Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New study reveals that spanking increases childhood defiance and mental health issues.

Courtesy of Red Orbit: 

If you think that the answer to an unruly child is a good spanking, think again, say researchers from the Universities of Texas and Michigan, who after extensive analysis found that this form of punishment only makes youngsters more likely to be defiant and aggressive. 

Their study, which was published in the April edition of the Journal of Family Psychology, was based on five decades worth of research involving more than 160,000 children. They are calling it the most extensive scientific investigations into the spanking issue, and one of the few to look specifically at spanking rather than grouping it with other forms of physical discipline. 

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” lead author Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas, said in a statement Monday. “We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents' intended outcomes when they discipline their children.” 

In fact, Gershoff and co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, found that the more frequently that children are spanked, the higher the risk that those kids will start to defy their parents, become aggressive, experience mental health issues, exhibit anti-social behaviors, and/or develop cognitive difficulties. 

In the mental health field this is really old news, but you would be surprised at the number of people who still feel that all any unruly or disruptive child needs is more discipline. And of course their idea of discipline always involves corporeal punishment.

Let me confess that when I was a young father I did swat my daughter on the butt one or two times at least.

My only excuse is that I was not well educated enough to know the harm I was doing and I now regret every swat I ever administered to my child.

And trust me she remembers every one of them as well, and will bring it up to remind me that I was not always the cool headed professional that people think I am today.

The problem of course is that positive behavior modification techniques are still not widely known, and even when known take time to change disruptive behaviors, while for many parents the spanking creates immediate gratification both by temporarily altering the child's behavior and also feeding into the parent's sense of power and need for control.

However if parents choose the slower path of positive behavior modification they will end up with happier children and ultimately more successful adults.


  1. SallyinMI4:11 AM

    I don't get the impression that the fund, RW parents who hit their kids are interested in either their happiness or their success later on. Punishment, like the insane laws against women's health, are all about power. For the women who are under these guys' control, it is probingly the only power they have in their lives. For the men, it's, plain and simple, abuse. They have to be the top dog, have the last word, and be the boss. It would be interesting if one of the debate questions for the GOP (and Hillary) would be about how they treat their children. We already know that coward Cruz hits his little girls-wanna bet Trump swatted his too?

  2. Anonymous4:29 AM

    This was a great post! It is Very big of you to admit striking your child. You could have never told this truth from your life, of moments you wish like all hell you could take back and the readers wouldn't ever know. Choosing the honest ground is so awesomely atheistic of you and I think this s great!! When you share these things in this manner, it's what I think is a 'teachable moment'. You didn't do to your kid what had been done to you. But yet you still did hit her in a moment of anger andfrustration.
    I am impressed the most, I think, of how positive your relationship with your daughter is. I certainly read your post on your early childhood and formative years. You and your kid seem like awesome people. Thanks for telling your truths!
    I am truly sorry for what you had to endure as a child and young man. You did better,much, for your girl, you broke the cycle. Remember that,ok?

  3. I, too, "swatted" my two children on the butt each a couple of times, but it was only in safety issues. And only one soft swat each time, to emphasise NOT running into the street. I also tapped their hands lightly for the same safety emphasis. I'm not sorry I did either thing. Sometimes safety issues do come up that you have to deal with as a parent. Both boys have grown up quite nicely, with great jobs, fine wives and children of their own, and are good Democrats! I wouldn't do anything differently!

  4. Oh my gosh, meth and John McCain coming down the pike!!!

  5. Ok then why are children better behaved elsewhere where they are not being struck and so many kids here are whiny little shits??

    1. Leland7:37 AM

      Well, DUH!, One Fly! Does the term "To spare the rod is to spoil the child" ring any bells? Too many people in the US were raised with that saying in mind - especially the fundies!

      Of course, from their point of view (my neighbor told me this) the reason our children are little shits is because the government removed prayer from the schools! When he told me that I was so dumfounded I had to just walk away. Transference much?

