Spanking your kids is abuse

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Studies find that physical discipline does a lot more harm than good

By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor


There are a lot people that think there is a fundamental difference between abuse and discipline when it comes to children’s punishment. The way I see it, if you use physical force to teach your kid a lesson, it is abuse. End of story.

With so much research and evidence out there about physical punishment and the harm it can do to children, it is astounding that parents still choose to use this form of discipline. Yet, unfortunately this kind of discipline is still practiced by many parents.

According to a 50-year study done by the Journal of Family Psychology, spanking your child not only does not work as a form of punishment, it hinders the child’s development and learning, and can negatively affect their mental state. This includes increased mental health problems, cognitive difficulties, aggression, and anti-social behaviour. Why would someone choose to make this their form of discipline when it ultimately does a lot more harm than good?

The researchers of this study also found that physically punishing your kids does very little in terms of their obedience. It does quite the opposite, actually; spanking children makes them more likely to defy their parents than to listen to or obey them, which defeats the purpose of punishing them in the first place.

Dr. Shimi Kang, a Vancouver-based psychiatrist and parenting author attests to this fact.

“Often, we see kids get worse after spanking. They’re emotionally upset and because they’re young, they don’t know how to deal with the feelings of being unhappy or stressed so they’ll act out more. It’s not to aggravate parents,” he explained in an article on

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Quite often, parents who advocate for physical punishment of their kids were also physically punished by their parents when they were young. They claim that it made them tough or that it builds character, but aggressiveness and anger issues, symptoms of being hit as a child, should not be mistaken for toughness or character.

Some people claim that the evidence is mixed on whether physical punishment works or not. Considering the studies that have been done and the research showing that it does a lot more harm to your child than good, I don’t understand how people can still have this view. Hitting or physically harming someone is never okay, especially when it comes to children. Violence is still violence, no matter how you spin it.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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