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Toronto Star

Spanking hurts - more than you think

The Toronto Star, ( Canada's largest daily newspaper), by Jesse McLean, Staff reporter, September 28, 2009

Children who are spared a spanking grow up to have higher IQs than those who are physically disciplined, according to a study by one of North America's leading scholars on family violence.

Murray Straus examined the IQ scores of more than 1,500 children, divided in two groups - ages 2 to 4, and 5 to 9 - and compared them with IQ scores from four years later.

Straus found young children who had been slapped or spanked scored an average of five points lower on IQ tests than those who hadn't been hit. The discrepancy among the older age group was about 2.8 points.

"The bottom line is, kids need a lot of guidance and instruction. They just don't need to be hit," he said.

He presented his findings Friday at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego, Calif.

"This shows that spanking kids slows their development of mental ability," Straus, a professor at the University of New Hampshire's family research laboratory, said yesterday.

Straus, who co-authored the study with California-based professor Mallie Paschall, said being hit is a traumatic experience, causing stress that could disrupt cognitive skills and impede learning.

So, rather than spanking a child who has done something wrong, it would be better to tell him that what he did was wrong, Straus said.

"Corporal punishment impacts everything: self-esteem, intelligence, both emotional and intellectual," said Peter Dudding, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada.

The study defined corporal punishment as hitting a child at least three times a week with the intention of discipline, not injury.

The practice is criticized by the United Nations and banned in 24 nations across the world, including Sweden, New Zealand and Spain.

In Canada, however, a 2004 Supreme Court ruling upheld section 43 of the Criminal Code, allowing parents and caregivers to use reasonable force when disciplining a child no younger than 2.

Shortly after the court's decision, a Liberal Senator proposed a bill to prohibit corporal punishment, which passed its third reading in the Senate in June 2008. But the bill never became law because Parliament dissolved. "If you're over the age of 18 and I lay a hand on you, that's assault," Dudding said.

"But if you're younger than 18 - that's justifiable by our Criminal Code."

He said the new study adds to the arsenal of international research showing corporal punishment can have harmful lasting effects.

Straus said the study, which will be published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, shows evidence that younger children are Read More ..fected by being struck because "their brains are in a point of rapid development."

The study found a correlation between how often a child was hit and how slow his mental development was, even when Straus factored out other agents that could affect development, such as wealth and parents' level of education.

In his research, he also examined nearly 18,000 surveys from university students in 32 countries, including Canada.

He found, by and large, that in countries with high national-average IQs, spanking is not socially acceptable.

Don't Spank

Canadian Paediatric Society - Spanking

Don't Spank - Canadian Paediatric Society

Effective discipline for children

Reaffirmed: February 1, 2014

Principal author(s)

P Nieman, S Shea; Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee

Paediatric Child Health 2004;9(1):37-41

The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skill - to teach. However, it is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.

In medical and secular literature, there is great diversity of opinion about the short-term and long-term effects of various disciplinary methods, especially the use of disciplinary spanking. This statement reviews the issues concerning childhood discipline and offers practical guidelines for physicians to use in counselling parents about effective discipline.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that physicians take an anticipatory approach to discipline, including asking questions about techniques used in the home. Physicians should actively counsel parents about discipline and should strongly discourage the use of spanking.

Corporal Punishment Damaging to Children

ABC News USA - Spanking children Leads to aggression

Spanking May Lead to Aggression Later in Life

07 February, 2012

Physical punishment of children, such as spanking, is increasingly linked with long-term adverse consequences, researchers wrote.

An analysis of research conducted since the 1990 adoption of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests that no studies have found positive consequences of physical punishment, according to Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and Ron Ensom of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

While some studies have found little effect either way, most research has uncovered a range of negative outcomes, including increased aggression and later delinquency, Durrant and Ensom wrote online in CMAJ.

The clinical implication, they suggested, is that doctors who are familiar with the research can help parents find more constructive ways of providing discipline.

"In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent-child relationships at the population level," they wrote.

They noted that as recently as 1992, physical punishment of children was widely accepted, thought of as distinct from abuse, and considered "appropriate" as a way of eliciting desired behavior.

But research under way at that time was beginning to draw links between physical punishment and aggression in childhood, later delinquency, and spousal assault.


Spank Out Day
April 30th

Picture Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada -
Cour suprême du Canada

Corporal Punishment of Children Decision

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Alyson Schafer - parent educator - corporal punishment of children and discipline

Alyson Schafer on Spanking and Corporal Punishment of Children

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada's leading parenting experts. She's the author of the best-selling "Breaking the Good Mom Myth" (Wiley, 2006) and host of TV's The Parenting Show a live call-in show in Toronto, Ontario.

The media relies on Alyson's comments and opinions. you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Readers' Digest, Canadian Living, Today's Parents, and Canadian Families.

You can read Alyson's thoughts.

Laws on Corporal Punishment of Children from around the World

CTV - Parent education - Parenting style can change child behaviour

Parenting style can change child behaviour News Staff, February 21, 2005

Parents who are punitive tend to have aggressive children. But a new survey suggests that when parenting practices change, a child's behaviour also changes.

The results of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) suggests children show higher levels of aggression, are more anxious and less altruistic when parents have a more punitive parenting style.