We now have solid evidence that spanking is more harmful than good for children. In the largest study of its kind researches have found that children who were spanked displayed more adverse socialization than others. They also conclude that spanking does not improve the behaviour of children when they are hit or afterwards.
Spanking is not a good behaviour, so you are probably wondering why this is mentioned here. We can use this knowledge that hitting kids (spanking) to change laws and the behaviour of adults. Let’s all go out and make the world a little better by not hitting people no matter their age.
Their study, which was published in the April edition of the Journal of Family Psychology, was based on five decades worth of research involving more than 160,000 children. They are calling it the most extensive scientific investigations into the spanking issue, and one of the few to look specifically at spanking rather than grouping it with other forms of physical discipline.
“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors. Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree,” explained Gershoff. “We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline.”