PSYCHOLOGY

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study Found

Date October 22, 2018

Is it OK to spank your child? For 4 in 5 people in the United States, the answer is “yes”, according to a survey conducted in 2013. Most parents believe that spanking doesn’t harm the child in any way, as it hurts in the process but doesn’t cause physical injury. However, more and more studies prove that spanking actually causes long-term psychological harm.

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study Foundaltanaka / Shutterstock.com

READ ALSO: How To Get Your Child To Behave Without Yelling And Spanking

One study, published in 2016, concluded that spanking contributes to aggression, low self-esteem, depression, and poor academic performance later in life, and these are just a few possible negative outcomes of this discipline method.

One of the latest studies, published in the British Medical Journal, solidifies the findings of this and other previous studies.

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundLuis Louro / Shutterstock.com

What the latest study found

The study, published on October 15, was conducted to determine whether children from countries where physical punishment is fully banned (i.e. both at school and at home) were less aggressive.

Unsurprisingly, the study found that a ban on physical punishment, including spanking, was linked to lower levels of aggression. To be more specific, children living in countries with a full ban on corporal punishment engaged in fights with their peers less often than children from countries where there is no ban or only a partial ban on physical punishment. In the United States and the United Kingdom, there's a partial ban on physical punishment.

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study Foundspixel / Shutterstock.com

What does it tell us? We should look for alternative discipline methods.

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study Foundg-stockstudio / Shutterstock.com

READ ALSO: 19 Kids And All Spanked? The Duggar Family's Discipline Methods Raise Questions

What parents should do instead of spanking and other forms of physical punishment

If spanking doesn’t work, what should parents do instead? An appropriate punishment shouldn’t hurt the child, it should teach the child what is the right thing to do.

The punishment should be proportionate to the misdeed or misbehavior, and its ultimate goal should be teaching the child the right behavior.

Two good examples of appropriate punishment include withholding privileges (e.g. taking away electronics) and timeouts.

Children Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study FoundChildren Living In Countries Where Spanking Is Fully Banned Are Less Aggressive, A New Study Found

Disciplining children is hard work, but it makes them independent, confident, and responsible adults when done right.

READ ALSO: 5 Things That Happen When Parents Yell At Children


The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.