Recently I got into a dispute with my significant other. We seemed to clash with the views we had on spanking children. I will preempt this blog with the fact that I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person, with a mother whose profession is Early Childhood Education- I’m guessing you know which side of the argument I took. I attempted to not overreact and failed hopelessly. I just couldn’t get over it, and I knew I needed to do my research so I had facts to back me up; luckily, my mom sent me a really helpful article.
Psychology Today wrote a wonderfully clear-cut article on how spanking your kids is harmful to their health. Their evidence is backed up with over 50 years of research done by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan. After sampling over 160,000 children the results discovered that spanking your child was almost as detrimental as physical abuse; such as punching (Psychologytoday.com). In the article they split the outcomes into short-term and long-term, and they explained the unfavorable effects that each brought with it. Short-term effects of spanking for discipline were noted as depression, anti-social behavior, a higher level of aggressive behavior, low self-esteem, and a poor relationship formed between the parent and the child. The long-term results displayed signs of mental illness, anti-social behavior, as well as anxiety (Psychologytoday.com). The apple doesn’t seem to fall far from the tree either- adults who were spanked as children tend to spank their own kids while adults who were never spanked as a child cannot bear the idea of it.
I know that this can be a controversial topic, and since I started researching this I have been asking all my friends whether or not they were spanked when they were younger. I received an alarming amount of stories of soap in the mouth, wooden spoons on the backs of hands, leather belts, and spanking. It seems a great deal of people in my life were more familiar with physical punishment than I knew- and my friends are amazing…so who am I to judge? Everyone is raised differently with various backgrounds and parents who deal with things in their own ways.
Of course we need to be skeptical of the information we hear everyday- a lot of it is complete bogus. Like the pop-quizzes in class have been demonstrating, we need to be wary of what we read, and how/if we are going to decide to act on it! Direct causality could turn out to be reverse causality. If some of my friends were spanked when they were younger and are now fine, how much harm did the spanking do? The research shows that it is not beneficial in any way, and that although it can give you immediate obedience, it could be disastrous in the long run. And we always need to consider the correlation could be completely up to chance. Basically we need to think critically- as Andrew reminds us daily.
Although I agree with the research and my opinion is obviously biased in this blog, I also know that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. And if you are ever a parent one day you can choose how you want to raise your child. I hope you found this blog interesting and revealing- let me know your thoughts!
If you are just as interested in this topic as I am, here is another short but informative article- Aha!