Spanking study misses the mark

Researchers link spanking to aggression


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," February 10, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: So, according to a new review of old research, spanking or slapping your child can have a long-term harmful effect on your hands. Sorry, I meant child.

The researchers point to links between such punishment and increased child aggression -- meaning when you hit a kid, you create a kid who hits, which makes if you are a rotten parent. What else does the poor kid have to go on? There could be a genetic component, too, or propensity for aggression that could run on the family.

But also, this data to me seems misleading. It's as if the researchers had lumped all physical discipline together under the umbrella of violence.

But come on, there's a difference between lightly paddling a behind with a newspaper and smacking a face. A thoughtful parent knows the difference. A horrible jerk of a dad cannot.

So, what do the experts behind this study suggest you do instead? Provide them with reward or praise.

That's garbage, too. We know this. Research found that always praising kids is also harmful, making them shy away from real challenges. That is rewarding a child for idiocy means they could be idiots forever.

But I don't have kids. It's a deal I made with authorities. So, let's turn to an expert on child rearing who's been really successful raising valuable members of society.

Hey, mom. How are you?

GREG'S MOM, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): OK. And how are you?

GUTFELD: I'm doing fine.

So, mom, we're talking about spanking.

GREG'S MOM: Oh, yes.

GUTFELD: How do you feel about spanking?

GREG'S MOM: I just don't believe in it, because it doesn't do any good. I mean, it makes kids angrier than they were.

GUTFELD: Do you have no memory at all of chasing me around the living room with a flyswatter?

GREG'S MOM: My gosh, honey, I'm 87 years old. And God has given me the grace to forget a lot of things.

GUTFELD: That's my point. You don't remember the flyswatter do you?

GREG'S MOM: No, I don't. I have several that are broken. Do you think it's the problem?

GUTFELD: I think the broken flyswatter should be a hint that something might have occurred back in the early '70s.

GREG'S MOM: Yes. Now, you be a good boy and I won't come to New York and hit you.

GUTFELD: OK. I like how she wraps up the segment. See you later, mom. Love you.


GUTFELD: Well, I guess she knows best. I think.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I bet you were a big troublemaker.

GUTFELD: I wasn't. I had good grades.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Can I say something?


BOLLING: Your mom is adorable.



GUTFELD: Now, actually, that's not really my mom. That was a pretape of me in a wig. It had a serious, serious problem.

Dana, we were talking in the green room. You were beaten regularly.

PERINO: Can't you tell? I did get spanked, though.


PERINO: I mean, I kind of -- I could be sarcastic and talk back sometimes.


PERINO: Yes, really. This is true. Sometimes I especially got spanked with a wooden spoon. My mom is watching right now and I'm sorry I just told the world that. But it's true. It really hurt. I would be nervous, if she reached for the wooden spoon, I would shut up.

GUTFELD: Imagine how the spoon felt.

PERINO: I know. Must have hurt that.

GUTFELD: Eric? Any history --

BOLLING: I have a 13-year-old. I wouldn't -- I just won't do it. I'm not for it. I'm against it.

But I will tell you a quick story. It went to Jesuit high school. One day, the gym teacher walked in just when I was pulling a mat out of a kid who was jumping on the mat, he fell on his butt. He saw me do it. He said, at the time you were allowed to hit, (INAUDIBLE) corporal punishment.

He said, you know, grab the ankles, grab the ankles. And I got paddle, the baseball bat. I'll tell you, it works. I was pretty good for the rest of four years for high school.

GUTFELD: I think that kind of punishment works when the thing you have done involves some kind of physical activity, like if you threw a rock at somebody, or you vandalized. The idea -- the physical punishment is always good in memorable. It's when people do it just in the middle of Wal-Mart because you won't stop crying.

Kimberly, you once worked at a place where you administered spanking.


GUILFOYLE: Oh, you mean because I'm recession proof?



GUILFOYLE: I have a little boy. Five.

GUTFELD: Beautiful boy.


GUTFELD: How do you feel about this issue?

GUILFOYLE: Well, you know, I don't spank. He's -- we talk about it, like you know, he is strong, aggressive kid. But he listens, he obeys. So that's a good way to teach boys. You know, you don't need to hit them, if you have -- if they have respect for you. It's mutual, of course.

And I went to Catholic school. All girls Catholic school and high school, too.

GUTFELD: Even better.

GUILFOYLE: Yes. (INAUDIBLE). But I was never spanked. I've -- when I was older, but not then. Not disciplined.

GUTFELD: Bob, do you think spanking is detrimental?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Sure. You know, I'm glad you said something in the monologue about abuse beyond spanking. Hit people.

I came up in an environment where it went well beyond spanking. I got to tell you, that it is abusive. It certainly leads to aggression, good case in point.

But also, study shows it brings to more addiction. Another case in point.

For people who have been abused out there in their lives, there is some good news here. And that is you learn resiliency skills and you learn how to talk fast, you learn how to cut deals, you learn how to lie on occasion. Perfect training to be a politician or commentator, right?

But for those people and there are a lot of them who are subjected to that, it is a horrible retched thing but there is hope for you. You do better than I did. But at least I did all right.

So, yes, I wouldn't consider it. As a matter of fact, I have seen somebody lift their hand against their kid in a park and I lifted my hand against him. I probably shouldn't have done it. But those things are, it's personal. Yes.

GUTFELD: Yes, but I guess where is this going when this research is being published. Instructing people how to treat their kids or is this going toward laws where you can actually be arrested if you discipline your child? Do you think that's --

GUILFOYLE: That's true.

PERINO: I think some people would probably like that. But I also think that parents are smart enough to figure out -- I mean, the abuse is real, but I think it's a small percentage.

BECKEL: There's probably laws on the books, by the way, if teachers see someone bruised in a school, they have to call authorities. When I was a kid, they never had those laws and so, they never called in. But now, they do. I think it's good thing.

PERINO: You see some of the kids in the store and they do need a spanking.

GUTFELD: Well, that's the other thing. If you were at like Target or Wal-Mart and you're disciplining your kid because your child is throwing something. If another parent comes -- or not a parent, but just some well- meaning person comes in --


BOLLING: I do that, though. If someone is being aggressive the kid in public, I just say listen, don't do it. Cut it out.

PERINO: I just don't see it. I guess I don't get out much.

GUILFOYLE: I've seen it. Yes.

PERINO: I've seen it once in a while. I remember this one kid screamed at her mother "You hate children, obviously." The mother was like, yes, I do. It was a horrible, it was in T.J. Maxx. I remember that very well.

My friend watching today, Jamie, you'll remember that.

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