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New Study Shows Negative Link Between Spanking Children and Later Behavior

newstudyspankingbehavior.jpgWe all know that toddlers can try our patience and many parents, at some point or another, lose their cool. I have always been against spanking, simply because I see myself as the main role model in my children?s lives, and know that they will likely mirror my own behavior. Simply stated, violence begets violence. That is not to say that I claim to be perfect. There were definitely a couple of times when my boys were toddlers, raging out of control, that I lost it for a moment and gave them a swat. Recent studies reaffirm, however, that my instinct to refrain from spanking (at least 99% of the time) were right.

University of New Hampshire?s domestic abuse expert Professor Murray Straus has concluded from several studies, that spanking children affects their sex lives as adults. While other studies have shown a connection between spanking and physical violence, this new research is the first to show a link between corporal punishment and sexual behavior.

Last week, Straus presented four studies at the American Psychological Association?s Summit on Violence and Abuse in relationships, in Bethesda, Maryland. The studies all conclude that children who are spanked are more likely as adults to coerce partners into sex, to have unprotected sex and to have masochistic sex.

In one study in the mid-1990?s, Professor Straus found that college students who had been spanked as children were nearly twice as likely to like masochistic sex than those who had not been spanked.

More recent studies included 14,000 college students in 32 different countries and featured a scale on which the students strongly disagreed, disagreed, agreed or strongly agreed that they had been ?spanked or hit a lot before age 12?. For every increased step on Straus?s four-step scale, he found that men were 10 percent more likely to have verbally coerced sex from a partner by threatening to end the relationship if the partner refused. Women were 12 percent more likely to have done so.

Throughout the 30 years in which Straus has been doing his research on corporal punishment, 90% of parents have consistently been found to strike their toddlers. He would like more pediatricians and child-rearing experts to warn against spanking. He would also like to see lawmakers take a stand by dedicating state money to teaching parents about the dangers of corporal punishment.

?The best-kept secret in child-psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved,? Straus says.

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