July 3, 2012
How many studies do we need to show that spanking and physically punishing our children is wrong?
Just in case one more will convince people - here is another one to add: a study in the Journal Pediatrics linked childhood spanking, slapping and pushing to an increased amount of depression and other mental health problems in adults.
Over 34,000 individuals between the ages of 20 to 24 were tracked for four years and variables such as physical and sexual abuse were removed from the findings. The Canadian researchers found that children who had been punished physically, including pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping and hitting, were 1.4 times more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse and other disorders.
The relationship between the physical punishment and the problems was relational not causal, says the researcher, but she says the findings are clear.
"It definitely points to the direction that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and we need to be considering that when we're thinking about policy and programs so we can protect children from potentially harmful outcomes," said study author Tracie Afifi, who is in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. "Parents need to be aware of this relationship."
The researchers suggest it could be the chronic stress that leads to the depression and anxiety, making the amount of physical punishment a cumulative issue. But any physical discipline can harm a child's development.
A fact that I still find surprising is that spanking is still legal under Canada's Criminal Code. The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPC), strongly discourages parents from using physical punishment.
I still don't understand how it is illegal to hit a stranger, but okay to hit someone who is vulnerable and that you love. It's good to know that I am not the only one asking the CPS and the government to take a stronger stance on corporal punishment. The researchers of the study also want the government to take a more explicit stand on spanking.
Parenting expert, Alyson Schafer, says that spanking is a tactic of parents who are bankrupt of other options. She says in the Globe and Mail:
“How a child interprets spanking is what really matters,” she said. “What kind of mixed message are we sending them when we say ‘hands are for hugging, not hitting’ and ask them to tell us if anyone hits, but then use force as parents?”
http://www.embracethechaos.ca/2012/07/s ... rders.html
Do you think spanking is okay? Why?