Study Reveals That Spanking Makes Kids More Defiant And Prone To Mental Illness, Risk Factors Equal Physical Child Abuse

To spank or not to spank has been a debate for decades. Both sides of the argument are extremely passionate about why they believe their side is the right one, and how the other side is wrong. It turns out, according to a new study, that spanking is wrong and could emotionally damage your children.

K For revealed that the University of Texas conducted a 50-year-study that came to the conclusion that spanking your kids could be harmful to their development. Not only that but the research found that it was ineffective in controlling negative behavior and could cause severe mental and emotional problems.

The study defined a spanking as “An open-handed hit on the behind, hands, or legs.”


The study found that those adults who were spanked as kids were three times as likely to spank their own children. No evidence proved that a spanking had a positive effect on the child’s behavior or development, and the experts compared the effects of a spanking to be identical to child abuse.

According to a 2014 UNICEF report, 80 percent of parents across the world admitted to spanking their children at least part of the time as a disciplinary method.

“Spanking thus does the opposite of what parents usually want it to do. We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors. Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”


“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors. We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes, and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”

The study revealed that the more often the child was spanked, the risk for mental illness, anti-social behavior, and defiant disorders increased as well, Yahoo! reported. The experts agreed that there was rarely ever a time when a spanking was warranted to correct negative behavior in a child. They encouraged parents to implement positive reinforcement and to utilize such disciplinary methods such as time-out and removing toys from the child’s possession for behavior modification.


When you think about it, the study makes perfect sense. How can you expect to teach a child to behave by hitting them? For example, your child hits his younger brother again after you have told him to stop. You threaten that if he doesn’t stop hitting, you will spank him. He hits this brother again, and you are frustrated and follow through with your threat to punish him.

So essentially, you spanked him (hit him) on the bottom for hitting his sibling. It was the same action you told him was wrong. There is no lesson in this type of discipline, and you teach him nothing, but to be afraid of being hit by the one person he is supposed to trust — his parent. You see how this could be a confusing concept for a child to understand?

Even though most parents know they shouldn’t spank their kids, up to 80 percent of the parents worldwide admitted to using it as a primary disciplinary method. Voice your opinion about the spanking study and come back later for more trending news and updates.

[Photo Via Shutterstock]