Is Spanking Children Harmful?

Is spanking harmful

It may seem impossible to teach discipline to your children because they are still immature when it comes to controlling their own behavior. Parents may think that spanking is the only remedy for some undesirable behaviors. Have you ever wondered if spanking is harmful, or whether spanking as disciplinary action is appropriate or even effective?

Spanking has in recent years become a controversial subject. Some parents still practice spanking, and there are states in the US that have not yet outlawed certain forms of corporal punishment.

That said, modern parents look down on spanking as a means of correcting behavior.

And while some still believe that spanking is the best type of behavioral correction, research has shown that it does more harm than good.

So why risk it?

This is what you need to know

Effects of Corporal Punishment on Child Development

At their age, children might not understand the difference between what is discipline and what is aggression if disciplinary action is taken. If their parents act aggressively toward them, children may think it is okay to be aggressive themselves.

A child’s relationship with their parents may also be negatively impacted, as spanking can instill fear in children, making them afraid to approach their parents and open up to them freely,

Often, this fear stems from a desire to avoid physical punishment that may follow them throughout their lives.

Corporal Punishment Affects a Child’s Cognitive Development

“Corporal punishment at home has harmful effects,” the American Academy of Pediatrics warned in a 2018 statement.

A 2016 National Institutes of Health analysis of multiple studies found that spanking has no positive impact on children\’s development. Studies have shown that corporal punishment increases aggression and makes children more likely to become defiant.

Effects of Spanking on Children

Is spanking harmful
Is Spanking Harmful?

Avoidance Vs Obedience

Is spanking harmful? The scientific community recommends against hitting children.

Despite the lack of compelling evidence to suggest that hitting children is the only method of raising polite discipline children, why does it stop unwanted behavior, and why does it work?

Based on Sigmund’s pleasure principle, animals generally seek pleasure and avoid pain.

When an animal experiences a painful or aversive stimulus, such as a smack or a hit, it will avoid the source of that discomfort in the future.

 Basically, hurting a child teaches them to avoid that pain in the future, so hitting teaches avoidance rather than obedience.

 Poor Performance at School and Exams

Parents who spank their children focus on the problem rather than the solution. Rather than improving their situation, it may increase their children’s stress instead.

There is evidence showing that children who are spanked also tend to have lower IQs compared to those who were not spanked.

And the effects can be long-term. This is because such children tend to use more their primitive thinking than logical thinking causing them to perform poorly on logic tests.

Parents who support spanking will claim that there is a big difference with physically abusing the child. But the question now becomes where do you draw the line?

Encouraging Bad Behavior

Spanking creates resentment in a child. It may cause them to become aggressive towards others and more prone to doing the things they were spanked for.

For instance, assume a child is spanked for playing with a pair of scissors. The parent has the intention of stopping the child from hurting himself.

Now the child becomes resentful because he doesn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to play with the pair of scissors. What’s more, he likely doesn’t understand why he can’t play with the scissors. There wasn’t any explanation.

The child might watch out for when the parent isn’t watching just to go back and play with the item, and this may cause the parent to spank them even more.

The child becomes frustrated with their parent which then causes them to be disobedient.

Tendency to Lie

Another reason why spanking is harmful is that children who are spanked for making a mistake also tend to lie

They have no motivation, to tell the truth as they have learned making mistakes and telling the truth will result in them suffering painful consequences. So why would a child speak the truth when they know they will get a beating?

Sometimes a child might suffer an injury. If they got the injury while having done something they were cautioned against, they know that by speaking the truth they will get spanked.

Instead, they would rather lie about the injury and escape a potential beating.

Spanking Leads to Emotional Dysregulation

Spanking has a direct impact on how your brain interprets responses. A child’s brain is programmed in a specific way to respond to environmental threats, which can have long-term consequences on the child’s brain development and may last into adulthood.

Do not believe that physical punishment will improve your child’s behavior. In fact, it might exacerbate the situation. Aggression and disruptive behavior are some of the behavioral consequences of spanking.

Heightened Aggression

Studies have shown that a child who is punished through spanking and hitting also tends to show heightened aggression toward others.

When a child is spanked as a form of correcting behavior, this also registers in the child’s mind that the ideal way to solve any issues is to hit someone.

It is not surprising therefore that even at school or when around other kids, a child will also tend to resort to hitting other kids when he or she feels like they have been wronged.

Spanking Induces Shame

One of the effects that spanking a child is that it creates shame. This embarrasses the child and makes them feel like they could hide away.

