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One in Five Parents Would Spank in Certain Settings
Date:4/22/2010

But poll found using reason was by far most common choice of discipline

THURSDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Spanking may be losing its popularity among American parents, but new research suggests it might still be used in certain settings.

Results of a national poll conducted for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, show that one in five parents believe they would spank their child in some scenarios, said poll director Dr. Matthew Davis. The survey queried more than 1,500 parents about what disciplinary methods they would employ in a variety of scenarios.

By far, the most common strategies were explaining or reasoning (88 percent), taking away a privilege (70 percent) and timeouts or grounding (59 percent). Davis noted that higher rates of possible spanking were shown in some regions, and higher rates were also found in those scenarios that involved younger children.

"It was a surprise to find how few parents listed spanking and paddling. In fact, we were quite impressed that the vast majority of parents reported they would use discussion and reasoning with their children as a form of discipline, regardless of the age of the child," Davis said.

According to the poll, more parents who live in the West (31 percent) and the South (20 percent) listed spanking as a disciplinary option than those in the Midwest (16 percent) and the Northeast (6 percent.) Davis said such dramatic regional differences are likely rooted in cultural and generational trends. The results also showed spanking is more of an option with children aged 2 to 5, (30 percent); than with children aged 6 to 12, (24 percent) or those aged 13 to 17, (13 percent).

However, parents in the Mott survey answered what they thought they would do, not what they had done, noted Shawna J. Lee, co-author of a widely publicized study linking spanking and aggression that is published in the May issue of Pediatrics.
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