ATLANTA -- Most, if not all, parents have a way of disciplining their children. Time-outs, groundings, maybe taking away their smart phone or tablets?
Maybe even a spanking?
As a parent, does physical punishment seem like the best form of discipline? A study that was published in the Journal of Family Psychology back in 2016 says it may have negative effects on a child’s overall behavior as they grow older.
The study looks at five decades of research that involved over 160,000 children. It revealed that the children who are spanked are more likely to have increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems, cognitive difficulties and are more likely to defy their parents.
“The upshot of the study is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children. Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want to do,” said Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and who worked on the study.
“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” said Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin.
So, basically, the study shows that it does not improve morals or behavior and it does not make children more successful.
Now, this research was not done on your particular family, so of course, the effects are probably not the same as your own personal experience.
Most parents support their own personal right to spank their children and most courts support and uphold a parent’s right to spank their child.
However, Gershoff’s team writes, “Positive reinforcement for alternative behaviors is extremely effective. We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline.”