I hated the wooden spoon. To this day should I be walking benignly through the kitchen section of a department store (in other words when the moon turns into pizza and Paris Hilton enters a convent) and I happen to see a large wooden spoon I break out into horrific sweating, acne and some evasive 70’s dance moves. While many mothers would use a wooden spoon to stir up chocolate chip cookie dough, others would use the wooden spoon to stir up the circulation in the keysters of naughty children. My mother was in this latter category, bless her heart. Simply rattling the kitchen drawer with the wooden spoon would rattle my kneecaps, like the (Pavlovian) dog I was and am. “Don’t make me get the wooden spoon” would echo through our house like it was the Waltons saying good night.
“Good night Maggie”
“Good night Liz”
“Good night David”
“Good night Mom”
“Don’t make me get the wooden spoon!”
But I developed pretty zippy reflexes thanks to the feared spoon o’ discipline. As it would come hurtling down upon my outstretched hand I would jerk my hand away at the last second leaving the spoon to come crashing into the table and snap at the spoon head. The head would skitter rapidly across the floor past the dog, broken beyond repair. Better it than most my of my metacarpals. Little did I realize that by avoiding that spoon I was increasing my own IQ. Because of my quick reflexes my IQ shot up several points to where it now rests, somewhere between 77 and 77, I’m proud to say. Spanking is not good for a child’s IQ or for stupid wooden spoons.
A study of 17,000 university students in 32 countries indicated that “the higher the percentage of parents who used corporal punishment, the lower the national average IQ.”
You are now thinking:
- They must beat the heck out of the kids in Crawford, Texas,
- Did these university kids realize that the questionnaire referred to childhood spanking
- Wooden spoon? Hell, I got the 8 foot sandpaper belt with 8 inch hooks on it.
Young children who were not spanked had IQ’s on average five points higher than kids with smarting keysters. Was this lower IQ a result of genes, a spanking parent not necessarily being the crispiest chip in the bag? It turns out that the lowering of IQ was also a function of how young the child was and the frequency of spanking. Thus kids who were spanked at an earlier age had the lowest IQ as did kids like me who were spanked each time the cuckoo came out of the clock.
It is known that our brains are constantly being sculpted by our experiences, even into old age. This neural scaffolding is influenced by negative stressors which can impair certain neural processes. To children spanking is just hitting, hence children who were spanked at age one were more aggressive children by age two.
A study of low income families showed that about one-third of mothers of 1-year-olds reported that they or someone in their household had spanked their child in the last week, while about half of the mothers of two and three-year-olds reported that their child had been spanked. The average number of spankings for these 1-year-olds was 2.6 per week, while the average for 2-year-olds was nearly three. By age 3 these children performed worse on tests of thinking ability.
Time to start making more cookie dough.