So I was listening to 95.5 today on my way to work—I KNOW, I KNOW, but I have this weird fascination/revulsion thing going on with Taylor Swift's new song—and the morning show hosts "Cabana Boy and Nikki" (I KNOW, I KNOW) were asking listeners to sound off on how they felt about spanking children... WHICH I DIDN'T THINK WAS EVEN A THING ANYMORE.
But apparently it is a thing, because in the segment I listened to, the most terrible people in the world called in saying that spanking is the ONLY thing that works in disciplining children, and that they can't understand why some parents choose to "talk" to their kids instead. Of the three people that called in, two were insanely gross and the only contrasting opinion was that of a mewler who said, "I was whipped with a switch when I was a kid, so I tried it on my five-year-old... and I cried."
Naturally, Cabana Boy and Nikki didn't say a single word in objection to any these horrible people—because who's going to listen to anybody named Cabana Boy and Nikki, right? I shut it off after that, so I have no idea if someone with an actual brain in their head came on later to say something logical like, "UMMM... when you hit kids, it teaches them to hit."
However, in the spirit of due diligence, I'll do a quick Google search of studies to see if what I just said is true. Hmmm... here's the first search result from the American Psychological Association quoting psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University:
The more often or more harshly a child was hit, the more likely they are to be aggressive or to have mental health problems.
For one, corporal punishment on its own does not teach children right from wrong. Secondly, although it makes children afraid to disobey when parents are present, when parents are not present to administer the punishment those same children will misbehave.
However in a dissenting opinion in the same report, researcher Diana Baumrind, PhD (Univ. of CA at Berkeley) and others note that not all kids who get spanked on occasion turn out to be serial murderers. (At least I haven't started serial murdering yet.) And because of this, the previous argument "does not justify a blanket injunction against mild to moderate disciplinary spanking." Or to put a finer point on it:
"The fact that some parents punish excessively and unwisely is not an argument, however, for counseling all parents not to punish at all."
OKAY. So I realize there's a LOT more to unpack here (corporal punishment that results in domestic violence, etc) and I also realize that you guys know absolutely nothing about children, or parenting... but that's never stopped you from offering an uninformed opinion before, right? Sooooo... poll time! (And feel free to agree or disagree in the comments, of course.)