A new study shows that showing love and affection after spanking or hitting a child can, in fact, increase the child’s anxiety.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, revealed that even though kind gestures eased the stress of corporal punishment, aggression and anxiety in the child still remained.
“Generally, childhood anxiety actually gets worse when parents are very loving alongside using corporal punishment,” said Dr. Jennifer Lansford, research professor at Duke University.
“It’s too confusing and unnerving for a child to be hit hard and loved warmly all in the same home,” she speculated.
In fact, the study also found out that the more loving a parent was after spanking or hitting a child, the more anxiety the child had. Anxiety and aggression levels were also directly related to the severity of the punishment.
Researchers from Duke University interviewed more than 1,000 children between the ages of 8 to 10 and their mothers. Interviewees came from eight countries which include the Philippines; other countries were the U.S., China, Thailand, Italy, Kenya, Jordan and Colombia. They were asked the extent of physical punishment received by the child and the child’s corresponding level of aggression and anxiety.
“If you believe that you can shake your children or slap them across the face and then smooth things over gradually by smothering them with love, you are mistaken,” said Dr. Lansford. “Being very warm with a child whom you hit in this manner rarely makes things better.”
In any case, experts recommend non-physical forms of punishment when disciplining children.
Sources: March 19, 2015. "Showing Love After Spanking Can Increase Your Child’s Anxiety". parents.com March 19, 2015. "Psychologists discourage spank-then-cuddle parenting practice". freemalaysiatoday.com