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Spanking Your Kids Will Make Them Commit ‘Dating Violence,’ Study Claims

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

Parents who spank their kids could be causing them to commit more “dating violence” in the future, according to a Tuesday study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Conducted by Jeff Temple, an associate professor at University of Texas, the study examined 758 people between 19 and 20 years old, finding that those who received physical discipline from their parents committed “dating violence” at a higher rate, CNN reported Tuesday. Temple is one of many pediatricians fighting against the traditional American support for corporal punishment.

“One of the advantages of our study was to control for child abuse, which we defined as being hit with a belt or board, left with bruises that were noticeable or going to the doctor or hospital,” Temple said. Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence.” The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to get a clear definition on what constitutes “dating violence,” but received no comment before publish time.

The study found that young adults who had been physically punished were 29 percent more likely to commit “dating violence,” although Temple’s definition of the term is unclear.

“There’s a tendency for adults who have been spanked to say ‘I turned out just fine,’ ” Temple said. “So they continue the behavior with their children.”

“There’s zero evidence that it enhances children’s development, and there is a whole bunch of evidence that it has negative outcomes,” Temple continued. “Our goal is not to turn out fine. Our goal is to turn out healthier and happier than previous generations.”

Other researchers have found evidence that corporal punishment can be beneficial, however. Oklahoma State University Professor Robert Larzelere has found that it’s good to spank children so long as parents make it clear that the punishment is “motivated by love and concern for their well-being.”

“I think that like any disciplinary tactic, its effect is in the context of how it’s used,” Larzelere said. “Research is strongest for the use of spanking between the ages of 2 and 6, when milder types of correction have failed.”

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