Lying science reporting: "Spanking can scar kids for life"

Read the rubbishy article below and then look at what the research actually found -- appended below the article:
Parents who smack their children could be depriving them the skills they need to cope with school - and even adulthood - international research has revealed.

Young kids exposed to physical punishment have far less "self control" than those spared punitive discipline, the study of children aged three to six years found. They also fall short when it comes to verbal communication, decision-making and resisting temptation.

Lead researcher Professor Kang Lee said "the ability to control behaviours, to switch from one task to another, and to plan actions" were all stronger in children raised under "positive parental control". "All these skills are essential for a child to succeed in school, as well as outside school, for example in sports, and of course in the future in many job situations," he said.

The study, published in the journal Social Development, compared the performance of children at overseas schools practising physical and non-physical discipline.

While corporal punishment is banned in all Australian government schools, Prof Lee said the principles also applied to home discipline. "If parents mete out corporal punishment regularly for various transgressions, big and small . . . then I think it is likely that the kids from such homes will have a long-term deficit in the ability to control behaviours," said Prof Lee, from the University of Toronto.

He warned that smacking could also backfire on parents, because some children could view it as "a reward, not a punishment" because kids saw it as the attention from mum or dad that they craved.


The original academic journal Abstract follows:
Few studies have examined the influence of environmental factors on children's executive functioning (EF) performance. The present study examined the effects of a punitive vs. non-punitive school environment on West African children's EF skills. Tasks included a ‘cool’ (relatively non-affective) and ‘hot’ (relatively affective/motivational) version of three EF tasks: delay of gratification; gift delay; and dimensional change card sort. Children had more difficulties with the hot versions of the tasks than the cool versions, and older children outperformed younger children. After controlling for verbal ability (Peabody picture vocabulary test-third edition), a consistent pattern of interaction between school and grade level emerged. Overall, kindergarten children in the punitive school performed no differently than their counterparts in the non-punitive school. However, in grade 1, children in the punitive school performed significantly worse than their counterparts in the non-punitive school. These results point to the need to consider interactions among discipline style, age, and internalization processes of self-regulation to better understand environmental influences on EF development.

I hardly know where to start: Out of two grade levels they considered, the asserted superiority of the "no spanking" school applied in only one of them. In the other year there was NO DIFFERENCE between the two types of school! They have cherry-picked the result that suited them and ignored the result which did not! How can you generalize from conflicting results? Who knows what would apply in other years?

Other qustions: Would West African findings generalize to an affluent environment? WHY were there different practices followed at the two types of school? Were the kids from different social backgrounds, for instance?

So we have a totally inconclusive study that is grossly overgeneralized and grossly misreported!

1 comment:

  1. Meanwhile, we have thousands of years of practical experience, covering billions of human subjects, which denonstrates that human children who are not disciplined, and who were never appropriately spanked, generally turn out to be dangerous to other human persons.


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