To spank or not to spank is a question that never gets old, especially among new parents. On one hand, many of us were raised to believe that spanking is necessary to effectively discipline children. On the other hand, we are more educated when it comes to child psychology, methods of discipline, and the potentially harmful effects of corporal punishment. Here, we highlight eight reasons not to spank your kids.
Spanking is linked to increased aggression
According to the American Psychological Association, several studies have linked physical punishment such as spanking, hitting, and other forms of punishment that result in physical pain “can lead to increased aggression, antisocial behavior, physical injury and mental health problems for children.”
Spanked children tend to act out more
A study published in Psychological Science found that children who are spanked by the time that they’re five years old are more likely to demonstrate an uptick in behavioral problems by the time they are six years old in comparison to children who were not spanked. Of course, this does not confirm that spanking leads to poor behavior, it simply demonstrates a correlation, which should give you something to chew on if you happen to be on the fence about spanking.
“Parents spank for many reasons, such as their educational or cultural background or how difficult their children’s behavior is. These same reasons, which we call selection factors, can also predict children’s behavior problems, making it difficult to determine whether spanking is in fact the cause of behavior problems,” says psychological scientist Elizabeth T. Gershoff, who was the lead author of the study.