New research: children who are spanked are more likely to become abusive adults

When I was growing up, it was completely normal for parents to spank their kids if they misbehaved. Myself and all my friends have traded stories of our childhood punishments – we’ve even had a good laugh about some of them. We grew up just fine!

And it seems that parents today agree – a national survey in 2012 showed that more than half of women and three-quarters of men in the US believe that a child sometimes needs a “good hard spanking.”

But a new study says that parents who choose to discipline their child this way could be causing them to become violent adults. In particular, the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that children who are spanked are more likely to be guilty of domestic violence as adults.




“We asked 758 kids between 19 and 20 years old how often they had been spanked, slapped or struck with an object as form of punishment when they were younger,” says Jeff Temple, the study’s leading author.

“Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence.”

Dr Bob Sege, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatricians, agrees. “This study confirms that children who experience violence at home, even if it is couched as for their own good, end up using violence later in their lives,” he says, according to CNN.

The American Academy of Pediatricians urges that children should not be hit for any reason, as it can cause mental health disorders and aggression.


A link between spanking and IQ

In addition to causing children to become more violent, regular spankings can also cause your children to have less grey matter in their brains. This has a negative impact on their ability to evaluate rewards and consequences, since grey matter affects self-control, reports CNN.

“There’s no study that I’ve ever done that’s found a positive consequence of spanking,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, to CNN.

“Most of us will stop what we’re doing if somebody hits us, but that doesn’t mean we’ve learned why somebody hit us, or what we should be doing instead.”

What do you think? Is it wrong for a parent to spank their children if they’re misbehaving?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends on Facebook so they can weigh in, too.

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