Before you spank your child to discipline him, think again. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association, based on 20 years’ worth of research on the long-term effects of physical punishment, reveals how it can bring about aggressive and antisocial behavior in the child when interacting with you, his siblings, his peers and future spouse.
Said Ron Rnsom, a social worker at a children’s hospital, “…children who are more aggressive do tend to get hit more, but the punishment does not reduce those children's aggression; rather, it exacerbates it.”
He adds, "When parents of aggressive children are instructed in how to reduce their use of spanking, and they do indeed reduce it, the level of their children's aggression declines. And when children who all have the same level of aggression when the study begins are followed over a period of years, those who are spanked tend to get more aggressive over time, while those who are not spanked tend to get less aggressive."
Said Mary Alvord, a clinical psychologist, "Parents often feel helpless in these situations, and they want their child to get the message that what they did is wrong. So I don't get preachy with parents, but I try to explain that there are so many more effective things that parents can do, like timeouts."
With the study’s findings, experts are urging parents to resort to non-violent but effective means of disciplining their children, such as clear communication, timeouts and enforcing consequences for bad behavior.
Do you spank your children? Why or why not? We’d love to know. Share with us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.