When it comes to punishing children, spanking is never a good idea. Here’s why.
A new study reveals a connection between spanking in childhood and mental health diagnoses later in life. Whether or not you agree with the findings, I’d like to present you with ten reasons spanking is never a good idea.
1. Spanking shows that “stronger” is right. When you use physical punishment to show a child he/she did something wrong, you are sending the unintended message that whomever is bigger and stronger decides what’s right and what’s wrong. Does this mean your child can determine what’s right when he or she becomes stronger than you? Could this contribute to why elder abuse is so prevalent?
2. Spanking demonstrates that older people have a right to hit younger people. You’re sending the message that older, bigger people have the right to hit younger, smaller people. This is especially confusing when you’re disciplining a child for hitting someone. What do you think can happen when your child grows to be bigger than you?
3. Spanking gives the example that violence solves problems. Spanking also shows children that violence is an appropriate way to solve life’s problems. “If I don’t like what you do, then I’m going to hit you.” Physically punishing your child can be perceived as a form of bullying, sending the message to your child that this is an effective way to get others to do things your way.
4. Spanking damages self-esteem. When children are hit by the very people who are supposed to protect them, it causes a child to question, “What’s wrong with me?” Self-esteem is a critically important and fragile thing. If you want your child to succeed in life, the level of his or her self-esteem will be a major determining factor. 10 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health EXPERT
5. Spanking can increase the likelihood of developing mental health symptoms. According to this new study, links have been found from later mental health diagnoses to higher incidents of childhood spanking for disciplinary purposes. I am willing to bet that when spanking your child, your intention wasn’t to create long-term psychological problems.
6. Spanking damages your relationship and trust. Do you remember being hit as a child? Do you ever remember thinking afterward, “I’m so thankful my parent loves me enough to hit me?” Of course you didn’t! You were probably thinking, “I hate you” or some version of an anti-relationship building comment.
Kim Olver, LCPC, has been featured in Whole Living, Women’s World, Fitness Magazine and Counseling Today and is the best-selling, award winning author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life.
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Credential: LCPC, MS, NCC