A new study shows spanking your kids might have the opposite effect of what you had hoped.Every parent understands the struggle of an ornery child who just won't listen. They know exactly how to test your patience in ways that will make you feel like they aren't listening to you. This is usually where some form of punishment takes place so that they will learn their lesson and hopefully never attempt that behavior again. This may be in the form of a time-out, confiscation of their phone, forbidding them from seeing their friends, or physical punishment -- otherwise known as spanking. Spanking is one of the oldest forms of punishments for a child. Some of your elders may even recall being physically punished in school or, more commonly, at home. Nine times out of 10 you knew that if you did something wrong, the threat of your parent using the belt usually made you think twice about your actions. However, spanking might not be as effective as originally thought. According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, it turns out that spanking as punishment can have negative effects on a child's behavior as they grow older. The study examined 160,000 children over five different decades. Of those children who were spanked as a child, the study revealed that they are more likely to have mental health problems, increased antisocial behavior, cognitive problems, and are more likely to not listen to their parents. Spanking actually does the exact opposite of what the parents want. According to Andrew Grogan-Taylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, who worked on the study, “The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want to do."
“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," said Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin. The study focused on the form of spanking alone and was eye-opening to the fact that spanking might not be the end-all be-all when it comes to punishment. In fact, the moral of this entire study is that spanking does not make your child more successful or improve morale or behavior. Perhaps a new form of punishment should be implemented?
Of course, each family home is different. When it comes to parenting, each parent has their own style, and in fact, most courts support a parent's right to spank their child. This study was conducted as a generalization and cannot be applied to all home situations. However, Gershoff’s team writes:
Do you spank your children? Did you as a form of punishment as they grew up? What ways do you punish your children? We want to know! Please tell us in the comments.Positive reinforcement for alternative behaviors is extremely effective. We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline.”