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 CNN.com:
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.