Posts Tagged ‘ spanking ’

Study: Spanking Linked to Mood Disorders

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Children whose parents punish them with spanking or another physical means of discipline are more likely to suffer from emotional problems including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders, a new Canadian study has found.  From

Researchers from Canada found that physical punishment (such as slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving) — even without child neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse — was linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.

While it may be true that many of today’s parents were spanked as children and are now well-adjusted, previous studies have also shown that those who were spanked are at a higher risk to be depressed; use alcohol; hit their spouse or own children; and engage in violent or criminal behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society discourage spanking and other forms of physical punishment. It is unlawful in 32 countries — not including the United States or Canada — for parents and other caregivers to use physical punishment against children.

The new study’s lead author, Tracie Afifi, said she believes that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and that positive parenting strategies should instead be encouraged.

Preferred methods of discipline do not include physical punishment. For example, withholding privileges, using time-outs and offering consequences (for example, “If you throw your toy and it breaks, you won’t be able to play with it anymore”).

Image: Child being slapped, via Shutterstock.

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Researchers: Spanking Linked to Long-Term Problems for Kids

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Mounting evidence suggests that spanking kids sets them up for long-term negative consequences, according to a research review published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The review found that children disciplined with spanking or slapping are more likely to be aggressive as children and delinquent as they get older. Research also shows that physical punishment may slow cognitive development.

Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and her coauthor reviewed studies on physical punishment conducted in the last two decades and say none of the studies showed benefits to spanking.

MSNBC offers more details:

In one U.S. study, researchers looked at 2,400 mothers who spanked their 3-year-olds twice the previous month, and found that children had an increased risk for higher levels of aggression when they were 5 years old.

“In the U.S., physical punishment is such an entrenched part of the culture that virtually no one has experienced growing up without it,” Durrant said. ”This situation makes it difficult for parents to visualize raising a child without it.”

This raises an obvious question: Is it possible that children who are spanked are naturally more difficult or aggressive? The researchers report that some studies controlled for those factors but still found that spanking was linked to later behavior problems.

Another study found that parents who were taught no-spank techniques for dealing with misbehavior reported a drop in their child’s difficult behaviors as the parents adopted the new techniques. The researchers encourage parents to learn such techniques.

Parents, what’s your take on this research?

Image: Spanking via Shutterstock.

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Texas Beating Video Turns Attention to Countries that Ban Spanking

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

In the wake of a 2004 video of a Texas judge beating his teenage daughter with a belt, which received huge YouTube circulation last week, the national conversation about parents using physical means of discipline on their children has risen to fever pitch.

Hillary Adams, now 23, learned last week that the statute of limitations had expired on charges of abuse or judicial misconduct against her father.  She had uploaded the video in hopes that her father would be remorseful for her behavior and reconcile their relationship. published a report today about Sweden, which in 1979 became the first country to outlaw corporal punishment by parents.  Today, 30 countries have similar laws.  From the article:

No countries in North America ban physical punishment by parents, but there’s a perennial debate about the line between discipline and abuse, and who’s allowed to administer it. It flared again last week after millions watched a seven-minute YouTube video from 2004 that showed a Texas judge cursing at his teen daughter and beating her with a belt.

While there are laws against child abuse, it’s legal in all 50 states for parents to hit their children, and for schools in 19 states to physically punish kids. About 80% of American parents said they’ve hit their young children, and about 100,000 kids are paddled in U.S. schools every year, researchers said.

Kids are still hit with hands, belts, switches and paddles, said Elizabeth Gershoff , an associate professor of human development and family sciences at University of Texas, despite research that shows it doesn’t model or teach behavior parents are looking for, that it damages trust between parent and children and that it can lead to increased aggression.

Although more parents are trying a variety of disciplinary measures, corporal punishment isn’t going away, and some researchers argue that it shouldn’t. It’s effective for gaining immediate compliance from young children, and is unlikely to have long-term negative effects, they said. More powerfully, it’s hard to stop a discipline technique that’s been passed down through generations.

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Preacher Advocates Spanking, Deaths Fuel Debate

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Michael Pearl, a Tennessee pastor whose book To Train Up a Child advocates the use of “the rod” in child discipline, is at the center of a growing debate that now includes the deaths of three children whose parents had copies of the book in their homes.  The New York Times reports:

Debate over the Pearls’ teachings, first seen on Christian Web sites, gained new intensity after the death of a third child, all allegedly at the hands of parents who kept the Pearls’ book, “To Train Up a Child,” in their homes. On Sept. 29, the parents were charged with homicide by abuse.

More than 670,000 copies of the Pearls’ self-published book are in circulation, and it is especially popular among Christian home-schoolers, who praise it in their magazines and on their Web sites. The Pearls provide instructions on using a switch from as early as six months to discourage misbehavior and describe how to make use of implements for hitting on the arms, legs or back, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line that, Mr. Pearl notes, “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.”

The furor in part reflects societal disagreements over corporal punishment, which conservative Christians say is called for in the Bible and which many Americans consider reasonable up to a point, even as many parents and pediatricians reject it. The issue flared recently when a video was posted online of a Texas judge whipping his daughter.

Mr. Pearl, 66, and Mrs. Pearl, 60, say that blaming their book for extreme abuse by a few unstable parents is preposterous and that they explicitly counsel against acting in anger or causing a bruise. They say that their methods, properly used, yield peace and happy teenagers.

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Texas Mother Given 5 Years Probation for Spanking Her Daughter

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Rosalina GonzalesRosalina Gonzales, a mother of three from Corpus Christi, Texas, was sentenced to five years’ probation, a $50 fine, and parenting classes after pleading guilty to spanking her two-year-old daughter on the rear-end last December under the charge of “Injury to a Child.” Gonzales did not use an object to spank her daughter, and the spank did not leave a bruise, but when the child’s grandmother noticed red marks, she took the child to the hospital.

The grandmother has custody of Gonzalez’s three children, though Gonzales is working with local Child Protective Services to regain custody.

At the sentencing hearing, 214th District Court Judge Jose Longoria admonished Gonzales that spanking is not acceptable in this day and age.

“You don’t spank children today,” said Longoria, “in the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?”

A Child Protective Services spokesperson told KZTV, a Corpus Christi station, that though the law does not forbid spanking, the practice is criminal when it injures a child.

What is your opinion of spanking as a form of discipline?

(image via

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