The Loh Down On Science

Corporal Punishment

Are you naughty or nice?  I’m talking to you, mom and dad!  

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, talking about … spanking!  

Researchers recently looked at the the connection between parental support and spanking. To do this, they surveyed families about parent-child communication, physical punishment, and emotional or behavioral problems in kids.

No surprise: supportive parents who don't spank had children who always say “please” and “thank you” … and bring mommy her slippers--! Okay, no--but their kids were the least distressed in the study.

Also not surprising: spanking plus unsupportive parenting causes kids distress.

But here's the strangest finding: the most troublesome combo for kids? Positive, supportive parenting plus spanking.   

The main problem was not the swat--it was the mixed message. Confusing signals of positive support and spanking caused internal conflict for children and created more stress than a consistent message.  Even a consistent negative message.
It's so confusing it makes me just want to raise hamsters. Relaxed hamsters. Very lovingly.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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