WEDNESDAY: How Clever is the Rod?

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NEW YORK: To spank or not to spank? That is the question parents with unruly children have been asking themselves for years. According to recent polls, two- thirds of the nation's pediatricians say yes the occasional whupping might transform disruptive brats into quiet little angels. But while the rod may encourage obedience, researchers at Fordham University now claim spanking may lower a child's IQ.

The study, released this week by Fordham's School of Social Service, focused on 715 children who were given standard IQ tests at one and three years of age. According to the researchers, the IQ scores of girls who received "high levels of harsh discipline" at 12 and 36 months were about eight points lower than girls of the same age who were spared the rod. Boys in the same age group showed similar IQ reductions after being spanked or scolded, but not to the same extent as girls, the study found. An even worse effect was found from a lack of maternal warmth, which when combined with beatings makes your child even less likely to join Mensa.