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Uh-oh! What do we do now, Dr. Dobson?

Children who are spanked may as a result have lower IQs.

Not what Dr. James Dobson promised us in Dare to Discipline. He wrote that corporal punishment was a part of saving us, our society and our children from the unfortunate results “unstructured permissiveness we saw in the mid-twentieth century.”

Yet typically conservative Time reported yesterday:

On Friday, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, Murray Straus, presented a paper at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, suggesting that corporal punishment does leave a long-lasting mark — in the form of lower IQ. Straus, who is 83 and has been studying corporal punishment since 1969, found that kids who were physically punished had up to a five-point lower IQ score than kids who weren’t — the more children were spanked, the lower their IQ — and that the effect could be seen not only in individual children, but across entire nations. Among 32 countries Straus studied, in those where spanking was accepted, the average IQ of the survey population was lower than in nations where spanking was rare, the researcher says.

Children who are spanked are likely to as a result have lower IQs?

That’s not what Dr. James Dobson promised us in Dare to Discipline. He wrote that corporal punishment was a part of saving us, our society and our children from the unfortunate results “unstructured permissiveness we saw in the mid-twentieth century.”

Historically conservative Time reported yesterday:

On Friday, a sociologist from the University of New Hampshire, Murray Straus, presented a paper at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, suggesting that corporal punishment does leave a long-lasting mark — in the form of lower IQ. Straus, who is 83 and has been studying corporal punishment since 1969, found that kids who were physically punished had up to a five-point lower IQ score than kids who weren’t — the more children were spanked, the lower their IQ — and that the effect could be seen not only in individual children, but across entire nations. Among 32 countries Straus studied, in those where spanking was accepted, the average IQ of the survey population was lower than in nations where spanking was rare, the researcher says.

NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman summarized the issues well for MSNBC.

Straus’ conclusions are inescapable: “… across entire nations. Among 32 countries … .”

That does turn Dobson on his head. Although the issue is complex, the effect seems to transcend socio-economic groupings. Eloquent oversimplification at length was always Dobson’s sin, one which sold the book that was the true foundation of his media/political empire whose operation is detailed by Dan Gilgoff in his book, The Jesus Machine. There is simply more data now that Dobson’s oversimplification of childrearing issues was and is exactly that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t succumb to oversimplification in either direction in 1998 when it adopted a policy on discipline which reads in part:

When advising families about discipline strategies, pediatricians should use a comprehensive approach that includes consideration of the parent-child relationship, reinforcement of desired behaviors, and consequences for negative behaviors. Corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior.

Unless we wish to take the risk — which with each passing year of scientific research looks more like a certainty — of rearing children who are discernibly less intelligent than they might have been, we will dare to discipline without violence.

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September 27, 2009 - Posted by | Cultural, Health, torture | , , ,

1 Comment

  1. […] Uh-oh! What now, Dr. Dobson? « BaptistPlanet baptistplanet.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/uh-oh-what-now-dr-dobson – view page – cached Children who are spanked may as a result have lower IQs. Dare we not discipline in the way that Dr. Dobson prescribed? — From the page […]

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