Spanking: Do Punishments Have Bad Effects on Kids?



Some people like me watch patient parents with surprise. These wonder beings called parents tolerate all the mischief including physical assaults of the children with a smile. Couldn’t she have given him a smack? We wonder. My parents, though not stern disciplinarians, never tolerated misbehaviour. Although, I cannot remember being badly punished by my parents, I remember our class teacher who danced her cane on us, made us kneel down on the rough ground and made us sit outside the class for days together. Here is some bad news for such punishers!

New Mexico banned corporal punishments in public schools in 2011. In the USA, all the states except 19, have outlawed them too. We do not have strict rules in India with regards to physical torture at home or school. Let’s listen to what researchers got to say on severe disciplining.

Spanking Increases Aggression

Spanking, smacking and grounding can cause kids more than unhappiness, says study. Children, who were yelled at, beaten and slapped tend to become more aggressive than their counterparts. Unfortunately, violent disciplining methods not only fail to change them but turn them more towards bad behaviour. Could these turn children to miscreants?

Spanking Lowers IQ

Psychologists relate aggressive punishments with Post Traumatic Stress in children as they grow up. Corporeal punishments can affect children psychologically and even lower their IQ levels. Research shows that children of the age group five to nine years who were smacked regularly had an IQ 2.8 points lower than others.

No matter what the jurisdiction, it is the guardian’s responsibility to teach the right and the wrong to children. Spanking is acceptable as far as it does not hurt the child.

Other Impacts

Punishments become meaningless if they are used frequently. Sometimes, children do not understand why they are punished. Do not let punishments to cause fear in them. Harsh punishments may lead to anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem in the punished.


What is the Solution to Spanking?

  • Give direct and clear cut instructions. This will make it easier for children to follow them.
  • Self esteem enhancing activities should be used to support and encourage kids.
  • Telling them the logical consequences beforehand.
  • Cutting down their “perks”. You can decide on your own perks – a bed time story, a weekly ice cream or the visit to the park.
  • “Time out”. Making children sitting in a corner is a good idea to make them realize their naughtiness.
  • Consider involving a counselor if needed.

Feel free to tell us how you discipline your children. Do you think there are times when children need to be spanked?

-Aparna K. V.

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