In the study, 38 mothers voluntarily recorded their evening interactions with their kids over six days.
In one recording, a mom spanks her three-year-old 11 times for fighting with his sister. In another, a mother slaps her son for turning the page of a book while she reads to him.
In yet another recording, a mom spanks her five-year-old when he refuses to clean up his room after repeated warnings to do so.
‘The audio recordings provide real-time data captured before, during and after mothers disciplined their children with spanking or slapping,’ said Southern Methodist University’s psychology professor George W. Holden, who led the study.
‘I think with these audio recordings, we have the first data of naturally occurring spanking,’ said Holden, who has published five books and more than 55 scientific papers on parenting and child development, according to a Southern Methodist statement.
Participants included families of various ethnicities and ranged from affluent to middle income to poor, said study co-author Paul Williamson.
‘In one interaction, a child of two or three years had either been hitting or kicking his mother, and in response the mother either spanks the child or slaps him on the hand and says, ‘That’ll teach you not to hit your mother’,’ Williamson said.
‘Some children don’t appear to react, whereas the majority react with crying, some tantruming and some whimpering that can go from just a few seconds, to our longest is about 75 seconds,’ Holden said.
Some 70 percent to 90 percent of parents spank their children, and it’s practised in vast majority of countries worldwide.
‘Children who are spanked are more likely to be aggressive toward other children and adults,’ Holden said.
June 23, 2011