Is Spanking Bad?

I apologize for not blogging in awhile. I have been accepted into a teaching program at my local university and have been plugging my hours away attending class, reading, and completing homework, while working two jobs.

So its football season, and I wanted to bring up football players that have been making the news. Two I can think off the top of my head are Ray Rice, suspended running back of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson, running back, for the Minnesota Vikings. Rice is being suspended for punching his then fiancee, and Peterson turned himself in for a felony charge of child abuse after severely whipping his son. I’ll focus on Peterson, since Rice’s story is all over the news.

I have been spanked and slapped throughout my life. Hell, I still get slapped by my mother after I talk back to her. Looking back, there were instances where I deserved it, since I was being bratty and wanted things my way. I don’t blame my parents for spanking because they too were spanked.

Back in the past, it was accepted to spank or slap your kid when they were being disrespectful. My relatives and some of my friends growing up were whipped if their behavior was out of shape.

Did spanking affect me in my adult life? Perhaps. I’m diagnosed with OCD and that could have been perpetrated by being scared I was going to be punished for something I forgot to do. Or it may be genetic because my mom had childhood OCD. One study indicates that their is a linear association between being spanked and slapped in childhood and a lifetime prevalence of a psychiatric disorder.It also states that the association is weak for major depression and anxiety, and stronger for alcohol abuse or dependence, and externalizing problems. But the limitations of the study were that the research shows that corporal punishment peaked at ages 3-4 and the ability to recall events that happened before age 5 is limited. Therefore, respondents in the study may not have recalled being slapped or spanked before age 5. Also, the respondents could have had behavioral problems before the exposure to spanking.

Another study, says that spanking may not have negative factors if its a cultural normative. For example, in black families (or any minority family in general), there is an emphasis of respecting the elders and the value of physical discipline to enforce that value.

Now the question comes in if spanking is considered child abuse? Some people say any type of hitting is child abuse. Others say spanking is fine only if it doesn’t level up to beating. I’m with the latter, I believe in using spanking as a last resort. Start with a verbal warning and explain to the kid why their behavior is inappropriate. If they repeat the behavior again, punish them by putting them in timeout or taking away a fun activity. If they continue with the behavior, spank them or choose another punishment that equals the inappropriate behavior. See corporal punishment as one method of discipline, not theonly method. Also, be consistent with your discipline. For example, if you don’t want your kid to go to your room, make you sure you discipline him or her every time they go there. At the end, match the intensity of discipline with the behavior and be consistent.

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