Studies Show That Spanking Leads To Long-Term Harm In Children


A significant percentage of parents continues to spank their children in spite of warnings from experts that spanking causes more harm than good. Today, the debate on whether corporal punishment is an appropriate means of correction still rages on both online and offline. And no matter how much some people might try to justify it, studies are repeatedly showing that spanking does not yield the outcome we desire.

The American Journal of Family Psychology published a study which was based on research that had been carried out for over 50 years on over 160,000 kids. It revealed that spanking is not suitable for our children.

Researchers from the Universities of Michigan, Austin, and Texas found out that spanked kids were more likely to display defiance towards their parents as they continued to grow, and that it could lead to issues such as aggression, anti-social behavior, cognitive difficulties, and mental health problems.

The study additionally explained the definition of spanking as ‘an open-handed hit on the extremities or behind.’ And in contrast to other studies which look at the effects of spanking as part of abusive behaviors, this particular study just analyzed the impact of spanking alone.


The findings from the research went on to explain that if a parent desires immediate results, corporal punishment does not help and that it is the least effective method of getting through to kids even if it is for the short term.

Data from the study revealed that spanking, in fact, worsened the child’s behavior in most cases. Elizabeth Gersoff, one of the researchers, insisted that using this kind of disciplining technique is quite detrimental to children. And to leave no room for doubt, the research also studied adults who were punished in this way as kids, and the results were disturbing.

The researchers discovered that out of these adults, those that were spanked the most also tended to display antisocial behavior or some kind of mental health disorder. They were also more susceptible to depression and anxiety. The takeaway here is that physically disciplining your child has the same effects as subjecting them to physical abuse.

As a society, we commonly think of physical abuse and spanking as separate entities. Yet, research continues to reveal that spanking also breeds the same adverse outcomes as physical abuse, albeit to a lesser degree.

Most people who are for spanking argue that this form of correction is not wrong because they received it and still turned out okay. However, researchers insist that these people turned out alright in spite of it and not because of it.

Nevertheless, the researchers understand that this can be a bitter pill to swallow especially for societies where corporal punishment is considered to be the ideal form of disciplining children. However, part of being a parent is also being open to new ideas of going about bettering your child. And thus, if this means looking for better ways to get through to them, then it is something that you need to do.

What can you do instead of spanking?



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