Is Spanking A Form Of Child Abuse? Here’s What Experts Say

Do you think spanking is a form of child abuse, or are you in support of this type of punishment? This long-debated topic is causing quite a ruckus on social media after a recent study has indicated that corporal punishment causes lasting harm. Global News Canada reports that the findings of a 50-year-long study published by Journal of Family Psychology have revived this discussion with great interest. Do you agree with the findings, or are you among those who think spanking teaches respect?

The findings of the study reportedly indicate that spanking doesn’t appear to cause “long-term compliance” in children. If anything, the findings seemed to indicate that children who are spanked tend to become more defiant of their caregivers. Andrew Grogan-Kaylor of University of Michigan offered his comments on the study’s findings.

“Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do.”

This isn’t the only study to indicate a link between child abuse and spanking. One from a few years ago indicated that children who were punished with force were more likely to have stunted IQs. They are also reportedly more likely to become criminals later in life.

While apparently most studies on this topic seem to indicate that spanking is a negative way to enforce rules, other experts have disagreed. One of those experts is Dr. Gerald Robert Farthing from University of Saskatchewan. He has expressed the opinion that there are circumstances which are appropriate for a parent to spank a child. He says it’s all about context.

“If we have a loving parent relationship where along with it comes the instruction or the training or the talking, then spanking as a resource along the line can be a very effective strategy.”

What circumstances exist that make it acceptable, though? The mainstream media constantly reports on cases of extreme child abuse and even homicides that result from violent punishments dealt by the hands of the victims’ parents. This seemingly endless list of cases exhibit the wide use of corporal punishment during moments of anger — something that experts warn against doing. For example, a Houston, Texas mom was recently charged with capital murder after she reportedly admitted to beating her five-month-old baby to death. Her reason for doing so? The baby wouldn’t stop crying.

Social media is reacting with varied responses to this latest study. Numerous people are still expressing support for spanking children, which coincides with a 2014 UNICEF report which declared that approximately 80 percent of parents, worldwide, still spank their kids.

If multiple studies are showing that spanking equates child abuse, then should it be criminalized? So far, approximately 50 countries have criminalized this form of punishment. What do you think about this constantly-debated topic? Is spanking a child a form of abuse, or is it a necessary tool in raising children and teaching them respect?

[Photo via Shutterstock.]

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