Sometimes IT happened when we were younger. You did something really bad, and dad was there to give you a slap on the tush. I even remember getting paddled HARD by my elementary school principal. If that happened today, I imagine there would be a lawsuit in the works!
While it might have been more common when we were younger, we still had to decide whether or not we would go down that road as a parent. Some of us decided to go the route our parents chose, some of us decided to go with more constructive forms of punishment.
A new study might confirm what many of us have believed all along: Spanking just isn’t good for you.
According to the study, which will be published in the September/October issue of Child Development, children who were spanked as 1-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively when they are older, and also do worse on cognitive tests compared to their peers who were not spanked.
The study looked at data from 2,500 white, Mexican American, and black children from low-income families. 1/3 of the mothers reported that they or someone in their family had spanked their 1-year-old, while hald of the mothers of 2 to 3-years-olds had reported their children had been spanked.
“Age 1 is a key time for establishing the quality of the parenting and the relationship between parent and the child,” said study author Lisa J. Berlin, a research scientist at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. “Spanking at age 1 reflects a negative dynamic, and increases children’s aggression at age 2.”
According to US News and World Report:
The study found that children who were spanked at age 1 had more aggressive behaviors at age 2 and performed worse on measures of thinking abilities at age 3.
Being spanked at age 2, however, did not predict more aggressive behaviors at age 3, possibly because the spanking had begun at age 1 and by age 2 the kids were already more aggressive, Berlin said.
Researchers also looked at the effects of verbal punishment, defined as yelling, scolding or making derogatory comments. Verbal punishment was not associated with negative effects if the mother was otherwise attentive, loving and supportive.
Researchers controlled for family characteristics such as race, ethnicity, mother’s age, education, family income and the child’s gender.
Previous research has shown spanking is more common among low-income households than high-income households.
Researchers chose a sample of low-income families because some child behavior experts have argued that when spanking is “cultural normative”—that is, it’s expected for parents to use physical discipline—the detrimental effects of spanking may be lessened.
“We did not find that,” Berlin said. “Even in a sample of low-income people where presumably it’s more normative to spank your kids, we found negative effects.”
The study also found that mothers who said their children were “fussy” babies
were more likely to spank them at ages 1, 2 and 3. But children who were more aggressive at 2 were not more likely to get spanked.
“The implication or the suggestion in past arguments is that some kids who are more aggressive or difficult to control might illicit more spanking, but that’s not what we found,” Berlin said.
Researchers found that black children were spanked and verbally punished the most, possibly because of cultural beliefs about the importance of respecting elders and in the value of physical discipline, or because parents feel they have to prepare their children for a racist and potentially dangerous world.
What are your viewpoints on spanking? Would you consider your use of spanking to be never, sometimes, or regularly? Leave your comments below!