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Posted 12 months ago
Study Reveals Who Gets Spanked
Children in homes full of books and educational games are less likely to get spanked, new research shows.
“This is a little bit surprising for parenting researchers that cognitive or intellectual stuff would cross over into behavioral stuff,” Grogan-Kaylor told LiveScience. “Real people may know this altogether, but researchers have tended to separate the two areas.”
More than 90 percent of parents of toddlers say they have spanked their child at least once.
About 61 percent of mothers of 3- to 5-year-olds had spanked their child in the past week.
Boys are more likely to be spanked than girls.
Spanking can continue into adolescent years.
People in rural areas and the South are more likely to spank.
Mothers spank children more often than fathers do.
Economic status of a family makes no difference in the odds of spanking.
African-American parents are more likely than white parents to use corporal punishment.
Conservative Protestants are more likely to use corporal punishment than parents with other religious affiliations.
Parents who value of positive reinforcement tend to view spanking as inappropriate.
The neighborhood, geographic region or economic status of a family made no difference in the use of spanking, but children’s odds of getting whacked decreases as they grow older by 3 percent per year, Grogan-Kaylor said. And parents of black children were more likely to use corporal punishment than parents of white children.
“To reduce the use of physical punishment, it may be beneficial to focus on interventions that teach parents to increase the amount of intellectual stimulation in the home,” said Grogan-Kaylor, who has also done research showing that children with fewer behavioral problems come from homes with increased intellectual stimulation.
Social workers and child and family advocates trying to reduce the use of corporal punishment should pay attention to the role of cultural factors in parents’ beliefs about spanking, Grogan-Kaylor and Otis write in the journal Family Relations. Parents often spank because they think it is an effective approach to discipline. Child and family advocates should suggest to parents more effective alternatives to spanking, they write, while acknowledging mothers’ and fathers’ desire to be good parents.
The researchers were surprised to find that factors other than bad behavior have an effect on whether or not kids are spanked.
“The interesting thing is that there are a lot of other things in the model, aside from what parents tell us kids are doing, that have an effect on whether or not they are spanking,” Grogan-Kaylor said. “Kids’ behavior is only one of a whole bunch of things that go into the decision as to whether or not to use corporal punishment.”