In My Opinion
Study Says Spanking Causes Mental Illness – Do You Agree?
Do you spank your kids? Were you spanked as a child? A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics was released this week that may have you rethink this practice. The study states that children, who have experienced physical punishment, such as spanking, hitting, or pushing, are at increased risk to develop mental disorders later in life.
The study included data from 35,000 non-institutionalized adults in the U.S. collected between 2004-2005. Researchers found that approximately 2%- 7% of mental disorders were linked to physical punishment. The mental illness discussed in the study ranged from mood and anxiety disorders, to drug and alcohol abuse or personality disorders.
I think we all agree that physical and sexual abuse is devastating to a child, but the idea of spanking as a disciplinary measure has remained controversial through the years, at least in the U.S. and Canada, where it is still legal. More than 30 nations do not agree with this practice and have abolished a parents’ right to use physical punishment on their children. This is one of the first studies that shows a link between this type of punishment and future mental illness.
Of course, the study doesn’t prove this and a link or correlation doesn’t show causation, but I do agree with these findings. As a mother to a boy who already has learning difficulties, heightened anxiety, and other developmental delays, I know that if he was ever spanked, it would only make matters worse. His tantrums or lack of communication can be challenging, but finding other ways to encourage good behavior is the only way to get through to him. He may not be motivated by disappointing his parents, like his older brother, but we have found that “time out” and taking away favorite toys work as effective parenting methods.
What do you think? Is spanking really that bad or could it just be an effective parenting tool?