Spanking leads to bad behavior, says study

Research over the course of five decades claim that spanking may do more harm than good

Contrary to popular belief, spanking may not be instilling better manners in our kids.

Recent research out of University of Texas in Austin and University of Michigan analyzed data gathered over the course of five decades.

The 75 studies involved 150,000 children.

"This is a wide swath of children and the findings are incredibly consistent," study author Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff told CBS News. "This shows there is a correlation between spanking and negative outcomes and absolutely no correlation between spanking and positive outcomes."

The study found that spanking doesn't correct children's behavior and it even leads to worse behavior as they get older. Dr. Gershoff and her team found that spanked kids were likely to become aggressive and antisocial.

Aggression breeds aggression

photo: dreamstime photo: dreamstime

"The irony is that many parents spank when their kids are aggressive. So the child thinks you can use spanking to get what you want - kids learn that," she said.

Over the years, spanking has become associated with antiquated parenting methods but some are now adopting a gentler, kinder form of spanking which also involved positive reinforcement.

Learn more about healthy, positive discipline on the next page

"There's research showing that by the time most kids get to high school, at least 85 percent have been spanked. So, most kids are being spanked," she continues.

Some of these parents grew up being spanked and so this technique is passed on from generation to generation.

"To make ourselves feel better about it, we use spanking as a euphemism, but it's still hitting. There's no way to define spanking without using the word hitting," said Gershoff.

photo: dreamstime photo: dreamstime

Healthy, positive discipline

Gershoff says a healthy approach to discipline with an emphasis on the positive involves many techniques. "It's not one single technique," she adds. "It's a host of behaviors parents should do. They involve the relationship between a parent and child and rewarding the child when they do the right thing."

She said, "People think if you don't spank you're a pushover, but you can be a firm parent with high expectations for children. You don't have to hit them to show you have power."

In a society that is becoming increasingly hostile, we should do our best to create an environment that is safe and positive for our kids to grow into peace-loving, disciplined individuals.

READ: 35 ways to teach your child how to love humankind and live in a terrorism-free world

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!