Back in the day, it was fairly common to receive a spanking for naughty behavior. If you were a child in the 60s, 70s, 80s and even the 90s, chances are, you got smacked with a parent’s hand or in more extreme cases you may have been the victim of a belt whipping. Over the years, while it has become less common to physically abuse a child, some parents still do it, but research shows that instead of teaching the child a lesson, hitting only teaches a child to use physical abuse later in life.
Oftentimes the reason why a parent opts for abuse over solid discipline is that it is the easier way out. Instead of having to dissect emotions and behavior issues, the parent believes that they can solve the problem with a simple smack. According to science, children who are spanked, are more likely to be abusive when they grow up.
Parents who hit and use objects to physically abuse their children claim that this type of discipline worked for their parents and they turned out fine. But, did they really? Women also smoked and drank alcohol while they were pregnant years ago, but over time research has proven that these behaviors didn’t do anything good for the health of the baby. We learned from our ancestors’ mistakes when it came to what substances we put in our pregnant bodies, but when it comes to physical abuse, there is still a lot more of it going on between parent and child.
Scientists claim that partaking in physical abuse serves as an emotional and retaliatory release for the parent, but it’s time to do better by our children and take the time to actually find the root of the problem.
In a study conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch, 800 adults were surveyed and the majority who were physically violent as an adult were hit by their parents.
“Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence,” the study’s lead author Psychiatry Professor at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Jeff Temple said.
In a piece written by Dr. Denise Cummins, in Psychology Today, parents are not only bigger in size than children, but their brains are fully developed, allowing them to be more capable of self-control.
In today’s world of bullying, we have witnessed firsthand the result of bigger kids gaining up on smaller ones, yet parents still partake in physically abusive behavior with their much smaller children.
“When a parent tries to get children to behave better by hitting them, that parent is telling them that hitting people who are smaller and weaker than you is an acceptable way of getting what you want from them. Why should it surprise that parent when their children beat up smaller children at school or grow up to be wife beaters?” said Cummins.
The only thing that hitting does to a child is turn them into angry, resentful adults, with psychological and emotional problems.
“A large meta-analysis of studies on the effects of punishment found that the more physical punishment children receive, the more defiant they are toward parents and authorities, the poorer their relationships with parents, the more likely they are to report hitting a dating partner or spouse,” Cummins said. “They are also more likely to suffer mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems, and less likely to empathize with others or internalize norms of moral behavior.”