Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is Spanking Harmful?

New Study Shows Spanking is Not Child’s Play

For the last few decades the debate about whether or not parents should utilize corporal punishment such as spanking has heated up over the emotional implications that it can bring. An intriguing new scientific report that has just been released indicates that not only are there emotional risks associated with spanking, but there are very real medical risks as well.

Analysis done by Canadian researchers of more than 80 studies shows that “Spanking children can cause long-term developmental change and may even lower a child’s IQ…”. The report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal addresses what authors feel has been an under-examined and ignored portion of the discipline debate – the medical implications that spanking can cause for children.

The results of this recent study are these. Physical punishment:

  • makes children more physically aggressive.
  • makes children more antisocial.
  • contributes to cognitive impairment.
  • contributes to developmental hurdles.
  • reduces the brain’s grey matter – a negative outcome significant and relevant to IQ testing.
  • Increases the likelihood of future substance abuse.
  • Increases the likelihood of future issues with depression.
  • Has no documented future benefits.

The point that authors of this study keep trying to point to is that when there are other medical issues and discoveries made, such as the benefits of taking certain vitamins or risks of consuming certain medications, society readily accepts these findings as fact and makes better, more informed choices. However, even in light of all of this research many societies all over the world still generally accept spanking as a legitimate form of discipline (although it is illegal in 32 countries).

Alternatives to Spanking

It seems that the old adage isn’t necessarily – “When you know better, you do better.” In this instance it seems that a little bit more than knowledge needs to be gained. Parents need tools for healthier forms of discipline.

When parents were raised in homes where spanking was a possible discipline method, chances increase that they will turn to that same method. Instead of just using the tools of the past, however, parents need to make a commitment for positive change.

Begin by understanding why you choose to spank. Some parents justify it as a quick action that gets immediate results, especially in situations where the child doesn’t seem to grasp his parent’s urgency. The choice is always the parents’, though, and blaming the actions of the children instead of the reactions of the parents doesn’t put the focus where it belongs. All children misbehave. The focus needs to be on how parents choose to handle their reactions.

Make a commitment to only touch your child in loving, respectful ways. When my husband and I first became parents we talked about how we only wanted to respond to our children how we hoped that they would learn to respond to others, and that didn’t include spanking or physical aggression.

Teach yourself some new methods for relaxation and focus, such as counting, removing yourself from the situation if necessary, folding your hands as if in prayer (maybe not a bad idea at this point!), deep breathing, and quickly reminding yourself of at least one special thing about your child. It is hard to resort to spanking if you are remembering his first birthday party.

  • For those little ones 18 months and younger, redirection and positive reinforcement of good behaviors is the best deterrent of negative behaviors.
  • Toddlers still respond to redirection, but clear and stern verbal instructions can be added into the mix. It is important to be consistent, as this is the age when your toddler will push those buttons as hard and as often as possible to test the waters of independence.
  • The early elementary years offer important opportunities for positive communication, clear rules and boundaries, and clear and consistent consequences. It is also a good time to let some of those consequences be discovered by your child, as independent learning is often the best teacher.
  • In the tween and teen years we are back to the waters of independence, only with taller and smarter children. Discipline during these ages needs to be as unemotional as possible so that you don’t create a tense situation or build up walls between you and your child. Learn to choose your battles carefully and find ways to respect the individuality of your kids. The more you do this, the less often you might feel no other option than spanking.

Related posts:

  1. Don’t Raise a Meanie
  2. What Is Behavior Modification?
  3. Help Your Kids Fight Their Fears

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!