There is a revolution afoot. This is true not only in politics, where people are railing against the establishment all over the world, but also in the field of parenting, where parents are beginning to realize that some time-honoured practices may not be all that effective.
One of those practices is spanking. Almost all of us have been spanked multiple times when we were children (many of us even after we’d grown up). For as far as anyone can remember, the go-to form of discipline for errant children has been a tight slap on one body part or another. A slap will do the short-term job of getting your kid to behave for some time, but recent research has shown that it accomplishes little else. In fact, spanking has been shown to have several ill-effects on your kid’s psyche.
Apart from immediate compliance, spanking has the following negative effects:
1. Spanking leads to aggressive behavior- According to a study done by Duke University, children spanked as 1-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively. According to the AAP, “spanking models aggressive behavior as a solution to conflict and has been associated with increased aggression in preschool and school children.” A 2010 Pediatrics study with Tulane University, led by Dr. Catherine Taylor, controlled for a host of issues including depression, drug abuse, spousal abuse, and even whether she considered abortion while pregnant. All of these factors aside, spanking was still a “strong predictor of violent behavior.” Taylor surveyed mothers in 20 cities — once when their children were 3 years old, then again when they were 5. The kids who were spanked more often turned out to “demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals.” Basically, kids who were spanked were more violent.
2. Spanking leads to lower IQs in kids- According to Sociologist Murray Straus from the University of New Hampshire (a man who has been studying corporal punishment since 1969), the more children were spanked, the lower their IQs. He even tested this theory in other nations, as well. Straus studied 32 countries and found that the average IQ was lower in nations where spanking was common. During his U.S. research, Straus and his colleague Mallie Paschall found that among 2-to-4-year-old kids, the kids who weren’t spanked at the beginning of the study performed a full five points higher on IQ tests than those who had been spanked. Among children between the ages of 5 and 9, there was a 2.8-point IQ gap.
3. The Slippery Slope Argument- Typically a parent will spank when they are angry, irritable, tired, or stressed — like when a child is in danger or when a mom’s patience fuse snaps. In a survey published in Pediatrics, 50% of the respondents admitted that they spanked because they “lost it.” The survey in Pediatrics proved that “spanking” has a pretty broad spectrum. And apparently a shocking amount of spanking takes corporal punishment up a notch by using something other than an open hand. According to a 2008 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study, using an object during spanking raises the risk of child abuse by nearly 9 times. Stefan Molyneux (from Freedomain Radio) also points out that, “When punishment fails, parents tend to increase the intensity of its use rather than change strategies.”
4. Excessive spanking leads to mental disorders- This, of course, puts kids at increased risk of child abuse, especially as kids get bigger. Considering so many parents use harsher means of spanking beyond an open hand on diapered buttocks, this must be said: researchers in Canada found that up to 7 percent of mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, panic disorders, mood disorders, social phobias, etc.) were associated with physical corporal punishment during childhood, including spanking, shoving, and grabbing. Corporal punishment (again — this term includes more than just an occasional swat) is also a predictor of adult delinquency, violence, and child abuse.
5. Spanking sets a bad example for kids- Many researchers are in agreement on this point: Spanking might correct the problem in the immediate moment, but it typically doesn’t have long-term benefits. (Beyond teaching that hitting is an acceptable way to express yourself and correct behavior). One study cited in Corporal Punishment and its Effects on Children’s Cognitive and Social Development found that over half of mothers said that spanking was the wrong thing to have done in at least half of the times they spanked their kids. At what age does “spanking” cross the line from discipline to abuse? Because by the age of 11, 18% of kids are still being hit one or more times a week. And that number is even higher for boys, who are spanked more than girls.
Those who were spanked as kids are much more likely to spank their own kids. Is this because it’s an effective form of discipline? Or is it because it’s hard to break the parenting cycle? Spanking does, however, instill that it’s okay to hit, considering infants and toddlers absorb our actions as guidelines on how to behave. Apart from immediate compliance, spanking has negative effects on other behaviors.
So what can we learn from this? Parenting behavior is evolving. People are beginning to see that just because something has been done for a long time, doesn’t mean that it has to continue. It is better to be more subtle in the way you deal with your kids. Every time they misbehave is a teachable moment.
Earlier, people who were concerned about their children’s safety online would just impose a blanket-ban on the internet. But now, they prefer to introduce their kids to the internet in a safe way. Roo Kids Chat App is one of those safe ways. By using Roo Kids Chat App, your kid can learn how to chat with other people over the internet in a safe environment before moving on to less safe options and you, as parents, can teach your kid how to stay safe before they move on to unsafe apps like WhatsApp. While the internet has its downsides, the increased flow of information has made us realize that there are better ways to do certain things. The human race has progressed. Parenting methods must progress too.
Roo Kids Chat App is a kid-friendly instant messenger with minimum but critical parental controls.
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