For most of us getting spankings when we were growing up was simply a normal part of life. You did something wrong, you got a beating … the end. However, according to a new review of 20 years of research spanking your child has long-term, harmful effects on their development. Over the past two decades, research has increasingly found links between such “everyday” types of physical punishment and higher levels of child aggression, according to the review.
According to Joan Durrant, a child clinical psychologist at Family Social Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Canada and co-author of the review:
“I think it’s important for parents to understand that although physical punishment might get a child to do something in the immediate situation, there are many side effects that can develop over the long term. For example, the more often a child sees a parent respond to conflict or frustration with slapping or spanking, the more likely that child will do the same when confronting their own conflicts.”
Although many parents do find other ways to discipline their children, like taking away privileges or putting them in timeout, a recent poll found that 22 percent of parents reported being “very likely” to spank their children. One of the reasons the review cites for parents using spanking as a form of discipline is that spanking is so much a part of our culture that parents can’t visualize raising a child without it. Instead of spanking, psychologists are suggesting that parents try more positive forms of discipline starting as early as 12 months old.
Kimberly Sirl, a clinical psychologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital says:
“Kids have to learn how to cope with frustration, how to share and how to be patient. Parents teach them how to do that. If you want to encourage good behavior, provide them with reward or praise.”
Do you spank your children? What other ways do you teach discipline other than spankings?