Study Gives Parents Yet Another Reason Not to Spank Kids
Slapping or spanking a child is categorically not the best approach to disciplining a child, but if more reasons are needed, there may be another benefit to avoiding corporal punishment: new research has found that countries where slapping children is banned also see less teenage violence than countries without such prohibitions — by as much as 69%.
Numerous studies show evidence that physical punishment increases behavioral problems in children, yet the practice is still accepted and common in various parts of the world.
The data came from surveys of the 88 countries that are home to nearly 50% of the world’s adolescents; 30 had a full ban on corporal punishment at school and at home, 38 had an at-school ban, and 20 had no ban at all. Presently, India has a partial ban on corporal punishment on children, one that prohibits corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment at home is prevalent; recent surveys show more than 75% Indian parents regularly spank their children in reprimand (of which most understood the negative repercussions of doing so).
The researchers found countries with full bans showed 69% less violence among young men and 42% less violence among young women, compared to countries without any ban at all.
However, it’s important to note that the study can’t prove cause and effect; while the study did account for other factors that could influence the rate of youth violence, such as the country’s economy, murder rate and social programs available, it offers no proof that parental discipline styles affect societal violence.
Still, there’s no denying the main lesson that physical punishment teaches children: that physical violence is an acceptable way to deal with emotions. Given that, as well as the fact that there is enough proof that any form of corporal punishment is ineffective in correcting behavior, as well as harmful to children, there’s really no excuse for it.