Unfortunately, in many cultures, physical punishment is still common practice in raising children. Many parents sincerely believe that spanking is the most effective and quick way to educate and influence a child. However, the majority of them do not think about what consequences this may cause. According to Okuzono et al. (2017), children who have experienced physical punishment have more emotional and behavioral problems. Despite the debate between parents, due to numerous studies, physical punishment is ineffective and always has psychological consequences, such as aggression and violence towards others.
As with any mental trauma, violence has an impact that is not associated with the formation of stable personality traits. According to Strassberg et al. (1994), “Spanking fails to promote prosocial development and, instead, is associated with higher rates of aggression toward peers.” Examination of preschool children demonstrated that children who have been spanked at home were twice as aggressive as other children (Strassberg et al., 1994). Moreover, Straus states that children subjected to physical punishment were four times more likely to show aggression towards siblings than children who were not punished (1994). Child abuse leads to aggression and violence towards others.
Children who were physically punished by their parents are more likely to have problems raising their own children in the future. In addition, as the parents noted in their self-reports, those who had experienced physical punishment in childhood were three times more likely to show physical aggression towards their spouse (Straus, 1994). Even though sometimes spankings lead to positive short-term results, they result in more significant problems in the long term.
Thus, physical punishment is an extremely ineffective way of influencing a child. This is primarily because physical punishment does not allow achieving sustainable positive changes in the child’s behavior. Spanking causes negative effects “on child behavioral and cognitive development ” (MacKenzie et al., 2013). Physical punishments such as spankings always have a more comprehensive range of consequences that increase aggressiveness and violence.
MacKenzie, M. J., Nicklas, E., Waldfogel, J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2013). Spanking and child development across the first decade of life. Pediatrics, 132(5), e1118-e1125.
Okuzono, S., Fujiwara, T., Kato, T., & Kawachi, I. (2017). Spanking and subsequent behavioral problems in toddlers: A propensity score-matched, prospective study in Japan. Child abuse & neglect, 69, 62-71.
Strassberg, Z., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., & Bates, J. E. (1994). Spanking in the home and children’s subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers. Development and psychopathology, 6(3), 445-461.
Straus, M. A. (1994). Beating the devil out of them. Transaction Publishers.