Does spanking your child affect their IQ?

By Rebecca Lane - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Spanking may lower children's IQs!

That is the claim of a recent study done by discipline and domestic violence expert Murray Straus who is a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire.  Straus is also the co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the university.

Straus surveyed more than 17,000 university students from 32 countries.  In a presentation, Straus explained that his findings showed that the higher the percent of parents who utilized corporal punishment, the lower the national IQ average.

'It might be skewed in some way," School-based therapist, Erin Exum explains, "but I do see that there can be negative effects to spanking your child."

Exum works with children ranging from the fifth to the eighth grade.  She feels that Straus' research has tapped into something, but more factors need to be taken into consideration such as the social economic status of the family.

The most important thing Exum claims parents need to know is that no matter what form of discipline they decide to use, they must never act in anger.

"How you react to things is going to be such a huge impact on how your kids react to things," she explains, "what parents need to understand more than anything is that every child is different and that you do what works."

Lori Dial, a high school teacher, agrees that every parent must decide for themselves whether to spank their child or not.  She is also familiar with the study, but feels it is hard to isolate the one factor of spanking and claim that that will lower a child's IQ.

Dial explains that there is a fine line between spanking and abuse and she is quick to explain she does not support abuse as punishment.  While she believes spanking does not affect children academically, she understands crossing the line into abuse could. She explains that children of abuse are angry and will not try in school.

However, Dial chooses to spank her children as a form of punishment and considers it a valuable tool when executed properly.

"I was a spanked child and I was very thankful for that as I got older."

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