Spanking your child won’t hurt them in the long run — as long as they feel loved. The information comes from a new study of teenagers published in the journal Parenting: Science and Practice.
The study showed that the painful effects of stern discipline, like verbal threats and spanking, can be offset by the child’s feeling of being loved by his or her parents.
Parenting groups and charities were upset with the study’s results, saying that a child can suffer long term damage from physical discipline like smacking and spanking.
However, the researchers stated that their findings showed being punished won’t likely result in antisocial behavior later on in life, as long as the child believes that the punishment is coming from a “good place.”
Physical punishment has been controversial, as some studies show it can carry a greater risk of the child showing symptoms of aggression, delinquency, and hyperactivity later on. But the study’s authors claim that the reactions can be moderated.
The team, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, studied a group of Mexican American teens. They discovered that, as long as the teens had a loving mother when they were younger, they would be protected against antisocial behavior later on. Dr. Miguelina German, the study’s author, also noted that strict discipline is common in Latino culture.
The team noted that “perception of maternal warmth” was able to show a positive relationship between harsh discipline and how the child dealt with issues later on in life. Despite the latest study, however, a spokesperson for the NSPCC, who campaigns to outlaw spanking and smacking, stated:
“Smacking is not an effective form of punishment and undermines the trusting relationship between a child and their carer. And it just teaches children to be violent. Young people tell us smacking leaves them feeling upset but often doesn’t deter them from doing what they were smacked for.”
Previous research has also found that children are more likely to become well adjusted adults if their parents are firm with discipline.
Do you believe that spanking or smacking is an acceptable form of punishment?
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