Study Claims Spanking Children Raises Their Risk Of Mental Problems as Adults
To spank or not to spank? It’s a touchy subject (no pun intended) when it comes to parenting; some see it as a perfectly reasonable means of punishment, some see it as barbaric child abuse. Well, for those who see it as acceptable, you probably won’t like this story.
A new study claims that people who were spanked as kids are at a higher risk for developing mental problems, such as addiction and anxiety disorders. While previous studies on this topic have also included severe physical abuse and sexual abuse in the same category as spanking, this is the first study to focus solely on spanking.
Those who were spanked or hit as kids were between two and seven percent more likely to encounter mental issues later, said the research in the US journal Pediatrics, based on a retrospective survey of more than 600 US adults.
That figure may seem low, particularly since about half of the US population recalls being spanked in childhood, but nevertheless shows that physical punishment can raise the risk of problems later on, experts said.
“The study is valuable because it opens the conversation about parenting,” said Victor Fornari, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York.
The rate “is not dramatically higher, but it is higher, just to suggest that physical punishment is a risk factor for developing more mental disturbances as an adult,” said Fornari, who was not involved in the study.
OK, so what happens to the kids who don’t get spanked, those kids whose parents opt to use a “less harsh” method of punishment or no punishment at all? More likely than not, they turn into these spoiled, entitled little brats who think they can get away with anything. There’s a reason spanking has been going on as long as it has: like it or not, it’s effective and it works. And if this study holds any weight and it comes down to my kids being absolute terror or a 2% chance that they’ll develop a mood disorder, I think I’ll take my chances.