From Clutch Magazine: [Warning: If you believe routine corporal punishment is a form of “discipline” and an effective parenting tool, or you are easily offended by critical opinions of that method, this might not be the article for you. If this applies, please proceed to the first article that more comfortably aligns with your beliefs. Now we will continue with your regularly scheduled programming.]
I am an extremely vocal opponent of corporal punishment as a casual form of discipline. Not because I particularly care about what happens in the households of others, but because there has been such extensive research proving myriad negative effects on the evolving psyches of children when their parents hit them, that I cannot, in good conscious, buy into the propaganda that “it’s good for them.”
Yes, hit. Not “spank.” Hit, and for the purpose of this article, we’re going to call a spade a spade.
When the results of a recent study hit the Internet revealing that hitting children as a form of discipline – no matter how rarely it may occur — increases their chances of developing mental illness, I posted it on my Facebook page without any commentary.
I did this for two reasons:
1) I wanted to see how quickly the conversation completely jumped the tracks, with advocates of hitting children as a form of discipline weighing in with how “they turned out alright.”
2) I was genuinely curious to read the reactions of others to a study that didn’t judge the parents, but showed undeniably, negative long-term effects on the children.
I was not disappointed at all with the answers to question #1; nor was I surprised that question #2 was avoided with as much skill as Snoop Dogg trying to sneak through airport security with a bag of weed.
The very first comment was a zinger:
I was spanked & slapped… I’ve never been in any legal trouble, I’m educated, generous, kind — a model citizen. I will do the same when I’m a mother.
This statement was problematic for me because mental illness in no way suggests that a person is not a “model citizen.” Nor could I understand why anyone in sound mind and body would actually plan to slap their future children.
The next statement was no less generic, but even more troubling:
So when children get out of line [or are] disrespectful, talk back to you, stay out all times of the night, what do you do then? Send them to their room? You as the parent(s) can do it. “Discipline” them or let society do it.
The purposeful ignorance of believing that discipline and hitting are synonymous never ceases to amaze me. Discipline actually takes a brain, while hitting takes nothing but a belt, switch, or a hand, and I find it reprehensible for anyone to condone the striking of a child in anger. The “divine purpose” of “spare the rod, spoil the child” is nothing but religious doctrine, which, as one of my friends so brilliantly pointed out, comes from the same book of parables and fables that contains the “true story” of God ordering she-bears to viciously eat 42 children alive for calling Elisha bald-head.
As I previously reported for NewsOne when discussing the Pastor Creflo Dollar case, there have been a plethora of studies done to show the long- standing emotional and psychological effects of corporal punishment, including the following study conducted by psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University:
While conducting the meta-analysis, which included 62 years of collected data, Gershoff looked for associations between parental use of corporal punishment and 11 child behaviors and experiences, including several in childhood (immediate compliance, moral internalization, quality of relationship with parent, and physical abuse from that parent), three in both childhood and adulthood (mental health, aggression, and criminal or antisocial behavior), and one in adulthood alone (abuse of own children or spouse).
Gershoff found “strong associations” between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child.
I have honestly never seen a study that found corporal punishment to have long-term positive effects. Not one. I’ve heard anecdotes, but no formal studies. Corporal punishment, e.g., physical abuse, was never used in my home and I have never disrespected my father. I was disciplined, yes, but never hit. And contrary to popular opinion, I truly believe we need more parents who subscribe to that philosophy instead of the opposite.