Here is what researchers have learned about spanking...
- Spanking fails to teach the child a better way of behaving. This is because the physical punishment does not relate to the misbehavior.
- Even if the spanking comes with dialogue about why they are being spanked and what they should have done, spanking causes an increase in the body's cortisol response interfering with the message.
- Spanking becomes less effective over time, especially as children get older and bigger.
- Children look to the important adults in their lives to provide provide protection and help them feel safe. Spanking can create fear and distrust in children toward the adults they depend upon. Spanking can degrade the child-parent bond.
- Physical punishment depends on an outside source to guide behavior. Children learn they will be punished if they misbehave. Consequently, if they can avoid being caught, they can continue the behavior. Children who are spanked don't learn to develop self-control and the ability to see how their actions affect others.
- Physical punishment may create rebellious, revenge seeking children who may lie or blame others for their misdeeds, as well as children who are withdrawn or over-pleasers.
- Spanking is associated with increase aggression, disobedience and anti-social behavior.
- Corporal punishment has been linked to juvenile delinquency, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use and lower income. The harm is not immediately evident (like smoking) but can reveal itself years later.
- Spanking may happen when the adult has run out of "tools" and is feeling angry and frustrated and may then physically hurt the child far more than intended, even to the point of abuse.
- Spanking may teach children to link violence with loving relationships.
For a comprehensive analysis on the research read the "Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children" by Elizabeth T. Gershoff, PhD
Additionally view our posts on discipline to learn about effective guidance methods.
Really? Punishment is "Out'
Five Critical Emotional Needs
Children Need to Feel Secure
Children Need to Feel Respected
Teach....Don't Tell or Yell
True Discipline Takes Time
Choose Democratic Parenting
Our agency also has number of great books and DVD's in our Resource Libraries on guidance such as:
"Raising Emotionally Healthy Children" by Dr. Gerald Newmark
"Positive Discipline" by Dr. Jane Nelsen
"Love and Limits" by Elizabeth Crary
"Redirecting Children's Behavior" by Kathryn Kvols
"Unconditional Parenting" DVD with Alfie Kohn