Spanking Lowers I.Q.

September 25, 2009 / 12:37 pm • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier

Well, that will disappoint some of the readers here. Oh wait! Not that kind of spanking. Here’s the study:

The results of a survey of more than 17,000 university students from 32 countries “show that the higher the percent of parents who used corporal punishment, the lower the national average IQ,” Straus wrote in his presentation.

In looking at spanking just in the United States, Straus and a fellow researcher reviewed data on IQ scores from 806 children between 2 and 4 years old and another 704 kids aged 5 to 9.

When their IQs were tested again four years later, children in the younger group who were not spanked scored five points higher, on average, than did children who had been spanked. In the group of older children, spanking resulted in an average loss of 2.8 points.

“How often parents spanked made a difference,” Straus said in a news release from the university. “The more spanking, the slower the development of the child’s mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference.”

I think the study writers were beaten as children.

First, when looking across cultures, how does one control for something like spanking? All Australian children eat vegemite, or however you spell it. Does that make an IQ difference? Do spanked children who eat vegemite have higher or lower IQs?

Not to mention, this statement, an obvious one, invalidates the whole study:

Those findings are plausible and make some sense, Briggs said, but she added that it’s difficult to tease out all the other factors that could play a role in IQ scores — including poverty and parental education.

Ya think? How about the parents being morons themselves since IQ is highly heritable?

Second, the presumption is that spanking a child is an out-of-control parenting experience:

Dr. Stephen Ajl, a child abuse pediatrician, director of pediatric ambulatory care at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and medical director of the Jane Barker Brooklyn Children’s Advocacy Center in New York City, said that “spanking and other forms of corporal punishment mean that someone has lost control, and if that goes on on a chronic basis, it may affect some part of children’s psychological well-being.”

And though some people believe that they can use spanking as a form of punishment without losing control, Briggs said that’s very difficult to do all the time.

“When you’re physical with your child, you open that floodgate, and the likelihood that it could veer into where you don’t have as much control increases,” Briggs said. “Plus, if you’re just spanking, you haven’t taught your child anything.”

You can’t tell me the culture of beating a kid with a stick for every response is the same as a parent who spanks a kid for running into the street. Even if the second parent is out-of-control or angry, sometimes it’s not bad for a kid to get “rebooted” now and again.

This study was put forth for political reasons. Liberals don’t like spanking. They think it’s barbaric. They also believe everyone can be rehabilitated. Ironically, the children who never learn consequences as a kid grows up to being surprised, and in jail, dealing with consequences.

Can a child grow up without ever being spanked and turn out fine? Yes. Can a child receive corporal punishment and turn out fine? Yes. The bigger thing is love being the foundation.

Also: Spanking is NOT hitting. There is a huge difference between the two. Beating is another whole level of abuse. Liberals like conflating these things because nuance scares them. They want a rule for parents to follow, but the fact is, every child is different. Family personalities are different. Parents must make different choices with different kids.

Bottom line, libs need to butt out.

  • Bob

    What a load of horse manure. We have three grown children, all college graduates, two working on masters’ degrees. One taught school for about five years and now is a paralegal who is a heck of a lot smarter than I, is a whiz at ancient languages, and is pursuing a master’s degree in history. Another has a major in counseling and is working on a master’s degree in that field. Still another earned an undergraduate degree in a medical field and works in a hospital. Every one of them is extremely intelligent and tested well above the norm when they were in elementary, middle, and high school. When they were kids I had no problem tearing up their little butts when they were rebellious. Every one of them now is a well-adjusted, responsible, mature adult working a productive job and has a strong marriage. They love each other and enjoy being together, not to mention coming home to visit mom and dad. Our family is close and enjoy each other’s company. I hear other parents complaining all the time about how much grief their grown kids are giving them and then I thank God for ours. I have an earned doctorate and my mother didn’t mind spanking me, either.

  • DaveR

    The thing I’ve found with raising my own kids and watching my sisters and friends raise there kids, all in very different ways. It all boils down to discipline. The second they start crawling is when you need to start establishing boundaries. A small smack of their hand when they get into something they shouldn’t. That’s how they learn – if I do this, something bad will happen, so I’m not going to do that. By the time they are walking and talking you will find that you actually don’t NEED to spank them very much. That stern look, and even threat of a spanking will stop 99% of the bad behavior.

    And be consistent!!! Don’t mildly rebuke one time, and then over-punish the next time for the same thing. If they do X, then they get this punishment – all the time. If they do Y, they get that other punishment – every time.

    And make sure they know (you wouldn’t believe how much kids actually DO understand) that they are being punished for doing X, Y, Z wrong – and BECAUSE you love them, you don’t want them to do that. They will learn the most important lesson of their lives – that ACTIONS have CONSEQUENCES.

    And probably the #1 point of this whole issues (though clearly not mentioned, but I believe it has the MOST affect on child rearing) is people need to actually be PARENTS for their kids and not just want to be their kids “best friends” or “the coolest mom/dad”. If there any truth in this story, it’s that dumbed down liberal ejumacation lowers IQ’s more that anything else!

  • Paul Gordon

    spanking and other forms of corporal punishment mean that someone has lost control,

    If you catch a toddler trying to poke a hairpin or paper clip into an electrical outlet, do you try to “reason” with him/her?

    Or, do you apply an immediate lesson that may improve the chances of that toddler living long enough to benefit from more gentle persuasion later?

  • O Bloody Hell

    You know, I will grant that spanking might lower IQ (not saying it does, but… might), but has anyone checked for a correlation with spanking and increased common sense?

    My money is there will be a much stronger correlation than the IQ one, and it will show a positive increase in common sense when spanking was present.

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