August 31, 2009
Why do we still spank children? The usual answer is to get them to do what we think is best for them – i.e., to obtain behavioral compliance. And, yet, the answer is much more complicated. Dealing with children can stir up very charged and old feelings. The arguments and screaming of a child can push the same buttons that one’s own parents or siblings pushed long ago. Or perhaps one does to one’s child what was done to oneself: “I was spanked as a child, and I turned out all right.” – Yes, but perhaps you turned out all right in spite of the spanking, not because of it… and perhaps things would have been even better if the effective alternatives to spanking which do exist had been utilized.
It turns out that physical punishment is a serious public health problem in the United States, and it profoundly affects the mental health of children and the society in which we live. Studies show that over 60% of families still use physical punishment to discipline children. Yet, the research shows that: physical punishment is associated with an increase in delinquency, antisocial behavior, and aggression in children; and physical punishment is associated with a decrease in the quality of the parent-child relationship, mental health, and the child’s capacity to internalize socially acceptable behavior. Adults who have been subject to physical punishment as children are more likely to abuse their own child or spouse and to manifest criminal behavior.
If we truly want a less violent society, not hitting our children is a good place to start.
Read the full article.