Volume 93, Issue 23

Thursday, October 7, 1999


BOG's dog race ready to begin

Trent students want out of CFS

McGill cracks down on cheating

Over the knee could equal out of your tree

Customer is casualty in airline wars

Study clears up vision question


Caught on Campus

Over the knee could equal out of your tree

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

According to a recent study from McMaster University, parents who spank their kids may be putting them in jeopardy of becoming social misfits.

The study said children who are slapped or spanked often are twice as likely to report disorders such as alcohol and drug abuse or antisocial behaviour later in life, said Harriet Macmillan, pediatrician and psychiatrist with the Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk in Hamilton.

She explained the study, conducted in late 1990 and published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, examined the feedback from 5000 Ontario residents who were asked how frequently they were spanked as children. "The most important highlight of the study was that we were able to conclude there is an association between a history of slapping or spanking and psychiatric disorder," she said.

Macmillan added 20 per cent of respondents said they were never spanked, 41 per cent said they were rarely spanked, 33 per cent said they were spanked sometimes while six per cent said they were spanked often.

Macmillan said although spanking a child does not automatically make the child prone to later psychiatric disorders, the study shows there is increasing evidence of the relationship between spanking and negative outcomes for children.

However, Macmillan said there are limitations to the study and its implications. "One needs to look at it in the context of other surveys and consider it as the starting point for research on this issue in Canada," she said.

She added there seems to be a widespread consensus pointing to other methods of disciplining children aside from corporal punishment. "Tools such as approval and praise are powerful motivators, along with the removal of privileges and time out."

Beverly Cathcart-Ross, parent educator and counsellor for the Parent Education Network, said she was against spanking as a form of punishment. "It's not the physical act of spanking as it is the attitude parents have when they spank – when they spank, they're usually angry people," she said.

Still, Cathcart-Ross said some parents continue to advocate the use of spanking to discipline their child. "A lot of parents would support spanking because they fear they're being too permissive and they feel spanking has to happen," she said.

Peter Jaffe, a psychologist for the London Family Court clinic, said a parent's reasoning behind spanking their child is to exercise control in situations where the child understands nothing else but corporal punishment.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999