A study by Professor Marjorie Gunnoe from Michigan's Calvin College has caused considerable debate in Australia this week. According to the study, teens who were spanked until the age of six do better at school, are more optimistic about life, are more likely to take voluntary work, and aremore keen to attend than those who had never been spanked.
For the study, more than 2,600 people were asked how old they were when they were spanked and about the frequency with which they were spanked. Their responses were then correlated with information collected on behaviours that could possibly have been influenced by smacking.
The limitations of the study are clear enough. In addition, the findings fly in the face of many other studies which show detrimental effects of spanking. A press release from Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) states studies from a number of other universities in the U.S. including Harvard and Duke concluded that spanking 1-year-olds "leads to more aggressive and less sophisticated cognitive development in the next two years."
Professor Gunnoe states her study should not give carte blanche to spank but should generate greater consideration in those that would like to see spanking outlawed. Of course, there are all kind of issues around spanking: intensity, emotional control of the parent, location among many others. However, is it the spanking itself or is it the setting of boundaries. Are other ways of boundary setting as effective? The study doesn't evaluate this.
I was spanked as a child and adolescent but in a way that is now outlawed so my view is somewhat skewed. I don't think it had any positive effect for me. What's your experience? To spank or not to spank. What's your thoughts?