Friday, April 29, 2016

Spanking children 'does more harm than good' and leads to mental health problems and worse behaviour (?)

Elizabeth Gershoff has been plowing this field for a long time so there was never any doubt about what conclusion she would come to.  Meta-analyses are notoriously easy to fudge.  You find some reason not to include studies with inconvenient conclusions.  I have seen as many as a hundred "inconvenient" studies left out of a meta-analysis.  So there is no substitute for one good study.

The big fault in all the studies I have seen is that they treat children as one homogeneous blob. That different children might need different treatment seems to be a novel idea.  But it comports with the way Leftists think.  They can consider people in big groups only (Jews, blacks, women etc.).  Attention to the individual is too hard.

But it is perfectly reasonable to expect that some children may need a firmer hand than others.  An aggressive or over-active child may benefit from spanking whereas a quieter child might be traumatized by it.  Until such differences are taken into account no findings in this field are worthwhile or worth heeding.

I might note that my father never touched me and I have never touched my son.  But we are bright.  I have seem dimmer childen who are poorly influenced by words and who would therefore need something more.  So control for both intelligence and temperament would be needed if meaningful research into the subject is to be done.

Journal abstract follows the article below

It was a long held belief that smacking a naughty child was a parent's prerogative to keep them in line and teach them right from wrong.

But now half a century of research has found the now controversial past time actually does more harm than good.

The more children are physically chastised, the more likely they are to defy their parents, scientists have found.

They are also more prone to mental health problems, aggressive outbursts, cognitive difficulties and anti-social behaviour, according to the study.

Spanking - or corporal punishment - is usually defined as hitting a child with an open hand without causing physical injury.

Professors Elizabeth Gershoff, from the University of Texas at Austin and Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, at the University of Michigan analysed 50 years of research involving more than 160,000 children.

They found children who were smacked as five-year-olds were slightly more likely to be aggressive and break rules later in primary school.

'The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children,' said Professor Grogan-Kaylor.

'Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do.'

Despite mounting evidence on the harms tied to it, it is 'still a very typical experience' for children, studies have found.

They looked at the association between spanking and 17 potential detrimental outcomes and found a significant link between the punishment and 13 of them.

'We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviours,' said Professor Gershoff.

'Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.

'We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents' intended outcomes when they discipline their children.'

They found the practice was associated with poor outcomes across a wide range of studies of the five decades.

Children misbehaved more and were more aggressive when they had been smacked by their parents, they found.

Those who are spanked were more prone to act out and could be more distracted in the classroom, they found.

The researchers also investigated cases of adults who were spanked as children and found the more they were smacked, the more likely they were to experience mental health problems.

They were also more likely to smack their own children - perpetuating the negative cycle.

In the UK, current laws allow 'reasonable chastisement' to control a child, but parents can be prosecuted if their actions result in injuries such as bruises, cuts or scratches.

Debate was recently ignited over the subject in the US when presidential hopeful Ted Cruz suggested voters would deliver a spanking to Hillary Clinton for allegedly being dishonest– just like he does to his five-year-old daughter when she lies.

His comments reignited the old debate on whether it is reasonable to smack a child.

And recently, in Canada, following a call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to prohibit spanking, the Liberal government has promised to abolish a parent's right to physically discipline children.

Along similar legal lines, in June 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the state was justified in denying foster parenting privileges to a couple who supported spanking or paddling children.


Spanking and Child Outcomes: Old Controversies and New Meta-Analyses.

Gershoff, Elizabeth T. & Grogan-Kaylor, Andrew


Whether spanking is helpful or harmful to children continues to be the source of considerable debate among both researchers and the public. This article addresses 2 persistent issues, namely whether effect sizes for spanking are distinct from those for physical abuse, and whether effect sizes for spanking are robust to study design differences. Meta-analyses focused specifically on spanking were conducted on a total of 111 unique effect sizes representing 160,927 children. Thirteen of 17 mean effect sizes were significantly different from zero and all indicated a link between spanking and increased risk for detrimental child outcomes. Effect sizes did not substantially differ between spanking and physical abuse or by study design characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Journal of Family Psychology, Apr 7 , 2016


Saying a he is a “he” is not what offends.

The political correction officer is playing a social dominance game with you.  He is making himself to be offended with you so that you will obey him.

He uses your desire to avoid offending him as a tool to establish social roles. You are supposed to assume the role as the inferior, the lower order, the ignorant, the follower, the benighted. He assumes the role as the superior, the higher order, the wiseman, the leader, the enlightened.

Of course he is offended and most deeply so!

He is offended at your insubordination. You are an uppity niggra. If the lower orders shoot off their mouths and starting thinking for themselves, why, there will be rebellion among the proles and slaves. So shut up.

He is not offended at your lack of courtesy. That is risible.

