Health

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Spanked Children at ‘Higher Risk of Sexual Violence’

May 22, 2008 08:38 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Parents who don’t spare the rod risk spoiling their children’s futures, says a study linking childhood spanking with sexual problems in adulthood.

30-Second Summary

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Psychologist Murray Straus says that adults who dealt with physical punishment as children are more likely to force sex on their partners and to suffer other sexual problems.

"The core idea of this study is that being spanked by loving parents confuses love with violence, which increases the probability that violence will be part of making love,” Straus says.

Straus concluded that the more severe the punishment, the more likely it was that the child would grow up to participate in risky or violent sexual behavior and engage in sadomasochistic acts.

The spanking of children has been a subject for debate among parents and psychologists for years. Researcher Diana Baumrind told The New York Times in 2001 that mild spanking is not harmful, and is less important than a family’s overall child-rearing practices. Author John Rosemond doesn’t advocate spanking but says it may help a child if done properly.

James Dobson, a conservative Christian psychologist, advocates paddling and "spanking of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely,” The New York Times reports.

But Straus is among a number of experts who oppose physical punishment, with some saying it may escalate to lethal abuse. A federal study estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 children die every year in the United States from corporal punishment that has gotten out of control, according to Web site ReligiousTolerance.org.

Straus says professional psychology and educational organizations should adopt no-spanking recommendations. “Because over 90 percent of U.S. parents spank toddlers, the potential benefit for prevention of sexual and relationship violence is large,” he says.

Headline Links: ‘Spanking Kids Increases Risk of Sexual Problems as Adults’

Related Topics: Other views on spanking

‘To Spank or Not to Spank’
‘Do Not Spare the Rod’

Reference: Current and historic practices

‘Spanking: All points of view’
Corporal Punishment in U. S. Schools
The Daily Telegraph: ‘140 Years of Chastisement’
Straus’ Book: ‘Beating the Devil Out of Them’
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