The writer of this letter ("Who knows best?" June 23) asks an important question, "Do their (non-spanking parents') children turn out to be better citizens?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!"
Research has shown, over and over again, that spanking children tends to increase anti-social behaviour. A Columbia University meta-analysis of 88 research studies found that spanking children increased aggression and criminality, weakened parent-child relationships, decreased mental health outcomes, and increased the risk of being victimized in abusive relationships in adulthood. A 1990 population health survey by the Ontario Ministry of Health of 5,000 adults showed higher levels of anxiety, major depression, and alcohol abuse among those who had been spanked as children versus those who had not. Another survey in California showed that the less a child is physically punished, the greater chance the child would later earn a college degree and avoid a life of crime. A study just out this year from the University of New Hampshire at Durham shows that spanking children increases the chance they will have sexual problems later in life (coercing dating partners into having sex, engaging in risky sex, and participating in masochistic sex). A study from the University of Manitoba found that since banning spanking in 1979, Sweden has seen youth crime and suicide drop. Also, various studies have shown that a substantial proportion of child abuse cases begin as spanking.
Who wouldn't want a society with less aggression, crime, substance abuse, child abuse, depression, and sexual problems? Who wouldn't want a society with more college graduates and better mental health? We need to listen to the facts and stop believing myths about spanking. A better society will be ours if Canada passes the bill to ban corporal punishment of children.
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