No politically correct person has ever displayed the courtesy of a swine since the beginning of the world: they neither doff their caps to ladies, nor ask if you need any comfort, nor listen to your point of view, nor salute you will courteous greetings, nor say “sir” and “ma’am” and “miss” and “missus” like anyone not raised in a barn would do.

Indeed, they go out of their way to cheat these forms of address, and will call God by the pronoun “She” and call the year “CE” just to see how often they can offend and insult Christians without being slapped in the mouth.

I have never known one not to use four letter crudities or to encouraging others to do so. Even their most grave politicians in public swear in a fashion former generations, who had a right view of the dignity of man, would never have had allowed.

No doubt the politically correct lunatics you’ve met really act vexed and hostile if you call Bruce Jenner “he” as logic, love of truth, common sense, common decency and good grammar demand, but you are utterly insane if you consider their insanity to be legitimate.

If I have a bit of paper I claim is the title deed to the Moon and I say by right you owe me money for getting light from my moon without paying me, my title deed has no legal force or effect, because, despite my claim, I have no legal right to moonlight. In reality, by international treaty, no man owns the moon and, by logic, no one can own the moonlight, since it is a free good.

Likewise here: if a man grows vexed and irate, and wets his pants and shrieks like a loon and rolls on the ground in a pool of his own spleenish vomit because you will not call a crazy person who cuts off his dick and dresses in girly clothing a “she”, his vexation is a sign of his witlessness, not a sign of his due righteous indignation. It is as phony as the alleged title deed to the moon. Even if I believe I own the moon with my whole heart, as strong as I can make myself believe what I want to believe, I am outside my rights, and my claim on you for money is invalid.

So here. A man has no right to demand you pretend him a woman, no matter how badly he wants it.

He has no right to be vexed if you do not give what he has no right to ask.

A man can act offended at anything he wishes, but if he has no right to be offended, he act is just an act. He should be chided, silenced, and, if he will not conform to the demands of polite society, be removed from it. If he grows violent, he should be confined, or killed. That is what you owe him.

He is the one being very offensive, not you.


Nanny State to Regulate Daycare Foods

The Department of Agriculture is broadening its increasingly intrusive and unauthorized role of parent when it comes to daycares. The agency has officially enacted a new rule that lays down strict new boundaries on what foods millions of Child and Adult Care Food Program beneficiaries can and cannot eat. And who do we have to thank for that? Unelected first lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move scheme, of course.

According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The regulation will only allow daycare centers to serve juice once a day, will ban fried foods, and encourages centers to not add honey to a child’s yogurt.” Moreover, “The final rule will apply to participating organizations in USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program, which reimburses centers for meals and snacks. Over 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults participate in the program every day.”

The government claims it “recognizes that there may be times when a provider would like to serve foods or beverages that are not reimbursable, such as on a child’s birthday or another special occasion.” Therefore, “Providers still have the flexibility to serve non-reimbursable foods and beverages of their choosing. However, FNS [Food and Nutrition Service] encourages providers to use their discretion when serving non-reimbursable foods and beverages, which may be higher in added sugar, solid fats, and sodium, to ensure children and adult participants' nutritional needs are met.”

Hey, don’t say the government never did anything for you. Because nothing says liberty like the nanny state letting you eat what you want on your birthday. Or something.


Michael Brull just does not understand Australia's day of remembrance

Michael Brull is a far-Leftist Australian Jew.  So he hates Israel and Australia in roughly equal measures. But he is always good for a laugh.  His talent for missing the point is unfailing.  As with many Leftist articles, his article below is very long-winded. I have however reproduced it all so that people can see that he just doesn't get it.

Yet his basic point can be expressed quite simply.  He says that Leftist criticism of the ANZAC commemorations is somehow disallowed or suppressed.  But he quite spoils his own argument by listing towards the beginning of his article all the Leftists who HAVE criticised it, some of them quite prominent.

And if such criticisms have been suppressed, how is it that way back in the benighted early '60s my junior High School curriculum included a study of what is probably the most anti-ANZAC story ever written -- Seymour's "One day of the year".  And that was during the Prime Ministership of Sir Robert Menzies, an archetypal conservative.  Brull is talking through his anus.

He seems to have realized that his article lacked point and was  wandering all around the place like Brown's cows so he concluded it by saying:  "We are entitled to different values, and we are entitled to say so".  It's a conclusion that is quite detached from the rest of his article.  If he had shown that someone has denied him those entitlements, it might have made sense -- but he did not.  All he shows is that conservatives sometimes criticize  criticisms from Leftists.  Is it not allowed to criticize Leftist criticisms?  Is it only Leftists who are allowed to criticize? He seems to think so:  Typical Leftist bigotry.

