5 Reasons You Aren't 'Fine' if You Were Spanked as a Child

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spankingA new study has come out that says that spanking children can make them more aggressive. I seriously doubt I'm the only person who's filed this under "no surprise there," right? But what is always a surprise, to me at least, about the to-spank-or-not-to-spank debate is parents who pull the ol' "I was spanked and I turned out fine" argument.

While, yes, adults who were spanked as children may turn out to be functioning humans in the world who haven't killed anyone, there still are plenty of long-term effects of spanking. Effects that are pretty damn hard to ever undo.

More from The Stir: Spanking Your Child In Public Makes It Everyone’s Business

Here are 5 awful long-term effects caused by childhood spanking.

1. Spanking makes kids more aggressive. Like I said, this is what the latest findings on spanking conclude. According to Elizabeth Gershoff, who studies parental discipline and its effects at the University of Texas at Austin: "Kids who were spanked as 5-year-olds were slightly more likely to be aggressive and break rules later in elementary school. Spanking models aggression as a way of solving problems, that you can hit people and get what you want."

2. Spanking leads to language problems. The same study that found that children who were spanked at least twice a week by their fathers at the age of 5 were more likely to score lower on vocabulary and language-comprehension tests.

3. Spanking leads to cognitive impairment and long-term developmental difficulties. According to a 2012 study conducted at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, spanking "may reduce the brain's grey matter, the connective tissue between brain cells. Grey matter is an integral part of the central nervous system and influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions, and memory."

4. Spanking may lead to depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. Another 2012 study concluded that "being slapped, pushed, or hit as a child leads to an increased risk of mental illness." The study, which was published in Pediatrics, claims that "adults who reported such treatment as children were reported as 6 percent of respondents who had higher risk of mood disorders, anxiety, and alcohol or drug abuse."

5. Spanking children may lead to adult obesity and a host of other diseases. If mental effects aren't enough to sway parents away from spanking their children, perhaps physical ones will. According to a Canadian study done earlier this year, childhood spanking "can put children at higher risk of suffering cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and adult obesity."

What are your thoughts on spanking?


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Sarah... SarahHall58

I was spanked and I have NONE of those things.

NatAndCo NatAndCo

Ditto to the above. I do however know a child who was never spanked by his crunchy mama and was kicked out of multiple kindergartens for violent behavior and threatened my dad with a pumpkin carver at age 7. My brother and I were both spanked and neither one of us were aggressive or violent..... Or alcoholics.... Or depressed... So......

D.j. Lord

dont even try to explain things to nicole...she has her "study" and will run with it no matter what

lulou lulou

I'm betting we'll see examples of  #3 in the comments.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

I was spanked (although rarely and not after about age 3) and so was my DH (practically daily through elementary school.

1 - Neither of us are aggressive or were ever in any kind of trouble at school (except his one detention for forgetting his homework in tenth grade)

2 - I scored nearly perfect scores on the SAT and GRE language sections and was reading at a high school level in elementary school. DH is bilingual and also scored well on his standardized tests.

3 - See above, and add valedictorian and third in class in high school, as well as summa cum laude in college and postgraduate studies.

4 - I'm not even going to address this because "slapped, pushed, or hit" are NOT the same as getting spanked.

5 - I'll give them this one. I've got early onset arthritis that couldn't possibly be related to ten years of competitive cross country and track distance running, including four years of 40-50 miles/week in college.

nonmember avatar blh

I swat on the butt is not going to make you an alcoholic or fucked up. Getting abused certainly would, but it's hardly the same. I was never spanked ( my mother didn't believe in it bc she was honestly abused in my opinion, also an alcoholic) but i spank my son occasionally. He just plain doesn't listen to me alot. I don't like to but he generally doesnt care if i tell him not to do something and if i put him in time out alot of times he'll just get up. I was much better behaved as a kid, i listened for the most part without being spanked.

eupeptic eupeptic

Note that these are statistical studies based on many individuals which likely contained many outliers, not proclamations which state that all individuals who are spanked as children will experience these issues. They simply state that on average it is possible to identity these behavioral traits as being more common in individuals who were spanked in childhood compared to those who were not spanked when a significantly large number of people are analyzed.

amazz... amazzonia

I do spank my kids, and unlike most of the non spank kids, they never hit or are aggressive toward other, so it's not true they are more aggressive. Language, my 2 y old speaks better than a 3 y old, she knows all letters and numbers, she recognizes them and she knows even the letter sounds... Jeez I wonder maybe if I didn't spank they would be in Harvard by now lol 

CathyM66 CathyM66

This so called "study" is another load of BS that will continue to perpetuate another generation of spoiled, whiny, entitled children.  That is all.

work4... work4mickey

Notice number 4 does not say spanking. It says "being slapped, pushed or hit"

These anti-spanking "studies" almost always have to include abusive behaviors as well in order to achieve the desired conclusion. If you seperate your study into two groups, one which includes only non abused kids and one that includes both kids who were not abused as well as ones who were, what do you think the results will be?

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