The Associated Press, September 24, 2000

Conservative leader holds spanking demonstration

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Citing verses from the Bible, a conservative leader this week showed 50 parents how to teach their children an indelible lesson.

"You spank them right here on the gluteus maximus, which God made for that purpose," said Marvin Munyon as he demonstrated proper corporal punishment on a teenage boy at the Eau Claire Gospel Center.

Some social workers and psychologists were alarmed by his message.

Munyon, president of the conservative Madison group Family Research Forum, quoted Bible verses throughout the 2 1/2 hour session Friday, saying physical punishment was the most effective deterrent for misbehavior.

He said spanking builds self-esteem because it lets children know they are loved, and parents should start spanking their children around age 2.

"If you wait too long to begin physical discipline, it may be too late," Munyon said.

Before applying paddle or switch, he said, parents should let their children know what the punishment is for.

Maureen Jensen, youth-adult coordinator with the Family Resource Center, said studies have shown that spanking causes harmful long-term effects on children.

"We work hard to promote a more pro-active approach to child rearing than a punitive means like spanking," she said. "Study after study shows spanking promotes violent behavior by children."

Allen Keniston, associate professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said he believes parents who spank are taking the easy way out.

Setting reasonable expectations, talking things out and enforcing other punishments are just as effective, he said.

"Of course it's possible to have discipline in your house without resorting to spanking," he said. "It just takes a lot more effort on the part of the parent than simply spanking."

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