I stumbled upon an article in the Boston Globe (February 29, 2008) titled “Study: Spanking children affects their sex lives as adults.” Here are some quotes:
New research by a University of New Hampshire domestic abuse expert says spanking children affects their sex lives as adults. …[C]hildren who are spanked are more likely as adults to coerce partners to have sex, to have unprotected sex and to have masochistic sex.
The classical method to prove scientifically that spanking affects something is to find many parents of newborn identical twins and persuade them to treat their children the same way, with the exception that they spank one and do not spank the other. The researchers should then compare these twins in their adulthood. Such a project is impossible, as parents are likely to start feeling guilty towards the child they spank, for you can’t separate spanking from the whole package of how parents treat their children.
I decided to study the study. I found a more detailed description of the study in the Concord Monitor. As I suspected, the study was a survey. The survey found a correlation between spanking and “undesirable” sexual behavior. As every statistician knows, correlation doesn’t prove causality.
Here’s another quote from the study: “The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved.” Did it occur to anyone that the best behaved children do not need spanking?
Could it be that parents who spank their children are tired, impatient and less loving? Could it be that not being loved as a child affects your sexual behaviour as an adult much more than spanking?
Could it be that parents who spank their children are more aggressive in general? Could it be that they pass their aggressive genes to kids and their kids’ aggressive behavior is related not only to upbringing, but to genetics?
Do not get me wrong. I do think that spanking is bad. I am saying that the study doesn’t prove that spanking is affecting anyone’s future sex life.
I am surprised that so many magazines republished the article without thinking. Now all the country is fooled into believing that the easy way to improve their kids’ future sex life is to stop spanking.
Go ahead! Stop spanking. Love your children too.Share: