What childhood spanking does to children?
Many children around the world experience harsh parenting. This is may include spanking, pinching, kicking, etc.
Parenting research findings consistently find a negative impact of childhood spanking. The effect of this parental discipline is multiple.
Most of the alarming effect of spanking during childhood is internalizing and/or externalizing behavior.
But the effect is not limited to behavioral tendencies. It also becomes evident in psychological problems.
For instance, a new research led by Dr. Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, found that childhood spanking resulted in mental health problems.
Adults who were spanked during childhood are more likely to drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, and attempt to commit suicide.
The participants of the study were more than 8,000 people aged 19 to 97. They were asked how they spanked as children.
Dr. Andrew Grogan-Kaylor said:
“Placing spanking in a similar category to physical, emotional abuse experiences would increase our understanding of these adult mental health problems.”
According to the study, over 50% of the adults had been spanked during childhood. In addition, men were more likely to be spanked than women.
Another expert in parenting, Dr. Shawna Lee, reminds that corporal punishment is detrimental to children’s development. Therefore, harsh parenting must be avoided.
Dr. Lee said that:
“This can be achieved by promoting evidence-based parenting programs and policies designed to prevent early adversities, and associated risk factors.
Prevention should be a critical direction for public health initiatives to take.”
In my study, the effect of corporal punishment was found to be dependent on cultural context.
If, for instance, children who live in countries where harsh parenting is commonly used, corporal punishment may not be detrimental to their development.
While children who are not used to spanking may be negatively affected if spanked.
Although most countries today already banned spanking or other harsh parenting, many parents still use it.
The problem is that most parents remained uninformed. Governments should take action to spread the caution.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.