Don’t get me wrong. Discipline is an essential part of raising a child. It helps to guide them to learn right from wrong and to become a responsible adult. However, for many people, the type of discipline they’re using may be doing just the opposite and may be pushing their child to become an abusive adult starting from their childhood.
Several studies show that when children are spanked, hit, or beaten as a form of discipline, they often end up with emotional problems and are typically more violent and aggressive than those who received other types of discipline. In fact, children who were spanked have a similar risk of becoming an abusive adult as those who were abused.
Many people use the excuse that spanking worked just fine for their parents and grandparents, but previous generations also thought it was perfectly fine to smoke and drink while pregnant, which also apparently is now known to be sorry for children. It’s important for parents to look more at the facts and research than merely doing what’s always been done.
One such research study done by the University of Texas Medical Branch looked at over 750 people found that spanking was a precursor to dating violence in a high percentage of participants. In fact, around 95% of those who had been spanked or otherwise received corporal punishment as children ended up behaving violently in relationships later in life.
Researchers concluded that the act of spanking children taught them that the only way to resolve conflict was through physical violence. As they became adults and began having romantic relationships, this translated to them becoming abusive because they believed that physical abuse was the best way to solve any conflict as they were taught in their childhood.
Mostly, the lesson that many children end up taking away from being spanked is that if you want someone to do what you want them to do, the best way is to hit them. In most cases, the person being caught is the weaker and smaller party. However, since many women hit their partners, it’s clear that abuse is not as one-sided as many people are led to believe.
As these people become parents themselves, the chances of them becoming violent and abusive adult to their children are significantly increased. This ends up perpetuating the chain of spanking and abusive behaviors unless future generations make a conscious decision to refrain from using physical violence as a form of discipline.
Where many parents fail is that they don’t think through their actions and how they might affect their children in the long term. They focus too much on getting their child to behave or obey at that moment. Often, they’re acting without thinking and rather than teaching them how to work; they teach their children to fear them and to solve conflicts with violence.
Despite the fact that the goal of discipline is to get a child to submit to the authority of the parents, large studies have found that the opposite outcome is much more common. There is a positive correlation between children who receive physical punishment and defiance. Children who are spanked will begin by being more defiant towards their children, and later show that same defiance towards all authority figures.
Another unfortunate outcome of children who are physically punished is that they often suffer from more mental illnesses compared to other people. Adults who were spanked as children are far more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, abuse drugs or alcohol, and have trouble empathizing with others or understanding basic moral behaviors.
It’s essential for us as a society to understand that our actions can have a lasting impact on our children so we can make the changes now that will impact future generations for the better. There are many other forms of discipline that can teach our children to be responsible, productive adults which don’t involve physical violence.