Why Spank?

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by Sarah Kerns

In a recent study by the Journal of Family Psychology they found that spanking may be more common than parents would like to admit. The small study recording families when they got home for work and had them keep the recording device on until their children went to bed. They found that not only did parents think they spanked a lot less than they did, but also that parents who yell are more likely to spank their children.

George Holden, the lead study author and also a professor psychology said, “Parents are hitting their children over trivial misdeeds and some of the moms are doing it a lot more than the self-report data has ever identified.” Hitting children doesn’t promote parent-child relationships. “It doesn’t work. But more than that, it can result in behavioral problems like aggression, or anxiety and depression,” he said.

According to the article,

Nationwide, 70 percent to 90 percent of parents hit or slap their children yet spanking is not recommended by most experts in child psychology. “Based on 20 years of research on physical punishment, it is recommended that it should not be used on children of any age,” said Tracie Afifi, an associate professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada.

In a study published in Pediatrics in 2012, Afifi found that spanking or slapping children may increase the odds they will develop mental health issues into adulthood. (http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/healthday/en/2014/apr/30/687077.html)


Since there is so much proof that we shouldn’t spank, why do parents feel the need to do it so often? Are not enough people reading the research? Or do they not care? As moms and dads, we want what’s best for our children and according to this and other sources, not spanking is best. I challenge you as parents, that no matter how stressed you may become, please refrain from spanking or threatening to spank. It doesn’t build your relationships and only hurts.


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