I was sitting down this afternoon and working on my lectures for this week when I stumbled upon a VERY angry Fox News reporter taking a not so unbiased reaction to an article released this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
This article, a twenty year meta-analysis of the hundreds of studies on the effects of spanking and other punitive (yelling, shaking, etc.) discipline measures is titled Physical punishment of children: lessons from 20 years of research. Although you cannot access this article without membership to an academic database Huff Post CA did a pretty good summary at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/06/children-physical-punishment-study_n_1258351.html
Now, I will say that I traditionally avoid overtly addressing some of these more ‘heated’ topics but after numerous conversations over the past few days feel that it is time. I hope you read this with an open mind and allow some time to think it over before you react.
First, to summarize the results of this study in a nut shell:
1. Children who are hit or treated aggressively are more likely to treat others (parents, siblings, peers, future romantic partners) aggressively. This includes more aggressive play schemes.
2. Spanking research suggest that it is no more effective or less effective as a technique than other less intrusive forms of discipline (like the ones I write about).
3. There is some evidence that recurrent use of physical punishment is linked to higher rates of adult depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Now, for those of you who are still reading. Let me explain a little about what this research is not saying:
1. Occasionally loosing control with your child and spanking, yelling or other punitive methods does not automatically CAUSE all of these problems. However, recurrent use of these techniques does have an ASSOCIATION to these later issues.
2. Parents who spank are not all child abusers. However, spanking could always be considered abuse, especially if the parent is not in control emotionally when they discipline their child. We MUST stay in control and never react out of anger in order to “Get Back” at our children or “teach them a lesson.
3. Parents are not suppose to let their children run the house and be afraid to correct or guide them. In fact, we have a whole other issue in terms of permissive parenting. We, instead need more C-3 parents who have a plan. They are consistent with their non-aggressive techniques, they are compassionate toward the child and their needs, and they are calibrating in the types of discipline they use as the child grows and changes.
To those of you out there who are still on the fence:
Many of us were spanked and “turned out fine”. Many of us have been told by parents, friends, and other family members that if we don’t spank our children will never learn to obey. Many of us have been raised in churches and spiritual communities that have misinterpreted scripture to imply that you are not following the bible if you don’t spank.
My fellow parents who are on this challenging journey of raising children with me…….there are better options than spanking. Not because it is the trendy thing or because you are scared that CPS will be called if you do….but because your child’s future relationships, understanding of love and control, and mental health may be effected.
If you aren’t sure what to do next, or are interested in exploring this more PLEASE DO. In fact, I will offer $10.00 consults to anyone who mentions “I want to stop Spanking” in an email to me.
Peace and Blessings on your C-3 Journey!