As a parent, you know the importance of disciplining a child. Although physical punishment isn’t the only way to discipline a kid, it is still widely practiced in the US. Many of our parents spanked. And we were told it is because they love us.
However, a new research revealed that physical punishment, especially spanking, has long-term negative consequences on a child. There have been plenty of studies that examined long-term associations (within a year), but none of them could clearly define the long term consequences. Now, the research published by the University of Missouri states that physical discipline experienced during childhood has huge negative consequences on kids.
One of the researchers, Gustavo Carlo, says that since long-term studies on the links between social development and temperament of children have been limited, they wanted to do their own research, focusing on low-income, diverse families. As a result, they found huge differences in temperament and self-regulation of children who have experienced spanking.
Carlo and his team launched the Early Head Start Research project and analyzed data from 1,840 mothers and children who enrolled in the project. All families were identified as African American or European American and below or at the federal poverty level. Researchers started the project when children were around 15 months old and in the fifth grade. Researchers collected data through surveys, interviews and home visits with teachers.
As a result, African-American children who experienced physical punishment at 15 months old grew up more aggressive and showed delinquent behavior. These children showed less positive emotions and weren’t willing to help others. However, the researchers couldn’t find the same link between physical punishment and behavior of European-American children. But for both groups, children whose parents could control their emotions and didn’t physically punish them showed better behavioral patterns.
Researchers found that children in African-American families are significantly affected by physical punishment as it has changed their behavior. Therefore, it is important to refrain from this way of punishing a child. If you want to nurture healthy behavior, you should help your child regulate their emotions and behaviors.
Researchers hope that their findings can help parents, teachers and everyone who works with kids to understand well-being in low-income families.
What do you think about this topic? I’m personally against physical punishment, so what about you? Share your opinion in the comments!