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Ted Cruz’s Terrible Parenting Advice

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/AJ MAST
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/AJ MAST

Ted Cruz is running for President of the United States. If he succeeds, he wants you to know that he’ll bring spanking back to the White House. But while his parenting advice polls well, the latest research shows it’s not great for children.

At a rally in Indiana last night, Cruz was interrupted by a young protester. Cruz told the audience that the boy deserved a spanking.

Cruz said that parents’ willingness to spank children comes down to “who we are as a people.”

Cruz has said on the trail that he spanks his 5-year-old daughter, Catherine, if she “says something she knows to be false.” (He then encouraged voters to administer “a spanking” to Hillary Clinton for allegedly lying about Benghazi.)

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Cruz’s pro-spanking plank is politically savvy. About 80% of Republicans agree that it is “sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard, spanking.” Over 60% of Democrats and Independents also agree.

While politicians benefit, the latest scientific research concludes that spanking is generally detrimental for children. A massive meta-analysis of 160,000 children, published last month in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that “[t]he more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.”

The study found that spanking had roughly the same negative impact on children as physical abuse. Elizabeth Gershoff, one of the lead authors of the study, said her research showed spanking and physical abuse were not “distinct behaviors.”

Earlier this year, citing the detrimental impact on children, the CDC called for a “public engagement and education campaigns and legislative approaches to reduce corporal punishment,” including spanking.