The big thing that is totally missing from his article is any awareness that ANZAC day is a day on which we remember the premature deaths of our relatives.  I had relatives who died in both world wars.  I never knew them.  I was too young at the time.  But I know the families and know they must have been people like me who felt like me and I know how grievous their deaths were at the time. An uncle Freddie of mine in particular was much loved and I regret that I never got the chance to know him. 

And most people who attend ANZAC day ceremonies are like that.  Their degree of  closeness to the dead will vary but they will all be mourning relatives.  And the ex-servicemen who march will be remembering close friends who were lost.

And enlisting in the armed forces is an heroic act.  We walk into great danger.  We offer to put our lives on line to defend our families from an enemy.  And on ANZAC day we honour that heroism

And, Yes. I myself did voluntarily enlist and serve in the Australian army in the Vietnam era.  I never got to Vietnam but I did apply to go

Go beyond the tedium of mainstream Anzac Day coverage and you’ll see the meaning ascribed to the Day, and the way the history around it is constructed, remain hotly contested. In a fundamentally political disagreement, shutting sceptics out should be seen as an act of political correctness, writes Michael Brull.

Once again, Anzac Day has sneaked up on me. For those of us who are unpatriotic, it is easy to feel like we’re a negligible minority. It is easy to think that your feelings of ambivalence, indifference, or even hostility to Anzac Day are totally marginal and isolated. It is just you and a few of your friends, while the rest of the nation patriotically gets up early and cries on cue at the heroism of our diggers. Yet the truth is that there is plenty of dissent about Anzac. The only reason you don’t hear about it so often is that it’s usually shut out of the mainstream media.

Right-wingers are perfectly aware of this. Since 2009, right-wing historian Mervyn Bendle has been complaining about academics trashing the Anzac legend, in a series of long and tedious essays for Quadrant. The “intelligentsia and the Left”, he complains, offer a perfunctory nod to the bravery of the Australian soldiers in World War One, only to follow by emphasising what they think really matters: an approach which is “always critical, debunking and even denunciatory of the legend, applying a form of methodological nihilism to allege that at the core of the Anzac legend there is nothing—only meaninglessness, futility, error, ‘a nightmare happening in a void’ as George Orwell remarked of Great War literature. Alternatively, if there is something at the core of the legend, it is shown by the revisionist to be unworthy, wicked and iniquitous—militarism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism, masculinism—and therefore can and must be condemned and ridiculed.”

One summary of a collection of academic writings by Adrian Howe, an Associate Professor at RMIT University, identifies the Anzac legend as “a masculinist and British imperialist military tradition”; a “nationalistic, militaristic tradition [that is]class-based, race-based, ethnocentric and male-centred”; while Anzac Day is “a day celebrating Anglo-Australian manhood, militarism and a bloody defeat in an imperialist war [and]should be abolished”.

The list of offending scholars is long. They include Anthony Burke, Mark McKenna, Henry Reynolds, Marilyn Lake, James Brown, and David Horner. Military historians come in for a particular scolding, including Joan Beaumont, Brown and Horner again, Peter Stanley, and two books edited by Craig Stockings. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating is also counted among the unpatriotic. Bendle grumbles that in a speech, Keating “largely regurgitated the nihilist view that the conflict was pointless and futile, which has long been the default ideological position of the Left.” Alas, Keating dismissed “the war as the lamentable product of European tribalism, ethnic atavism, nationalism and racism in which Australia had no stake”.

Bendle assures readers in the tiny, largely unread magazine of the aggressive, purportedly highbrow intellectual right that Keating’s “facile, unhistorical ramblings” are wrong: “the Anzacs who sacrificed their lives or their health in battle did so for a great cause. To pretend otherwise is to betray their memory.” Thus, to doubt the cause of World War One, 100 years later is to betray the soldiers. It turns out that to be properly patriotic, we must not just mourn the dead. We must also celebrate the reasons they were sent to die.

In a sense, Anzac Day isn’t just about remembering suffering of soldiers. The sanctification of their memory is done with a political intent, with particular political aims.

The parallels to today are not hard to find. Many people thought it was really terrific how there were such widespread demonstrations around the world before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even if they didn’t stop the war, at least they showed anti-war sentiment. Was there any precedent for such anti-imperialism?

Yes, there was. Adam Hochschild reminds us of the large anti-war demonstrations across Europe before World War One. As Austria declared war on Serbia, 100,000 protesters converged at the heart of Berlin against war. The French Socialist leader Jean Jaurès stood with his arm around Hugo Haase, co-chair of the German Social Democrats, before an audience of Belgian workers. In Britain, Keir Hardie spoke to an enormous crowd at Trafalgar Square, “the largest demonstration there in years”. To wild cheers, according to Hochschild, he urged a general strike in the event of war.

