Want More Anxious and Poorly Adjusted Kids? Beat Them- A Study on Corporal Punishment

spankingNow I know I will immediately get hate mail from those who spank their kids and quote the bible, “spare the rod and spoil the child”, as well as the many that were beaten and say, “I turned out fine”.  To all those who fit that description, all I can say is I am sorry for you and for your children. If what you are doing is not working out so well, might you be open to learning a different way of doing things?  I have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The study “Corporal Punishment, Maternal Warmth, and Child Adjustment: A Longitudinal Study in Eight Countries,” discussed how previous research has found that corporal punishment generally is related to worse child adjustment (anxiety and aggression) and is generally moderated by maternal warmth. They found in this study across 8 countries (China, Colombia, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States) that the above was true and that in some cases, if moms were both providing the warmth and the corporal punishment there was even more anxiety created. You can read the study here…

Discipline means ‘to teach,’ not ‘punishment’.  I learned from raising my own children that taking things away from a teenager didn’t work for some. Getting a teenager to participate in activities that benefit others has a very positive effect. Putting younger children in time-out may work but the real magic in parenting comes from positive random love, kindness, and just noticing your child.  I recommend the book “The Conscious Parent”, which is full of great examples of how to create a child who is filled with self esteem and will be less likely to have anxiety, anger, or behavior issues.


Dr. Paul


One comment

  • There is a right way and wrong way to spank. My kids are just launching and very solid, happy kids. They were never spanked in anger and only for disobedience, never mistakes. My friends who used timeouts hated toddler hood because it took so long. We had a few swats and it was over, on to a happy day. As they got older, we switched to other methods, and they begged for a spanking because it was faster. I knew then it was time to stop. By the way, I HATED spanking them and was so glad to let it go. But it gave them soft hearts and made child rearing a joy instead of long frustrating exhausting days. And yes, it was for teaching them, not punishing them. I don’t believe this study any more than I believe the “all vaccines are wonderful” studies. They aren’t honest, and you have to dig in to find out what they mean. Just the title of this piece shows bias. The very idea that a couple of swats is “beating” is nonsense.

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