On whipping kids | Arkansas Blog

On whipping kids



Most of the civilized world -- that would include western democracies and most U.S. states (not Arkansas) -- accept the overwhelming evidence that argues against corporal punishment of children. My friend Randy Cox, a Little Rock social worker who's devoted himself to the cause, can provide all the details you'll ever need.

Not that facts are likely to penetrate thick skulls.

I bring it up because Channel 4 did a little reporting on a new study that indicates young children who are whipped seem to become more aggressive and score less well on skills tests. Good for Channel 4. More of same old story. But gee whiz, get a load of a summary of the item on Channel 4's Facebook page and the reader responses. I'm with Philly Rains who finally interjected, "You people scare me."

Sample comment:

According to all these pundits with their studies, I should have already been atop of a building with an uzie, killed several people, then blamed it on mom and dad because I got my butt spanked. This is a crock all the way. We should bring the "board of education" back in the schools. 

Another commenter claims prison populations are growing because parents aren't whipping their kids enough. Randy Cox has an answer for that.

A study at San Quentin penitentiary revealed that every inmate there had been spanked in childhood. Unless it's unreasonable to presume that some in our prisons were abused as children, I'd say that spanking can not reliably demonstrate a positive effect no matter how often or how severely it is applied.

For those who have the capacity to respond with other than denial, a good summary of the study is at


And for those who seriously seek the truth, the study results were published in Child Development, Vol. 80, Issue 5.

There are, believe it or not, successful, confident, law-abiding citizens who were not spanked as children. And children didn't come with instructions that tell parents which "need it" and which do not. The point would not be  that withholding spanking produces good people.

The point is that spanking is not necessary to raising good people. It wasn't necessary to our son's admission to and graduation from a military academy or his service in the Marine Corps.

That some of us escape the worst consequences of spanking in childhood does not mean that far too many do not. For the sake of a significant group of children, it is a moral imperative that we all cease a traditional but unnecessary part of parenting in our all too troubled culture.

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