New Study: Spanking May Lead To Mental Health Issues
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) There's been a lot of debate over the years about the impacts of physical punishment.
Well, a new study claims it may raise the risk for mental health problems.
"I spanked my daughter up until she was six and you know now–a–days she's an amazing kid," said Troy Wilcox, parent.
"I think every once and awhile and if it doesn't get their attention then try something else," said Nikki Kuhn, parent.
Whether or not to spank your children has been a controversial topic for some time.
New research suggests disciplining children with physical punishment, such as spanking, shoving, or slapping may cause them to develop mental health problems as adults.
"The impacts of spanking is huge on kids because of the psychological message that it sends. Often we send mixed messages saying we would never allow our child to hit somebody, but we're hitting them," said Kristi Fowler, Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor.
For the study, Canadian researchers used data from a U.S. survey of nearly 35 thousand adults.
What they discovered is using physical punishment on children may cause problems such as mood or anxiety disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse as adults.
As Fowler explains, she has seen additional impacts.
"Low self–esteem, anxiety, depression, anger, passive aggression behaviors, a lot of frustration with life in general," said Fowler.
Her recommendation for parents is make sure you make a connection between the punishment and the child's behavior.
"If you leave your bike in the driveway you lose your bike, but spanking your child because they left their bike outside doesn't necessarily make the connection for your child," said Fowler.
To be clear, researchers are specifically talking about using physical punishment on a regular basis, not the occasional swat.
"I was spanked as a kid and I'm not mentally ill," said Kuhn.
"Yes, we can show you cases where spanking worked and it was effective. The challenge in it is it worth the risks involved," said Fowler.
It's obvious the debate will continue.