According to the medical journal Pediatrics, there appears to be a link between childhood spanking and adult mental illness … or at least that’s the headline making the rounds. (And, in case you can’t tell from my tone here, I’m calling shenanigans on this one)
Researchers examined data from more than 34,000 adults and found that being spanked significantly increased the risk of developing mental health issues as adults. According to their results, corporal punishment is associated with mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, as well as personality disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. They estimate that as much as 7 percent of adult mental illness may be attributable to childhood physical punishment, including slapping, shoving, grabbing, and hitting.
I guess my concern is, what exactly is the definition of “spanking” we’re working with here?
I know very few adults, both in my age group and on either end of it, that were not spanked as children at one point or another. I personally was spanked pretty consistently (which should probably have demonstrated to my parents how ineffective beating on your kid’s butt is as punishment, but that’s a different story), and I don’t think being spanked as a child had any impact on the adult I am whatsoever.
When you get into the stuff that goes beyond spanking, though, the punching and the kicking and the throwing down stairs and smashing little kids into walls, I’m sure the correlation exists. It’s just the way the reporting out of the study is spun in terms of its title that pisses me off, I guess.
And the fact that it’s pretty much an outrageous attempt to control parenting.
Before I go any further, I feel like I need to state that I have never spanked either of my children. This has nothing to do with any sort of noble mindset or belief that it’ll screw them up or anything, but more because I have found that either logical consequences (you hit a kid with a baseball bat, so we’re canceling your birthday party) or revoking privileges are far more effective. I mean, if she thinks her iPhone is at stake, my older daughter will do pretty much anything I ask.
The thing is, though, establishing the idea of logical consequences and revoking privileges is something that needs to be started at …