According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, children who are spanked by their parents may end up becoming violent towards future partners.
Researchers conducted a survey in which 758 kids aged 19 and 20 were asked how often they had been spanked, slapped or struck by a parent as a form of punishment when they were younger. 68 percent of participants reported experiencing physical punishment as children while 19 percent admitted to being violent with others.
„Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence.” Said Jeff Temple, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The results remained constant regardless of the children’s different sex, age, parental education or ethnicity. Temple states that, regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking was a primary catalyst for dating violence.
Dr. Bob Sege, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatricians, reaffirmed the study’s findings. The academy pointed out that physical punishment is linked to mental health disorders and aggression.
Sege said that children see their parents as moral beacons that teach them early on about social norms and how people should behave to each other. Corporal punishment only blurs the lines between love and violence, he added.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child interprets corporal punishment as any form of punishment in which physical force is used and intended „to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.”
According to the study, around 80 percent of children are physically abused worldwide. Several countries including Sweden, France, Greenland, Peru and New Zealand have banned the practice.
While several states in America have child abuse laws, none have a complete ban on home corporal punishment. According to Temple, physical punishment „does way more harm than good.”
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