Spanking: Abuse or discipline?

Spanking is a mild form of physical punishment, which is commonly used by parents as a form of discipline. Spanking has involved the act of striking the buttocks of the child to cause physical pain, generally with an open hand. Although spanking is a mild form of punishment but still spanking has many negative impacts on children with no positive outcome. According to Gershoff E.T (2013) “Spanking is a form of violence” (p.136). However, Den, A. Trumbell (2010) argues that “spanking is an effective means of controlling the childhood behavior and most practical of all measures tested” (para.

2). Spanking is bad for children because it increases antisocial behavior, has a negative effect on the mental and physical health in adulthood, and children who were spanked during childhood are most likely hit their siblings and own children or partner in the future.

Spanking can never improve the behavior of the child; in fact, it makes his or her behavior worse. Spanking makes a child more aggressive, disobedient, never says sorry after misbehaving, a child frequently cheats, tells lies, breaks things, has trouble in making friends.

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According to Elizabeth T. Gershoff (2013) “spanking consistently predicted increases in the child’s aggression over time, regardless of how aggressive children were when the spanking occurred” (p.134). According to Gershoff, the researches show that “spanking is linked with the same negative child outcome as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree” (as cited in Suneson , 2016, para. 6). The New findings in psychological science, shows that “the children who have been spanked by their parents by age 5 show an increase in behavioral problems at age 6 and at age 8 as compare to other children who have never been spanked”(Elizabeth, 2017, para.

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Jared Pingleton (2014) argued that “Spanking is most effective as a deterrent to undesirable behavior for young preschoolers” (para. 4). Although it is true that when a child does some mistake and we spank him, then most likely child does not repeat that mistake again. However this control over the child would be only because of the threat of being spanked again, if he or she is not repeating his mistakes it does not mean that he or she understands that what he did is wrong, once that threat will go then most probably he will repeat his mistakes. According to Gershoff (2013) “Spanking is not an effective technique; in fact it makes the child’s behavior worse not better” (p.133). “Whenever parents spank their child at that time children could not understand that why his behavior was wrong and what he should do instead” (Gershoff , 2013, p.134). Most of the children become stubborn because of frequent spanking, child actually repeating his mistakes and taking spanking granted as well and don’t care about being punished. This method does not affecting the child emotionally anymore. He feels that spanking is at the most that parents will do to him and he can have his own direction and becomes disobedient.

Spanking has a negative effect on mental and physical growth. If a child has been spanked in his childhood then he or she can have mental health issues in adulthood. “Children who were spanked are more likely to suffer from depressive effects in adulthood including moderate to
heavy drinking, street drug abuse and increased odds of suicide attempts” (Tracie et al, 2017, p.24). ). If children spend more time in the state of fear of spanking then consequently it delayed in mental and emotional growth as well as depression and self-destructive behavior. It additionally strips away his feeling of security and, in this manner, the capacity to get love from his parents. According to Marilisa Racco (2017) a study which was done in 2016 and published in the Journal of “Family Psychology” which analyzed “50 years worth of data involving more than 160,000 children shows that spanking is linked to increased mental health issues and cognitive difficulties, aggression and anti-social behavior as well” (para. 3).

Whenever parents spank their child and the child cry, at the same time child needs some sort of comfort. If he or she does not feel or get that comfort, love, and care from parents then the child becomes anxious or develops a sense of low self-esteem. At the point when children are hit by the specific individuals who should ensure them, it makes a child question, “What’s the matter with me?” Self-esteem is a basic vital and delicate thing which plays an important role to achieve the success in the life of children in future. . Starus .M.A (2001) stated that “Less spanking is associated with faster cognitive development” (p.59).

Selwyn Duke (2010) argued that “The research shows that the children, who were spanked up to the age of 6, were likely as the teenagers to perform better at school and were more likely to carry out volunteer work, more interested to go to college than their peers, who had never been physically disciplined” (paragraph 1). However, early childhood, till the age of 5 years is a very sensitive period of life. If children suffer through these problematic circumstances then these situations consider as toxic stress for the child which can never overcome throughout life(Smidt, 2013). Spanking at ages 1 and 3 is adversely associated with child cognitive skills and behavior problems at ages 3 and 5. The cross-lagged path model by Maguire-Jack. K revealed that “Age 1 spanking is not directly associated with age 5 cognitive skills; however, there is a significant association between age 3 spanking and higher age 5 cognitive skills” (p.1972). Those individuals who were spanked as youngsters were also more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life. The threat of spanking is a chronic stressor that impairs learning, lowers the self-esteem of a child. When the child has been spanked at that time he has learned only two things: he is both powerless and vulnerable. The children grow up battling off sentiments of self-uncertainty, tension, and passionate disturbance, which can be extremely difficult to reverse.

Parents are role model for children. Children who are spanked usually hit their younger siblings and their own children and life partner in the future. Children usually adapt to violent behavior. Whenever parents spank their children out of anger or frustration, then it does send wrong message to the child. Children always follow their elders. If parents spank, then definitely children follow their path and hit others. Parents’ behavior is an example for children that they can do in the future. Spanking a child seems to say that it is ok to hit the people, even loved ones (life partners and their own children). ). Spanking makes children see that they have right to hit others. Children who were spanked in their childhood are more likely to hit their wives later. According to Joe Pinkstone (2017) “Children who are punished by spanking are more likely to be abusive towards their life partners” (para. 1). Moreover, parents’ use of punishment additionally relies on their own encounters with being hit or hit as a child. Various examinations have discovered that the use of physical punishment gives off an impression of being intergenerational; guardians who were physically punished as a child favor its use, and are bound to spank their own children (Simons and Wurtele, 2010, p.640).

Spanking is not an effective way to train children, in fact, spanking reduces the value of that person who is spanking. . According to Commins, D. (2014) It is also true that sometimes spanking works but it damages the relationship between child and parents (para. 6). It is the only stress and frustration, which causes parents to spank and children to deteriorate. This results in anti-social behavior and has negative effects on the cognitive development of the child. Straus. M. A (2001) in his study mentioned that “If parents use verbal methods to control the behavior of child such as explain the situation to the child rather than spank him or her, this method will in turn enhance the child’s cognitive ability”(p.55). Spanking by elders send message to the child that they can hit others also. If parents stop spanking, then they will not be giving up a sound educational practice but a violent habit that is ineffective, risky, unsafe, shameless, and immoral. Spanking truly harms the parent-child relationship. It encourages the child to fear the parent instead of regarding the parent.

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Spanking: Abuse or discipline?. (2020, Nov 11). Retrieved from

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