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Sunday December 8, 2013
Is Spanking Children a Form of Sexual Abuse?
Child Advocate Explores Family Challenges & Pediatric Research
There’s still a resilient belief among many families that spanking is a good tool for use in raising one’s children. Many think kids simply will not learn without the physical threat of punishment.
Michael Soward, eager to understand problems he has experienced within his own family, says empirical studies consistently show the dangers of spanking children. He points to evidence going back centuries, including the ancient Roman scholar Quintilian, who lived from c. 35 – c. 100, and the German academic Johann Henrich Meiborn, who wrote about spanking in 1629.
“Most recently, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that spanking children is associated with a variety of adult mental disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, mania, and drug or alcohol dependency – and more complex issues like paranoia, antisocial behavior, emotional dependency and narcissism,” says Soward, author of “Life-ology 101: If All Else Fails, Smile.”
Something even more arresting caught Soward’s attention. Controversial research from scholar Tom Johnson posits that spanking children can be a form of sexual abuse.
“The buttocks is a sexual, erogenous part of our anatomy; they’re not sexual organs, but there’s a reason why fondling that region is inappropriate in public,” Soward says, paraphrasing Johnson. “While children are not sexually mature, they are nonetheless sexual beings who are neurologically complete to experience sexual sensation, and spanking can have a profound effect on the development of this sensitive subject.
“My point is: if you think there’s even a grain of truth to all this, why would you even risk spanking your kids – there are better ways to teach them lessons!”