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Domestic CP - October 1961

Corpun file 24579 at

Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 26 October 1961

What Young People Think

Spankings Endorsed By Most Youngsters

By Eugene Gilbert
President, Gilbert Youth Research, Inc.

Cartoon: A good spanking has helped many a teen-ager.

This may wind up hurting you young people more than it does me, but it appears the woodshed is here to stay.

We questioned more than a thousand teen-agers across the land and discovered most of them were in favor of spanking as a means of discipline, felt their behavior had improved as a result of being spanked, and didn't intend to spare the rod on their own children.

Speaking from experience, 17-year-old Margaret Gray of Portland, Ind., gave a typical remark: "I know it helped me to realize I was wrong, and it also helped me remember to be good."

Only 25 per cent of the boys and 21 per cent of the girls were opposed to spanking, mostly for reasons similar to that of Stephen Alter, 17, of Newton, Mass.: "It only gives the kids fear, not respect."

The teen-agers were sharply divided, however, as to whether teachers should be allowed to spank unruly students. Eighty per cent of the girls were against it; 76 per cent of the boys in favor of it.

"They take the place of parents," argued Bill Sitko, 14, of Glassport, Pa. "It tends to make a child more rebellious and anti-school," reasoned Helen Loehr, 17, of New York.

Most Spanked

All except 13 per cent of those who had been spanked (and 83 per cent of them had been) felt they deserved it, and they were about equally divided between boys and girls.

"I must have deserved it or I wouldn't have gotten it," said Marcalene Ann Wilmoth, 16, of Bellington, W. Va. Others, like Susan Gitner, 18, of Mattapan, Mass., had similar respect for their parents' judgment. "My parents never spanked on false charges," said Susan.

Press cutting

Sixty-four per cent of the boys and 57 per cent of the girls said their behavior had improved as a result of the spankings, which were administered for a wide variety of reasons.

Judy Johnson, 15, of Bellefonte, Pa., was spanked for being sassy; Gloria Jean Fador, 15, of Bellington, W. Va., got a licking when she knocked over the china closet; and Nancy Ann Myers, 17, of Crawfordsville, Ind., remembers a spanking she got when she was four years old and decided to sit on the railroad tracks.

The majority of the teen-agers (71 per cent of the boys and 65 per cent of the girls) see no harm in spanking, and 69 per cent of the boys and 72 per cent of the girls said they intend to spank their own children.

Among those who disagreed with this theory, 33 per cent said they felt taking away privileges would be more effective. This method was also favored by 47 per cent of the total survey group as the best alternative to spanking. Eighteen per cent suggested punishment in some other form, and 15 per cent said it would be better simply to talk things over with the errant child.

Only 15 per cent of the teen-agers recall their childhood spankings (administered mostly between the ages of 10 and 12) with terror. Most of them recall the experiences only with some degree of displeasure. Sheila Abrams, 16, of Philadelphia, was an exception. Said she:

"Whenever my mother loses her temper, everyone is terrified."

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