A series of recent research studies on spanking confirms what we’ve already discovered on The PediaBlog:
When the one person a child should unconditionally trust not to hurt or abuse them does so, you can expect the scars created to run deep and be permanent.
Research and common sense tell us how ineffective spanking really is:
Spanking doesn’t work as a deterrent to bad behavior. In fact, it sends the wrong message: “It’s OK for me (parent, teacher, peer) to hurt you (child); to put fear into you; to demean and humiliate you.” There is nothing right about that message. Nothing. Spanking is bullying, plain and simple. And readers of this blog know that bullying is never right, always wrong, and completely unacceptable.
The first study suggests that spanking results in poor health outcomes similar to other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), which the authors describe as “child maltreatment (i.e., physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, and exposure to mother being treated violently) and household challenges (i.e., parental divorce or separation, parental incarceration, and a household member with substance abuse problems, mental illness, and/or suicide attempt).” The researchers studied more than 8,000 adults, 54.8% of whom reported they were spanked as children. The study’s conclusion is stunning, even if it’s not particularly surprising:
When adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, respondents who experienced spanking had increased risk for depression, suicide attempts, moderate to heavy drinking, and illicit drug use, compared with those who did not experience spanking.
Don’t think that all the adverse health effects resulting from spanking are delayed until adulthood. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the more immediate effects of this discredited form of child discipline.