Spanking: Spare the Rod, Spare your Child

Spanking is considered by more than a few [1] parents to be necessary in disciplining children, but there are some major problems with it. Though it’s been shown time [2] and time again [3] to have a demonstrably negative effect [4] on kids, authors like Ruben claim:

Fear is essential to respect. Children won’t do what we tell them to do, unless — at some level — they fear the consequences that will come from not doing it. Punishment isn’t a bad word. It’s a life lesson. It’s the way the world works, and, as parents, it’s our job to prepare our kids to enter a world where they learn bad behavior has consequences.

Too many parents today are falling down on the job. The problem isn’t that too many kids get spanked. It’s that some kids who need a spanking might never get one.

Earlier in the article, Ruben Navarrette goes as far as calling out parents that don’t beat their children “When did parents become such wimps?” It’s remarkable considering that every journal paper linked here was written prior to his article — he’d rather perpetuate that parents are “wimpy”, than pick up a book on the subject. An expert opinion, to be sure.

In the most recent surge of research [5] on this subject, however, he’s proven even more incorrect:

While some teachers and parents believe spanking can help regulate and control disorderly students, a new study from the Journal of Family Psychology has found otherwise. According to the study, spanking a young child increases the likelihood of mental health issues and anti-social behavior later on in life. Cognitive difficulties and aggressive behavior could also develop as a result of physical punishment.The study, which involved more than 160,000 children, was carried out by researchers at the University of Texas and the University of Michigan, according to Red Orbit.

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children,” Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor at the University of Texas, told UT News.

She also said that spanking, defined by the study as an open-handed strike on a child lower extremities, is “linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

If you want to learn more about spanking’s effects on children, check out the CNN article, SunSentinel article, or any of these linked journals. Or, for more about children’s mental health, check out our articles on childhood depression and anxiety.

[1] CNN
[2] CNN
[3] Psychology Today
[4] Monitor on Psychology
[5] Journal of Family Psychology
[Original Image] PixaBay

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