Disciplining your kids is just a normal and necessary part of parenting, and every parent has their own ideas of the best way to go about it. But researchers are mostly in agreement that spanking should be avoided at all costs.
Corporal punishment has been around since the dawn of humanity, but it was sailors who started the paddling tradition in the 1700s. Sailors who fell asleep during night watch duty would receive a paddling, or “cobbing,” as it was referred to back then. Spanking also became a common punishment for misbehaving children around the same time.
Spanking came to the Americas along with slavery. It was a way for slave owners to punish their slaves without leaving marks, as slaves with markings would be deemed “less valuable” for future potential buyers.
According to the mission statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, spanking is used in order to modify the child’s behavior without causing physical injury. Whether parents choose to spank their kids is mainly based on their own childhood experiences.
If you were regularly spanked as a child, how often do you sit back and think, “I’m so glad my parent loved me enough to hit me”? Probably not often. Instead of teaching kids a valuable lesson, spanking or corporal punishment may end up simply garnering resentment or destroying trust, and that’s the opposite of what most parents want.
Murray Straus, PhD and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire asks, “Why is it okay for an adult to hit a child when it isn’t even acceptable for an adult to pick on someone his own size? There have been plenty of times when my colleagues have disagreed with me or made me upset, but that doesn’t give me the right to haul off and hit ‘em.”
Often times children will receive a spanking when they hit another child or partake in an otherwise violent act. Just think about the hypocrisy in that scenario for a moment. So, hitting a child in order to correct their actions is supposed to teach them that hitting is wrong? Are we understanding that correctly…?
10. It Can Lead To Mental Health Issues And Addiction
While spanking and outright physical abuse can often be classified as two separate categories, research has shown that the two actions have led to very similar negative outcomes in children, including a higher risk of anxiety disorders and drug and alcohol dependence.
A study at the University of New Hampshire found that “kids who hadn’t been spanked … scored significantly better on intelligence and achievement tests than those who had been hit.” This is because spanking or hitting is associated with stress and fear, which can make it harder for kids to focus and learn.