig was. Dit was slegs een keer nodig en nooit weer vir enige van die twee nie. Manlief het dit ook gedoen en dit was regtig nodig. Ek voel soos Langenhoven gese het: 'n Pak op sy tyd is soos brood EN konfyt! Slim ou man gewees! Salomo nommer II...

    @Anonymous readers: If you discipline your child in the correct way - with LOVE!! - then it's not necessary to smack them. Both my kids were smacked/spanked ONCE in their lives - never ever again..and we told them afterwards we LOVE them and WHY we did what we did! Hubby did it.. and it was necessary...today they are the most wonderful kids you could ever dream of.==ok, it's not because of one little spank! - of course not, but we did spank them - and wow!..some people will go mad if they know this! -- they don't drink/smoke etc. etc. yes, I am boasting...and no they will NOT do any of it later in their lives. They have a good foundation and they know what they want out of life. They are stable kids, know how to think straight in life and know how to respect parents/teachers/peers. I can write a book about them, but let me not bore you...my main point is...like Langenhoven from South Africa...a second Salmon...said --a smack on time is like bread AND Jam...that is absolute the truth. With a smack I don't mean HIT your child till he feels like dying...no! but some people can't control themselves and will go one step too far and don't know how to show love to their children, that's why you have so many children growing up without LOVE in this world! Being both of us teachers, we see many a student in tears - due to parents who were kids themselves when they got their children! Young parents don't have the patience with small babies as they still want to enjoy life and can't handle baby-issues with their personal/private life too.How old is your mum/grandma? Most parents I see had their kids age between 16-21! What does somebody age 16-21 know about bringing up kids? ---and then...even more these kids of 16 bringing up kids..I say no more.[some people might be ready at the age of 21 - but most girls are not ready for any baby at that stage.]

  5. Anonymous21.1.10

    I am a 12 yo boy and I am spanked very often - on average once / week. It makes me a very good student, I work hard. The spankings come always on naked butts and thighs. For the next two days it is not easy to sit down. I have a very good relation with my parents and I agree that I need strict punishments, but there are two things that I would like to change but without success. First: I receive usually 60-70 strikes with belt or 15-25 with cane, what I find way too much. I think the half of it would do the same effect on me but my parents say that I need this amount of pain to learn from the punishment. Second: I asked them to spank me only on fridays because then don't have to sit on my bruised bottom and thighs in school for the next 2 days. But day say it is part of my punishment so spank me whenever I do something bad. Can you advise me how to persuade them to change?

  6. hi Anonymous

    I feel so sorry for you. That is really way too much and I can feel your pain. This is really not a good thing your parents are doing! I agree completely with you! Even ONE would do and would be enough!! Please, please [I do hope you will come back and read here], speak to a relative (uncle, aunt - someone!!) and do ask them to have a word with your parents about it and also, tell them you don't mind it, but I don't think you need more than ONE! Really!! I wish I could help you! If you don't have a relative to speak to, please speak to your teacher and you MUST trust your teacher and discuss the situation! Please, you must speak and do something about it! It really sounds like you are a great person and hope you get help somewhere!

  7. Anonymous22.1.10

    Hi Nikita
    I am Anonymous 10.1.10, my nickname is Rad. First I live in East Europe and here children are allowed to get spanked. When my parents were children it was the normal way for punishment. Now my friends are not spanked they only get smacks or groundings. It is not a secret that I get spanked a lot cos I wear shorts in school and teachers see the marks on my leg. The younger teachers find it terrible and already tried to tell my parents that it is too much. But the older ones (and the director) agree with them. The director told to all parents of my class that my parents can be followed!
    Yesterday I talked to mum and asked her that they punish me only on fridays and showed her my thighs and bottom with the marks from a spanking 2 days before. She hugged me and we talked a lot, but no result: I will be spanked on the day when I misbehave. I also asked her to tell dad to give me less strokes but she said that the punishment is only useful when it gives me real pain. I agree with it but I thin half of it can be enough - at the half of my punishment I already cry.
    I try to speak to dad too, if you can advise me what I could say, it would be good.

  8. Hi Rad! I'm so glad you came back! Please, you should have a childline number in your country. If you can tell me the country I can find out for you. This is NOT fair to you. Have a serious chat with your dad too and tell him exactly how you feel.

    Also, if the "misbehaving" on your side is really serious, then you should think how to change so they don't have an excuse to spank you.

    Please, do get in touch with childline. [I did leave my email here for 2 days, but have removed it now, if you missed it and you want it, do tell me so, please. If you write to me I can try and help you more]

    Here is a link for you to find your country. Click on the red word that says..."help" and your country will also (should) be on the list. Do come back to me, I would like to know how you're getting on.


  9. Anonymous12.2.10

    Hi Nikita
    I just came back to tell you that 2 days ago I had that 'serious chat' with my dad (before I received my last spanking which I totally deserved). I told him that I find the spankings too hard. He explained me very long why I get punished like this.
    It was a very long chat but the end is that he agreed that I will get spanked less often (this was the first one from middle jan). But I will not get less strokes cos he says that then I will not behave better. Now I feel much better even that after the chat I got a normal belt spanking and I have still some marks on my thighs. And my parents always console and hug me after the spankings.

  10. Hi Rad! I'm glad you came back and thanks for doing so! Good news to hear the spanking will be less. Also, you need to try and think what you can do from your side to get less spanking. I'm so glad it is at least less now, try harder and show them you want to behave better, I know you're a good guy as you sound like one! Come back and tell me even more, I do appreciate it. Glad to hear they love you and hug you afterwards. We don't always know the ways of other people, but I do hope it will get better and better! Keep up the good work too! Hope all is well with school too. Take care, Rad!!