    2. Duh what Leland?

      My experiences outside the US where children are NOT spanked or whatever are the best kids I've been around.

      Sooooo the rod can be spared and apparently there is a way to raise children without having them be "whiny little shits."

      That's all I was trying to say.

    3. Anonymous8:15 AM

      One Fly. I don't understand your 5:09 post. I get the argument....what I don't get is your argumentative tone because you start out as if your disagreeing with Gryphen's past (ok then, why ....), when what you say perfectly matches what he said. Spanking does not lead to well behaved kids, as supported by other countries who have well behaved kids who are not spanked as part of their culture. So who were you arguing with (prior to your second response to Leland)?

    4. Argumentative???? What???

      Sheez - I am AGREEING with the post and pose the question of why without spanking kids elsewhere are does it seem to me children are better behaved than here.

      I'm outta here and this site.

    5. One Fly 8:25 AM wrote: Sheez - I am AGREEING with the post …

      It wouldn't have taken too much of your time, would it, to have started your original comment with the two words, "I agree"? Not everybody here is a mindreader, and not everybody here is sufficiently perceptive to notice the link to your profile and follow it before responding.

    6. part of my baggage about mind reading. Way I am and not intentional Ted.

  6. Anonymous6:23 AM

    Thank you for this post. I went and read the whole article and it was spot on. My father was hit with a leather strop, the kind used to sharpen straight razors in barber shops, by his father. My father lessened his instrument of punishment and used a belt to discipline me and my siblings. When my son was born, I spanked him only once and I never did it again because after I spanked him I saw the same fear in his face that I felt when I was a child. Spanking and abuse is handed down from one generation to the next. Anyone who experienced it needs to end it with themselves. That type of treatment of a child definitely leads to self-esteem issues because that innocent child wonders why someone who loves and is supposed to protect them would hurt them, too.

    Thanks, Gryphen.

    1. Anonymous2:39 PM

      Thank you for your comment.

      This is why I didn't have kids- I didn't want to pass on any aggressive tendencies; not that I'm a violent person, but I was afraid that my mother's tend toward rage would be hereditary.

  7. Anonymous6:51 AM

    0t-" As John Gans Jr. wrote in the Atlantic in 2011, “Obama has talked more about American exceptionalism than Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush combined:" BIG MISTAKE!

  8. Anonymous7:18 AM

    Sometimes you have no choice but to swat a kid. I was watching my girlfriends kids ages 15 and 13 the older boy decided he wanted to rip the pants off his sister in front of me I repeatedly told him to stop but their was no stopping him with words so I slapped him on the knee to get him to finally stop. No way was I going to let him molest his sister sometimes you have to use force even though you don't want to.

  9. Anonymous7:28 AM

    It lasts a lifetime when a person is "swatted" with a willow switch on the raw back side for something a sibling did and you know nothing for the "why"?....until later when the truth comes out..All trust is broken..

  10. Anonymous7:41 AM

    8 year old>

  11. Anonymous8:12 AM

    "Hillary is a feminist. She was the big breadwinner in her family, a respected attorney, an activist for progressive causes including education and civil and human rights, and a great mom."

  12. My girlfriend and I still engage in spanking. We promise to stop if we have kids.

  13. Anita Winecooler3:57 PM

    When we learn better, we do better. When I grew up I swore if I had kids I'd never say things my parents said (and emotional abuse is the same or worse than physical) when one or more of us acted up or didn't listen. When we got older and had our first child, she was about six or seven months old, I asked my mother if she could watch her. She asked me why, and I said we got tickets to see Journey. I'll never forget what she said "I raised mine, now you raise yours" I never asked again, but would never keep her from seeing her grandkids, she changed over time.
    My husband used to laugh, when I was on maternity leave and on my last nerve, my sister or husband would take over so I could have the luxury of a shower and some sleep and he called it my "time out".


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