Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Spanking still a hit with parents

Do you spank your kids? If you do, you've got a lot of company. An ABC News poll found that half of Americans with minor children don't believe in sparing the rod, and 65% percent said they approved of spanking, even if they didn't do it themselves. But what's okay for Mom and Dad isn't necessarily okay for teachers and principals; 72% of respondents disapproved of corporal punishment in schools. Southerners were found most likely to spank their kids, at 62%; parents with college degrees were least likely to spank, at 38%. The greatest support for school-sponsored spankings was in the South, at 35%; the least was in the East, at 13%.

Frankly, I was stunned by these statistics -- but then, I'm an East Coast dwelling, college-degree-holding child spoiler, so what do you expect? Still, given the proliferation of books on psychologically correct methods of child-rearing, and our overriding societal sensitivity to even the appearance of child abuse, I thought spanking had generally fallen out of favor, and had certainly been driven out of schools for fear of lawsuits. Bring up the subject of spanking on many e-mail lists for parents, and you'll be flamed to a golden brown. So who knew it was still so popular? I don't think I'll take it up to get in with the majority, but this research does give me a new weapon when my kids step out of line: I can remind them of how lucky they are that they didn't get adopted by Southerners.

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