Research shows that of those parents who spank their children, more than 8 out of 10 expressed moderate to high anger, remorse and agitation while delivering the punishment.
Extensive and numerous child research studies suggest any form of corporal punishment is significantly damaging to a child’s self esteem and the relationship between parent and child. Any compliance from a child after a spanking is out of fear, rather than learning self-control and/or respect.
In one of the most extensive research studies ever, Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff of Columbia University examined scores of studies conducted over 60 years on the subject of corporal punishment. After analyzing and integrating the studies, she determined these ten behaviors associated with corporal punishment.
1. Decrease in moral internalization (the process in which children “take over the values and attitudes of society as their own so that socially acceptable behavior is motivated not by anticipation of external consequences, but by intrinsic or internal factors”).
2. Increased child aggression. (“…parent’s use of corporal punishment in childhood was the strongest predictor of adolescence aggression eight years later.”)
3. Increased child delinquent, criminal and anti-social behavior
4. Decreased quality of relationship between parent and child.
5. Decreased child mental health.
6. Increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse.
7. Increased adult criminal and antisocial behavior.
8. Decreased adult mental health.
9. Increased risk of being abusive to own children or spouse.
10. Decreased average cognitive ability
The challenge for parents is how to find a better way to discipline. Effective discipline teaches a child self-control, self-awareness, and respect. Parents can be more intentional about remaining calmer and emotionally connecting with a child to better understand underlying reasons for behavior. By establishing healthy structure with proper limit setting, healthy consequences, and proper role-modeling, a parent can significantly reduce emotional tension and power struggles.