As is known, these protests more or less ended as the war started. As in 2003, the media decided to “support our soldiers”. Like Bendle, this support for the soldiers in practical terms meant stifling any doubts or criticisms about the cause for which they were sent. Though the interests of soldiers and the politicians who command them are not necessarily the same, they are conflated by leading political figures. The loyal scribes of these politicians assure the public that to doubt the politicians is to doubt the soldiers, and how dare anyone cast aspersions on those risking their lives to keep us safe and defend our freedom? How dare anyone belittle the sacrifice of the soldiers, by questioning the values and wisdom of the politicians who send them into harm’s way?

Last year, Scott McIntyre was fired from the SBS for his blasphemies about Anzac Day, at the behest of Malcolm Turnbull, then, judging by Turnbull’s own words, the Minister for Right-Wing Communications. Though McIntyre’s tweets were condensed due to the nature of the medium, his supposedly inflammatory comments were duly analysed by academic specialists on the Anzacs. Professor Phillip Dwyer, Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at University of Newcastle, agreed that the Anzacs were “no angels”, whose members included those who behaved in “overtly racist manner”, and also rapes and summary executions. Geoff Lemon observed that it was hard to argue that Gallipoli was “an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with”.

Recording historical facts about wrongdoing by Anzacs makes it harder to valorise the soldiers. They shift from becoming our heroic diggers, to human beings, many of whom acted in the flawed ways armies often act in conflict zones. Yet historians have not just challenged the factual basis for hero-ising the soldiers. They are also resolutely sceptical about the value of worshipping the Anzacs. Frank Bongiorno commented that “Anzac’s inclusiveness has been achieved at the price of a dangerous chauvinism that increasingly equates national history with military history, and national belonging with a willingness to accept the Anzac legend as Australian patriotism’s very essence.”

Academics are not infallible. Academic specialists can be wrong, just as academic specialties can function to mostly serve power. Anyone who has too much reverence for academic specialists should revisit the performance of all the economists who failed to predict the 2008 crash. They may know more than the rest of us about what happened during the war, but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily more right about the reverence with which the Anzacs should be treated.

My point in reviewing their Anzac scepticism is not to suggest that academics verify or vindicate such suspicion. It is to suggest that jingoism tries to pretend a moral or political disagreement is somehow inherently illegitimate. There are many different ways to approach history. Trying to sanctify one approach to one aspect, and acting horrified at those who dissent from this particular approach is a political act.

As noted by Jumbunna researcher Paddy Gibson, in response to Aboriginal protests of Invasion Day, Prime Minister Bob Hawke started to push Anzac Day as an alternative to Australia Day as a way to cement Australian nationalism. This support for Anzac Day since the late 1980s has revived and reshaped Anzac Day, as the government has sought to push Anzac Day, and the particular values of its modern incarnation, on the general public. This culminated in the extravaganza of last year, when the government spent over $300 million on Anzac commemorations. Yet there were signs this had limited effects. Australians didn’t tune in to the World War One documentaries. Attempts to flog Anzac merchandise were increasingly seen as tacky. Everyone tried to cash in. Woolworths and Target put the Anzacs in their marketing. Now folded soft-porn mag Zoo featured a woman in a bikini with a poppy to mark the special day.

This kind of marketing was seen by some as exploitative. But using Anzac Day as a way to promote the virtue of World War One while hiding behind the political sanctity of Australian soldiers who died seems comparably cynical.

If we’re going to remember the past, and celebrate parts of it, why single out Australian soldiers? Why not celebrate Aboriginal warriors, who died resisting the invasion of their land and the decimation of their peoples and cultures? Why not celebrate trade unionists, who secured some of the best working conditions and entitlements across the world, and kept Australia one of the more egalitarian Western countries until the 1980s? Why not celebrate the suffragettes, who earned white women the vote in Australia before most of the rest of the world? Why not celebrate the activists for Aboriginal rights, who fought for land rights, treaty and sovereignty? Or those who won Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the vote, and dismantled most elements of formal racial discrimination in Australia? Why not remember and celebrate the Australians who fought against World War One? Or those who successfully campaigned against conscription in Australia during World War One, or those who successfully ended Australian involvement in the war on Vietnam?

We can imagine a conservative response to these suggestions. Ah, but you see, these are political choices. Celebrating feminists, anti-imperialists, Aboriginal resistance and trade unionists doesn’t reflect the entire political spectrum. We couldn’t base nationalism on the political values of a segment of the population. It would leave out the rest of us.

Perhaps that’s fair enough. But what about those who feel left out by Anzac Day? Honouring those who fought in a war, while refusing to permit reflections on whether the war was unjust or not, is political. And so are nationalism and patriotism.

Some people may be proud Australians, who think ours is the greatest country on earth, with a largely, if not entirely unblemished history. Those who disagree are not committing a crime, they are simply engaged in a political disagreement. Australians who are horrified at Anzac sceptics are simply trying to enforce their political correctness on the rest of us. We are entitled to different values, and we are entitled to say so.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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