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Spanking and Its Harmful Effects

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Spanking is a widely practiced ritual in many countries; it is another way of ‘disciplining’ youngsters to behave appropriately. Because it is kept a secret which most people don’t talk about, and children are expected to sit and watch their parents do anything ‘behind closed doors’. This method of discipline (spanking) can sometimes lead to more serious cases of abuse. Spanking causes youngsters to become more violent. Spanking has been linked to an increase in violent behavior, a higher risk of criminality, and the development of mental health issues.

Spanking is one such tactic that can result in a kind of child abuse and influence a child’s behavior. Adolescents’ physical maltreatment has been linked to aggressive behavior in children and teenagers. For example, violence toward non-family members, other children, and future romantic relationships. According to the study, child maltreatment is linked to a variety of family characteristics and circumstances. Child abuse includes physical, emotional, and sexual harassment, as well as neglect. For example, according to Pediatrics for Parents, there is an “increased aggressive and delinquent behavior in children”. This explains why children who are subjected to parental abuse are more likely to be defenseless and weak, but it also motivates the ‘weak’ youngster to damage others and overwhelm others who appear to be weak. It’s similar to how bullies target the weak, but bullies can also target others because they have been mistreated themselves and want to feel better by inflicting the same pain onto another. In addition, when parents spank their children frequently, the child may believe it is acceptable to hit others. As mentioned by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “if we find violent practices or behaviors in one part of a society, such as in parenting practices, then we are likely to find it in other parts as well, such as in higher rates of domestic violence or assault”.

Acceptability, appropriateness, and the use of violence to coerce behavior change may all be based on larger cultural values and norms that regulate the use of violence to compel behavior change. It can also have an impact on children’s social abilities, as well as their violent behavior. For example, being unable to act appropriately in class, unable to keep ‘hands and feet to oneself’, and developing sociopathy. It should be mentioned that children can acquire sociopathy if their parents punish them, resulting in abuse. These children will be unable to interact with others in a socially acceptable manner. When it comes to a child being mistreated by their parents on a regular basis, the children start developing plenty of similar traits between them and sociopaths which would be not wanting to develop relationships with their parents, friends, and others. A youngster who feels unwanted or unwelcome in society isolates himself or herself from society and develops low self-esteem.

Furthermore, depending on their negative experiences with their parents, youngsters are more likely to have a bleak future. Many children who have been physically abused, for example, have a rough future. There is a greater possibility that the youngster may grow up to be a criminal or serial killer, harming other citizens. Consider the case of the Menendez brothers. Due to their father’s maltreatment and sexual assault of them as children, the two brothers killed their own parents. According to the Menendez brothers, their father allegedly forced his sons to perform verbal on him, among other horrific acts. This could have had an effect on the brothers’ mental health. One of them could have a tense connection with one’s parents, which can lead to family seclusion. This instance demonstrates how early childhood abuse has an impact on children’s development, as well as their attitudes toward violence and resentment toward their parents.

Children who are subjected to corporal punishment on a regular basis develop mistrust and are more likely to suffer mental health and cognitive difficulties. Also, maltreated children are more likely to maltreat their own children, which is the relationship between harsh physical punishment and child maltreatment in childhood and intimate partner violence in adulthood.

When looking at this form of abuse, there are numerous complicating factors. The age at which a person is exposed to or victimized by abuse can have an impact on many people’s experiences throughout their lives. The sort of environment, as well as the amount and intensity of abuse, are all factors that must be considered. And mentioned in the ‘BMC Public Health’, one could also develop antisocial personality symptoms disorder.

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Furthermore, children who were spanked by their parents or guardians had traumatic experiences that resulted in mental anguish, poor health, and strained relationships. Spanking, along with a hard early growth environment, can result in emotional discomfort and reflected parental images in adulthood. According to the article ‘Is a Harsh Childhood Growth Environment Reflected in Parental Images and Emotional Distress in Adulthood?’, the author shows how a difficult early growth environment can be perceived in adulthood through parental image and mental anguish. The author first starts off by saying, “We examined whether there is a link between parental representations of their own childhood and their adult children’s emotional distress”. Since they are looking for people who meet these characteristics, the author contends that there should be a link between parental representations of their own childhood and their children’s emotional discomfort. Then they go on to state in the article that they had discovered a correlation between the two by identifying two groups, one with high levels of emotional discomfort and the other with low levels of emotional distress, and then further explained how these groups came to be: “The first group consisted of participants who reported high levels of anxiety or depression at both time points; the second group included participants whose scores on these measures had improved over time”. This demonstrates that these categories were formed by identifying individuals with high or low degrees of emotional distress. After that, the author goes on to state that they discovered that “participants in the high-distress group were more likely than those in the low-distress group to report that their parents had been emotionally unavailable (i.e., unresponsive to their needs) and that they had been spanked as children”. This provides evidence that the participants in the high stress group were more likely to report that their parents were emotionally unavailable and that they were spanked as children. The conclusions of a study on the association between spanking and emotional suffering in adulthood are discussed in this article. The researchers discovered that spanking is linked to higher levels of emotional distress in adults, and that this effect is reconciled by parental pictures. The author then goes on to say that “these findings suggest that a harsh childhood growth environment is reflected in parental images and emotional distress in adulthood”.

