AUSTIN (WIVB) — A new study from two universities, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, says that spanking your children has ill long-term effects.
150,000 children from 75 studies spanning 50 years’ time were analyzed by researchers at the University of Texas and University of Michigan.
Study author and Texas associate professor Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff told CBS News, “This is a wide swath of children and the findings are incredibly consistent. This shows there is a correlation between spanking and negative outcomes and absolutely no correlation between spanking and positive outcomes.”
In the long run, Gershoff says spanking kids can inhibit their development, making them become more antisocial and aggressive later in life.
“The irony is that many parents spank when their kids are aggressive. So the child thinks you can use spanking to get what you want – kids learn that,” she said. “There’s research showing that by the time most kids get to high school, at least 85 percent have been spanked. So, most kids are being spanked.”
Gershoff says paddling, or spanking with objects, was more common in previous generations. Some people say the act of spanking is passed down from parents to children and so forth, according to CBS sources.
“To make ourselves feel better about it, we use spanking as a euphemism, but it’s still hitting. There’s no way to define spanking without using the word hitting,” said Gershoff. “Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors.”
Gershoff says an alternative to spanking is to emphasize the positive aspects of discipline, saying parents do not have to hit their children to display dominance.
“It’s not one single technique. It’s a host of behaviors parents should do,” says Gershoff. “They involve the relationship between a parent and child and rewarding the child when they do the right thing.”
Dr. David Pollack, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said “Discipline is derived from the word ‘disciple’ or teacher, and our goal is to teach kids right from wrong, to have them always engage with others in a positive and productive way, to live by the golden rule.”
Pollack, who believes parents should be role models, added, “Our society is becoming increasingly violent and angry; we should try to do everything possible to minimize that culture around our children,” he said.