Saturday, March 17, 2012

Boys are recipients of corporal punishment 80% of the time, and new study raises serious concerns about effects of spanking

Poor children, minorities and children with disabilities are subjected to corporal punishment in school at grossly disproportionate rates. A small measure of attention is finally being paid to the injustices behind these disparities.

An overarching disparity is one based on gender.Boys are the recipients of corporal punishment at rates more than four times that of girls.  In a projection for 2006, the Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection ( estimated that boys were the recipients of corporal punishment over 80 percent of the timeSee here: That's not to mention suspensions and expulsions.

A new study about corporal punishment shows that it isn't just the gender, race, ethnic, and socio-economic disparities of corporal punishment that are troubling, it's the effect of corporal punishment on the recipient, especially boys. It seems that when corporal punishment is used on boys societally deemed "most deserving" of it, it has exactly the opposite effect as the one intended.

"Using spanking as a method of discipline for kids who have a genetic predisposition to aggressive behavior likely makes them even more aggressive, especially boys, new research suggests."

Dr. Roya Samuels, an attending physician in the department of general pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, has solutions that may not play well in our law and order culture.  "Instead of physical punishment, Samuels suggests developing a supportive, nurturing relationship with your child. She said parents should reinforce positive behaviors, and give structure and a daily routine in a child's life. Parents should set consequences for negative behavior, she said, and in the toddler years, timeouts can be an effective form of discipline instead of spanking."