Does research show are any long-term effects of spanking, and are these in line with what we want for our kids? Research on spanking has been varied and sometimes blurred because it’s been wrapped up with research on excessive force or abuse.
However, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa combined 20 years of published research on spanking to shed some light on this topic. This evidence is instrumental in moving the debate on spanking from an ethical one—do I have the right to spank my kids?—into a medical one.
Here’s what they found:
Spanking reduces grey matter – Grey matter is a major component of your nervous system. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions, and memory, and influences your learning capability.So spanking can actually be impacting our kids’ ability to learn.
Emotional difficulties: Spanking teaches kids that we learn through pain. This affects their desire and eagerness to learn. Who wants to learn if it means a painful process?
Additional research shows that:
Hitting devalues children – Self-Esteem is a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. This view of oneself is created early in childhood and is heavily influenced by how your kids think you perceive them.Kids that are spanked get the message that they are bad and naughty.
Like all of the articles I write, this isn’t about parental guilt. It is about recognising that if you’ve used this method in the past and want to stop doing so, there are a few things to consider:
The next time you get into a heated situation, tell your kids you are taking a time-out. Go to a different room if you can and cool off. Try doing a small task; working with your hands helps to calm you down. Then once you’re calm, talk to your kids about the boundaries you’d like to set. Your discipline will be much more valuable and effective.