Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Spanking can lead to relationship violence, study says

It can also lead a person to accept abuse as an adult. Eg., I did voluntary prison visitation of women prisoners. A young woman was in jail for drug charges. She stated that if a man didn't hit a woman, it meant he didn't love her. Sounds like she got told by her parents "I only hit you because I love you."


By Sandee LaMotte and Carina Storrs, CNN
Updated 1:58 PM ET, Tue December 5, 2017

Parents who believe in "spare the rod, spoil the child" might be setting their children up to become violent toward future partners, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Pediatrics.
"We asked 758 kids between 19 and 20 years old how often they had been spanked, slapped or struck with an object as form of punishment when they were younger," said the study's lead author, Jeff Temple, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch. "Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence."
This result, he said, held up even when contributing factors such as sex, age, parental education, ethnicity and childhood abuse were controlled.

"One of the advantages of our study was to control for child abuse, which we defined as being hit with a belt or board, left with bruises that were noticeable or going to the doctor or hospital," said Temple, who specializes in dating, or relationship, violence. "Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence."

The result was no surprise to Dr. Bob Sege, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatricians who specializes in the prevention of childhood violence. The academy strongly opposes striking a child for any reason, pointing to research that links corporal punishment to mental health disorders and aggression.
"This study confirms and extends previous research that says children who experience violence at home, even if it is couched as for their own good, end up using violence later in their lives," said Sege, who was not involved in the new research.


Boston University Associate Professor Emily Rothman, an expert in partner violence, agreed: "The experience of having someone direct aggression to you increases the likelihood that you'll fall back on aggression when in a flight or fight moment. Having been hit by the parent can elevate stress and reduces a child's coping skills, so they may lash out."


n collaboration with Andrew Grogan-Kaylor at the University of Michigan, Gershoff analyzed 36 studies of spanking and found that parents who said they had spanked their children were three times more likely to say their children had aggressive behavior in the following years.
Many other undesirable outcomes were associated with spanking, including children acting out and having poor relationships with their parents, as well as being victims of physical abuse later in life.
During their investigations, Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor also looked for evidence that supported people in the United States -- and researchers -- who think spanking is good for kids. "We thought maybe we would find that in some studies, but we did not," Gershoff said.


A study published in September asked over 8,000 adults ages 19 to 97 about their childhood experiences with spanking and found that those who were spanked were more likely to drink heavily, use street drugs and attempt suicide.
"These results provide strong support for consideration of spanking as an (adverse childhood event)," the study authors wrote. Adverse childhood events include sexual and physical abuse and neglect, substance abuse, mental illness and partner violence within the home.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls adverse childhood events "an important public health issue" due to their strong relationship to numerous health, social and behavioral problems throughout a person's life, including substance use disorders; smoking; heart, lung and liver disease; and poor work performance.


Although surveys suggest that the majority of American parents have spanked their children, it is not clear how many are regular spankers and how many just lost their temper once or twice. Parents in the latter group can probably take heart that they did not cause their children lasting harm.


"Once or twice is almost surely no big deal, and the real problem is the parents who are doing it a lot. ... It's really the parents who are using it regularly and intentionally as a form of discipline," said George Holden, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Getting spanked just that one time may not affect a child's relationship with their parents, but it may still be remembered and resented, Holden added.

Gershoff agrees that the odd spanking would probably not have long-term effects but asks "why do it at all?" if no studies have found positive effects.

There is some evidence that the support for spanking in the United States is slowly fading. In the 1980s, 82% of women and 84% of men agreed with spanking as a necessary form of discipline. According to a 2014 survey, that number had dropped to 65% of women and 76% of men agreeing that children sometimes need a "good hard spanking."


If spanking doesn't work, what does?


"It's hard, because it requires, at least at first, a level of mindfulness and thought on what you are doing as a parent," Sege said. "Parenting isn't easy. The good thing is that our children excuse us for the mistakes we make."

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