Finding effective ways to guide kids can be a struggle- especially since each child responds so differently. From “time outs” to “spanking”, parents hope that discipline works to modify behavior. But what about the long-term impact of discipline like spanking? Is it effective in the long-run?
A recent study completed and published in the journal of Pediatrics found that kids (ages 3-5 years old) who are spanked at least twice a week were more likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior at age 9. The study also discovered that kids who were spanked were more likely to score lower on language tests- suggesting that physical punishment may influence a child’s development. This study was completed with almost 2,000 families in 20 cities nationwide. Additional research is showing that spanking children who may be predisposed to aggressive behavior makes them even more aggressive as they get older.
So what do you do as a parent? You can speak to your child’s primary care provider and ask for guidance. There are also a number of trusted web sites that can offer support, for instance Nemours or HealthyChildren.org. In addition, understanding the connection of spanking as a form of discipline for younger children as it relates to aggressive behavior could be a key to bully prevention. Learn more about the research and ways to prevent bullying.