A 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.
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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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