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Spanking and lower IQ

September 25, 2009 4:27:54 PM PDT
It's a way to enforce discipline that's been passed down through the ages--spanking. And now, two studies suggest children who are spanked may grow up with a lower intelligence quotient, an IQ, than children who are not spanked. Marylene Cloitre is a leading expert in the effects of childhood maltreatment on later functioning.

"Spanking creates fear and stress and in adults stress hormones affect the brain," said Marylene Cloitre from NYU Medical Center.

And perhaps intelligence. One study found a five point lower IQ in toddlers who were spanked compared to those who were not. another study asked international college students how much they were spanked growing up. The more spanking, the lower the average IQ in the country from which the student came.

"It just makes them more scared," said Ms. Cloitre.

And a child who's scared doesn't explore and experiment and learn because they are afraid they'll get spanked if something goes wrong.

What's the alternative? What can parents do? Learn to talk to kids. Perhaps a parenting group or a guidance counseleor can help you learn how to talk to your kids about negative behavior.

Remember, as a parent you are a role model. Parents are role models. If you spank, they'll spank. if you talk, they'll talk.

"Parents may not be able to control their income or viokene in comminty, but they can control the violence in their own homes," said Ms Cloitre.

Ms. Cloitre stresses that it's essential to doing well that a child feels safe and trusting and can go to the parent to find explanations for events in the child's world, especially in kids under age five. spanking can destroy that feeling of a safe haven, and may have an impact on intelligence as well.

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