+
upworthy
Family

New study shows spanking hurts kids' mental health and is less effective at teaching lessons

Why is it wrong to hit an adult or an animal but OK to spank a child?

sad child
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Yet another study shows that spanking isn't good for kids.

Whether to spank your child or not is one of the oldest debates among parents. Many live by the age-old wisdom that to “spare the rod” is to “spoil the child,” while others believe it’s wrong to resort to violence to punish a child when so many alternatives exist.

It also begs the question: If it's wrong to hit your spouse or pet, why is it acceptable to hit a defenseless child?

The 2021 American Family Study found that support for spanking has declined in the U.S. over the past few years. In 2015, 54% either somewhat or strongly agreed with the practice, but that number dropped to 47% in 2021. Thirty-five percent of respondents disagree with the practice and 18% neither agree nor disagree.

A new research study from the Parent and Family Research Alliance in Australia led by Professor Sophie Havighurst and Professor Daryl Higgins from Australian Catholic University makes a strong case that people should stop using corporal punishment to discipline their kids. The study “Corporal punishment of children in Australia: The evidence-based case for legislative reform” analyzed countless studies on the topic and found spanking ineffective and harmful.

The study was published to urge lawmakers to make corporal punishment in Australia illegal. Sixty-five states across the world have made corporal punishment illegal, protecting 14% of the world’s children.

The study defined corporal punishment of children as using physical force to cause pain, but not injury, to correct or control a child’s behavior.

The most startling meta-analysis published in the study found that "only 1 out of 111 statistically significant effect sizes was associated with a link between 'spanking' and a positive child outcome," while 110 were found to be associated with adverse outcomes.

The one positive outcome was in a 1972 study of children of the U.S. military living in West Germany that found those spanked showed less amphetamine and opiate use as adults.

However, the remaining 110 significant results found that spanking had adverse effects, including: “reducing trust and connection with those they are closest to, lower self-esteem, more internalizing and externalizing behavior problems including aggression, mental health difficulties, and increased risk for later substance abuse, antisocial behavior, and violence.”

A meta-analysis found that when children are spanked, they are less likely to internalize the moral implications of the behaviors that led them to be disciplined. It also found that non-physical discipline was more effective at teaching “alternative behaviors,” “developing a child’s conscience,” and advancing their “emotional development.”

Another meta-analysis cited in the story found that corporal punishment in childhood was associated with mental health problems, low self-esteem and antisocial behavior.

In the end, the studies show that corporal punishment is counter-productive when it comes to raising healthy, happy children. But it will take much more than a study to get people to reconsider their views of corporal punishment because they are deeply rooted in many cultural traditions.

Looking for some non-physical alternatives to discipline your child? Here’s a great place to start from WebMD.

An English doctor named Edward Jenner took incredible risks to try to rid his world of smallpox. Because of his efforts and the efforts of scientists like him, the only thing between deadly diseases like the ones below and extinction are people who refuse to vaccinate their kids. Don't be that parent.

Unfortunately, because of the misinformation from the anti-vaccination movement, some of these diseases have trended up in a really bad way over the past several years.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Married couple swears by the '3-Hour Night' as a relationship game changer

"If you’re stuck in a rut with your evenings — try this!"

@racheleehiggins/TikTok

Want out of a relationship rut? The Three hour night might be the perfect solution.

Almost every long term relationship suffers from a rut eventually. That goes especially for married partners who become parents and have the added responsibility of raising kids. Maintaining a connection is hard enough in this busy, fast paced world. Top it off with making sure kids are awake, dressed, entertained, well fed, oh yeah, and alive…and you best believe all you have energy for at the end of the day is sitting on the couch barely making it through one episode on Netflix.

And yet, we know how important it is to maintain a connection with our spouses. Many of us just don’t know how to make that happen while juggling a million other things.

According to one mom, a “three-hour night” could be just the thing to tick off multiple boxes on the to-do list while rekindling romance at the same time. Talk about the ultimate marriage hack.

Keep ReadingShow less

A Korean mother and her son

A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.

Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:

“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Comedian shuts down heckler cop after joke about police violence

“You disrespected me, so I’ll disrespect you.”

via Steve Hostetter

A comedian defends himself against a heckler police officer.

Some people just haven't gotten the memo: You really don't want to heckle comedian Steve Hofstetter. He's become one of my favorite stand-up acts both because he's just funny but also because of his brilliant ways of shutting down hecklers and other rude patrons who show up for his live act.

In this case, Hofstetter was in the middle of a bit where he quipped, "I don't like people." It was part of a larger joke recalling how he'd had a bad interaction with a police officer but that he was "still alive" because he was a white male.

Keep ReadingShow less

New baby and a happy dad.


When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was about to have her second child, she was both excited and nervous.

Sure, those are the feelings most moms-to-be experience before giving birth, but Lisa's nerves were tied to something different.

She and her husband already had a 9-year-old son but desperately wanted another baby. They spent years trying to get pregnant again, but after countless failed attempts and two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying.

Keep ReadingShow less