Peter H Brown Clinical Psychologist

Psychology News & Resources

Spare the Rod & Spare your Child’s IQ: Can Spanking Cause Intellectual Harm?

SMACKING or spanking, long used by parents to discipline naughty children, could cause more than tears.

Research revealed it can also lower a child’s IQ, with those smacked up to three times a week having a lower IQ due to psychological stress.

US-based sociologist Professor Murray Straus, who studied the impact of smacking for 40 years, likened the effects of corporal punishment to post-traumatic stress, affecting a child’s mental development.

He called on governments to outlaw corporal punishment

After studying 800 toddlers aged between two and four over a four-year period, he found those who were subjected to smacking had an IQ five points lower than that of a child who wasn’t physically disciplined.

“The results of this research have major implications for the well-being of children across the globe,” he said.

511ih3NyueL“All parents want smart children. This research shows that avoiding smacking and correcting misbehaviour in other ways can help that.”

Children aged five to nine years who were smacked regularly had an IQ 2.8 points lower. Dr Straus said children who constantly faced physical punishment lived in fear and suffered stress, which was associated with poorer academic performance.

While not an advocate of smacking, Sydney psychologist Dr Judith Kennedy said parents who gave an occasional tap on the bottom should not fear damaging their child.

“But a child who is suppressed through physical punishment regularly is going to behave differently,” Dr Kennedy said.

Melbourne child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said many factors contributed to intelligence and he found it hard to believe that spanking was one, the Herald Sun reports.

Dr Carr-Gregg said hitting children should never be the main disciplinary tool – giving them time out was the best option.

“But while parents should never whack their kids on the head, I don’t believe the odd tap on the bum traumatises them,” he said.

“I can’t come at this politically correct stuff that says that a little smack on the bum makes parents child abusers.”

Father of three Con Zoumis said spanking should be used only as a last resort.

“It’s not to hurt them, it’s just to make them snap out of a tantrum or stubborn behaviour,” he said. “And if you threaten to spank someone you have to carry it through.”


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September 25, 2009 - Posted by | Child Behavior, Parenting | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Very shorts, simple and easy to understand, bet some more comments from your side would be great

    Comment by enervis | April 16, 2010 | Reply

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