This is the author’s analysis of the findings, and it reveals that they feel a severe childhood environment growing up can be shown in the parental imagery and emotional suffering. Participants who have been spanked as children were most likely to develop anxiety, depression, and stress as adults, according to the study in the article. This implies that spanking can have a long-term effect on one’s emotional health. “When compared with non-spanked children, those who were spanked displayed more aggressive behaviors as they grew up”, this quotation backs up the argument that spanking has detrimental impacts on children by demonstrating that being spanked as a child leads to aggressive adult behavior, whose example was given above using the murder cases, etc. These data, however, indicate that spanking can also take a toll on one’s emotional well-being. This effect is more likely due to the unfavorable perceptions of parents that spanking and other forms of abuse causes. These findings have rather important implications for parenting practices, as they suggest that spanking can and has taken a toll on one’s emotional as well as physical well-being, since anyone being spanked could suffer from an injury requiring medical care.

In the article “Spanking and Adult Mental Health Impairment: The Case for the Designation of Spanking as an Adverse Childhood Experience’, the author mentions that spanking may also affect a child’s cognitive ability and adversely affect academic achievement. A child who has grown up in a home where physical violence is used as a form of discipline, is more likely prone to lose confidence, self-esteem, etc. Some people suffer from anxiety and depression as mentioned above, leading them to turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with their problems trauma. Children who have been abused have a higher risk of attempting suicide. The ACE Questionnaire (Felitti et al., 1998), which incorporated items from the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, was used to measure physical and emotional abuse (Bernstein et al., 1994). Spanking, on the other hand, has no positive effect on children. Particularly in terms of their physical and mental wellness. The accumulating evidence tying physical punishment to detrimental long-term results has contributed to a global shift in attitudes toward the practice. Positive reinforcement, which is more likely to create long-term compliance and does not cause the same damage as spanking, and is a more effective alternative to spanking.

The article ‘Alternatives to Spanking’ by Kendra Nenia and Destry Maycock provides a clear description of what spanking is, as well as the five reasons why it is not and shouldn’t be an effective form of discipline. These reasons are supported by the evidence from the recent studies. “It is a form of corporal punishment. It includes whoopin’, slapping, grabbing, popping, smacking. Handling your child roughly in any way is a form of corporal punishment”. The author gives a precise explanation of spanking, which is crucial in understanding as to why it is ineffective as a disciplinary method before talking about the alternatives for spanking. Spanking is a form of corporal punishment in which a parent uses physical force to discipline or manage their child’s behavior. The five points as to why spanking is not an effective form of discipline were that spanking has limited control, decreases compliance, lowers moral internalization, and increases aggression. The article also, however, educates us on 10 alternatives to spanking, a list for how parents could console themselves before lashing out on their children. This article makes a well-balanced case against spanking as a technique of discipline. When reading the article on the effects of spanking on children, it provides evidence to back up its statements. It also highlights our society’s double standards when it comes to corporal punishment, which is an important topic to investigate. The better alternatives to spanking are: “Giving choices to children; so that they can learn to make good decisions on their own and make the situation more compliant. Getting someone else involved; it’s said that when in anger, get another involved, which will reduce the likelihood of one hurting their kid. Teach them what’s expected, recognize and praise positive behavior, and not only notice children’s misbehavior. Timeout, consequences. Settling limits, picking the battles, not picking the children apart for every little mistake, stating requests in positive”. Are some of the solutions to the issue of spanking, mentioned in the article.

The article ‘Alternatives to Spanking’ aims to educate parents and society as a whole about the effects of spanking on children, using the example of someone saying, ‘I was spanked, and I turned out okay’, to show that spanking should not be normalized just because it didn’t harm a few children’s emotional or physical well-being, as opposed to millions of children. “You would have turned out OK even if you hadn’t been spanked. And your childhood would have been a lot less painful. Not all spanked children turned out badly, but why take the chance? As a parent, do everything you can to guarantee that your child has the finest life possible”. And this article, used as an example, is just one way of something huge to educate society and be helpful to parents on the issue ‘Does spanking lead to children becoming more violent?’.

Since this is a controversial topic that few people discuss and is normally kept a secret, which for some children means that they are supposed to sit and watch their parents do whatever they want ‘behind closed doors’. This type of punishment (spanking) can sometimes progress to more serious abuse. When children are spanked, they become more violent. Spanking has been related to an increase in violent behavior, an increased likelihood of criminality, and the onset of mental health problems. Not only does society need to be taught about it, but people also need to be aware of it!

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Spanking and Its Harmful Effects. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from
“Spanking and Its Harmful Effects.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
Spanking and Its Harmful Effects. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].
Spanking and Its Harmful Effects [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2023 Mar 30]. Available from:
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