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Does Spanking Work? Studies say No, but People say Yes.

Update Date: Sep 05, 2012 09:15 AM EDT

One of the most heated debates in the socail-sphere is whether or not spanking as a disciplinary tool makes or breaks a child. Although spanking was an accepted form of discipline for past generations, attitudes have shifted.

"So heated is this debate, and so long-running, that the question of whether spanking is morally 'right or wrong' is probably intractable," writes Dr. Fletcher Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). "A more promising line of enquiry, however, is whether the physical punishment of children is effective."

 Dr. Fletcher, believes that Canada should remove a controversial mandate which protects parents who choose to use physical punishment on children under the law, claiming that the law does not "promote good parenting."

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada states "---a parent is justified in using force by way of correction...if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances."

A growing body of research suggests that children who have experienced corporeal punishment tend to be more aggressive toward parents, siblings, peers and, later, spouses, and are more likely to develop antisocial behavior.

However, other studies have shown that this is only the case when spanking is used liberally, without much provocation and unaccompanied by verbal explanations and emotional support.

However fletcher claims that "To have a specific code excusing parents is to suggest that assault by a parent is a normal and accepted part of bringing up children. It is not." The doctor suggests that rather than making disciplining your child with force protected or punished under law, "emphasis should be placed on educating parents on alternative forms of discipline." This could be done, he says, through parenting programs, which have been successful in teaching positive parenting and helping improve children's behaviour, offering them in the early years and when children enter school.

According to a poll released by ABCNews, 65 percent of Americans who participated approve of spanking. "MisterPoll" an online polling website, 4,672 voters answered a questionnaire asking how often they were spanked and whether or not they had violent tendencies or misplaced anger. 82 percent of voters reported that they did not consider themselves angry or violent, with 78 percent claiming they believed their parents intentions were good. Results showed that participants would more than likely spank their children as well.

What about you? Were you spanked as a kid and do you believe it is an appropriate and acceptable form of punishment? Comment below. 

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