Spanking the child in public or even in front of their friend will also create more shame. What’s worse is that this could open them up for ridicule.

Shame can have drastic consequences on a child’s self-worth and self-esteem. As a result, your child may become withdrawn and unable to express themselves.

Inflict Health Complications in Children

Children may be further stressed as a result. Spanking can increase the risk of physical health problems, especially when done excessively.

 Not only physical wounds, but also issues relating to heart disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions. There is a belief that it is caused by stress and a breakdown in the immune system. Physical health problems can be hard to spot.

This can unknowingly lead to more serious complications down the road, which is why spanking is harmful. The United Nations\’ rights of the child condemned spanking and physical punishment of children in 2006 and 192 countries endorsed the statement.

 Develop Anger Issues

Our children look up to us for protection and guidance. To them, however, we are also big and strong. Because of this, it is easy to scare them.

If parents get angry and follow that with spanking then it is understandable when the child is terrified.

Fear will make them feel defeated and will have drastic consequences on their self-esteem. What’s worse is that this can result in long-term psychological effects that can affect the child for their entire life.

Frustrated Parents

Spanking can also cause frustration to parents. No parent enjoys inflicting pain on his or her child. When this doesn’t correct the behavior, then it can leave us feeling frustrated.

The trick is to be aware of the effects that different actions have on your child’s psychological well-being.

Why Spanking Doesn’t Make Sense as a Form of Discipline

Children don’t actually learn anything by being spanked: What is it that children actually learn by being spanked? It may teach them to surrender against their will, but respect or morality will not be taught

Rather than calmly expressing their emotions and finding solutions to a problem, it does teach that physical aggression is an acceptable way to express anger and resolve problems.

By spanking children, we do not teach them right from wrong, we teach them that making mistakes and being caught can be very painful.

It is through our relationship with our children that we can influence them to make good decisions and to be good people.

Spanking does not build a relationship between a parent and child. Think about it this way, and ask yourself these questions:

How would you feel if someone hit you? Would you not feel loved or appreciated? How would you respond to them? How would you stay friends with them? Could you confide in them, trust them, and ask them for advice? Certainly not.

Spanking is fundamentally hypocritical: We tell our child, “If others don’t do what you want, you shouldn’t hurt them,” but if you don’t comply with my wishes, I’ll hurt you.”

Coming up with creative solutions to problems and ways to teach important lessons to our children takes a lot of energy and self-control, but when we do this, we embed lifelong lessons in them.

Alternative to Spanking

Alternatives to spanking include teaching your children skills like self-regulation, problem-solving, and critical thinking, so they can think differently about their behavior before any bad behavior even occurs.

They can learn how to control their emotions so that when they are about to lose control, they can be able to control themselves, preventing the need for spanking and other disciplinary measures.

Alternative Ways to Influence Your Child’s Behavior

  • Teach kids positive principles or techniques when they’re not in trouble, such as compromising, sharing, empathizing with others, solving problems, setting and achieving goals, etc.
  • Make it fun, according to your child’s age, at a time when they are happy and receptive.
  • Ensure your child understands the consequences of their actions when they overstep or ignore these boundaries.
  • Reinforce this by giving them chores and responsibilities as contributing members of your family, even if they don’t like them.
  • Remind them that every choice has a cost: Every choice has ramifications. It may mean cleaning up a mess your child made, paying to fix something that got broken, or not letting them play until a chore is completed.
  • To encourage kids to make responsible choices, we must empathize with them, but also let them experience the consequences.
  • Help your child think about ways to avoid repeating this behavior if they’re upset or disappointed by the consequences of their actions.

More Ways Alternative Discipline is Better than Spanking

  • They will learn to avoid certain poor behavior through negative consequences.
  • Time out is a great way to help them cope with their misbehaving without putting their emotions on the line, which is both more effective and has a longer-lasting effect than spanking.
  • You can also revoke some of their privileges inside the house, like Screen Time. Losing privileges should be clearly linked to unacceptable behavior. Using this disciplinary action behavior would allow them to get their privileges back in the end

Final Thoughts

Often parents spank their children intending to correct their behavior. However, this has negative consequences on the developing child.

Many of us were probably spanked as children. The good news is that times have changed, and our parents may have truly believed that spanking us on the behind was the right thing to do at the time.

In the long run, spanking is not an effective way to discipline children.

 It is far better to find alternative and more effective ways to reprimand wrong behavior that doesn’t mean risking the proper development of your child.

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