Check out GSU Sociology Professor Kathleen Roche’s recently-published research:
Roche, K. M., Ghazarian, S. R., Little, T. D., & Leventhal, T. (2011). Understanding links between punitive parenting and adolescent adjustment: The relevance of context and reciprocal associations. Journal Of Research On Adolescence, 21(2), 448-460.
Roche and her colleagues explored, among other things, whether parents’ “sparing the rod” (not using punitive punishment) was more detrimental to adolescents living in disordered/disadvantaged neighborhoods compared with advantaged neighboorhoods – posing that “youth problem behaviors may be amplified as neighborhoods’ dangers increase and when parents do little to regulate youth behaviors.” (p. 450).
Curious as to whether they found that sparing the rod did in fact spoil the child? Read the study to learn more!
And, if you’re game for some historical treatments of this adage, check out some of these online pamphlets available from the Georgia State University Library:
- Enemy to the infamous practice of flogging. (1741). The shameful discipline of the school expos’d; or, Whipping an improper punishment for youth… London: Printed for J. Roberts, at the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane.
- Lover of decency and order in youth. (1741). The benefit of school-discipline: being an answer to a late pamphlet, entitled, The shameful discipline of the schools exposed; or, whipping an improper punishment for youth… London: printed for R. Minors.
- (1797). The two cousins; or, spare the rod and spoil the child. [London]: Printed and sold by John Marshall, London.