Research and studies have shown time and time again that spanking children can lead to lifelong problems. It has been proven that the more a child is spanked, the more likely they are to have behavior problems. Some of these behavior problems include, increased anti-asocial behavior (lying, cheating, stealing), aggression, mental health problems (depression, OCD, anxiety) and cognitive difficulties (increased learning disabilities). Even with all of the research, parents are still spanking their children and often times with objects more than their hands.
How is spanking defined?
Spanking has been defined as “physically non-injurious, intended to modify behavior, and administered with the open hand to the extremities or buttocks.” This definition does not include the use of foreign objects that parents may use to discipline their children (hairbrushes, brushes, paddles, wood spoon etc.). Using foreign objects as a form of spanking will increase the effects of spanking.
Is spanking illegal?
There are hundreds of studies showing that spanking can lead to traumatic effects, but is it illegal? In many European countries spanking is completely banned and is considered a criminal act. The United Nations Convention has outlawed any physical discipline even within the confines of the family. However, many Americans (even with all of the research) still think that spanking is a good way to discipline their children.
Americans still like to spank their children
Currently, all 50 states give their residents the right to spank their children. The courts have decided that parents have the right to raise the children the way that they think they should. This includes the way that they would like to discipline their children. Although they allow to discipline their child, it must be done in moderation and cannot cause injury.
Many states have more specific laws with child corporal punishment to protect children further. For example, California has a law against child abuse and will punish anyone who “willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition.”
Studies and Research
Studies have proven that spanking is not good for the emotional health of children. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology looks at five decades of research involving over 160,000 children. This research is the most complete analysis that has ever been done of the outcomes associated with spanking and the effects of spanking. The study found that spanking was “associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcome when they discipline their children.” In other words, spanking doesn’t work for the purpose that the parents intend (discipline and compliance).
Spanking Gives Negative Results
Another famous study was created by Gershoff and Andrew Grogan-Kaylor. They found that spanking has a significant link with 13 of the 17 outcomes that were examine, all in direction of detrimental outcomes. Grogan-Kaylor said:
The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do.
So, parents are spanking their children to become better people, but it actually increases their chances to be more anti-social and unaccepted by their behavior in society.
Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor tested some of the long-term effects of some adults who were spanked when they were young. The studies proved that the more they were spanked, the more likely they were to show anti-social behavior and actually have more of a chance to deal with mental health problems as they get older. The adults who were spanked as children are more likely to spank their children, which causes the act of spanking to be passed from generation to generation.
Should you spank your child?
Studies have shown time and time again that spanking is bad for children and can create emotionally weak and anti-social adults. So, why are parents still spanking their children? Quite a bit of adults were spanked as children and they assume that it worked for them and so it will work for their children as well.
Parents believe that by using physical punishment they will give a negative emotion to whatever action the child was doing and the child will not want to do that action anymore. However, what parents don’t understand is that spanking is doing the complete opposite of what their intentions are.
Stop spanking your child! It’s easy as that.
Don’t let your anger take over your emotions. Think about positive alternatives to spanking such as positive reinforcement, set a better example for them so they know how to behave, give them logical consequences, give choices instead of just saying “no”, or have the child make up their negative behavior. There are so many other options besides hitting that lead to positive effects and create healthier adults.