Read this and you may rethink spanking for good.
Maybe you spank your children for misbehaving, maybe you don’t. Maybe you were spanked as a child as a form of punishment, or perhaps you weren’t. Many people still believe that spanking has little to no effect on their children – afterall, you turned out just fine, right?
Well, maybe not. Research suggests that spanking may negatively impact us into adulthood, particularly when it comes to relationships.
Despite 81 percent of Americans believing that occasional spanking is OK, the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against using spanking on children. Some countries even have bans on spanking.
But is spanking really that bad? According to Time, “studies have found that children who are spanked frequently have lower IQs, are more aggressive, and are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol….spankings result in higher production of stress hormones, which can make children less able to deal with other stresses.” Not only that, but spanking also has an adverse effect on the immune system.
Children who are spanked are more likely to be abusive adults. Afterall, they’ve been taught that when someone bigger than them does not approve of an action, some form of violence is used to make it stop. That can escalate into domestic violence and child abuse.
Spanking’s effect on relationships
Spanking children can disrupt their know-how when it comes to relationships later in life. “There is no dispute that early exposures are critical to later social habits. Relationships with adults at a very young age shape how we learn to relate,” states The Atlantic. So when a child is spanked, that makes a bold statement in how the child perceives relationships and will consequently affect how they relate to others as a teen and throughout adulthood.
When faced with frustrating situations, it’s easy to react with anger or violence because it’s what they observed and experienced as a child.
Alternatives to spanking
The Atlantic suggests that instead of spanking, parents ought to compliment the behavior (or absence of behavior) they did like. Even in the midst of unwanted behavior, you can compliment a child on something. Such as, “thank you for not hitting while you were upset.”
Rather than spanking a child, you can take away a favorite toy or a cell phone for a teenager. “All of this is in service of teaching children to be respectful without disrupting the vital positive elements of the caretaker-child relationship,” states The Atlantic.
Whether you choose to spank you child or not, it’s worth understanding the risk and potential developmental problems that can occur. While it may be immediately effective, it can cause life-long problems for your child. Where possible, work to find better ways to discipline your child(ren). You can do it in a healthy way and avoid adverse consequences for your child.