If you hit your kid, you give them a message that it’s
okay to hit others. And a new study examining the case histories of almost
2,500 American children confirms that spanking breeds bullies. Lead author
Dr. Catherine Taylor of Tulane
University and her team
factored out the influences such as maternal mental health and use of drugs,
domestic violence, neglect, income, age, race and education. And spanking
emerged as the most important factor in determining which three-year-old
children developed into aggressive five-year-olds.
study used respondents to the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study,
conducted in 20 U.S.
cities between 1998 and 2005, and was published in the journal Pediatrics.
More than half of the three-year-olds spanked more than
twice in the previous month by their mothers) turned into aggressive
five-year-olds, even when accounting for the child's level of “natural”
aggression at age three. Forty percent of the kids spanked only once or
twice in the previous month turned into bullies by age five.
Previous studies have connected spanking and aggression
in children, although this is the first and one of the largest and
demonstrates just how powerful the link is. In 2002, psychologist Elizabeth
Thompson Gershoff of Columbia
National Center for Children in Poverty analyzed
62 years of data and found spanking leads not only to childhood aggression
but other antisocial behaviors such as lying and cheating, and other types
of misbehaviors behind their parent’s backs.
Unfortunately, spanking is legal in both Canada and the U.S. and most parents say they
approve of and have used spanking as a form of child discipline. In fact,
according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics,
spanking happens at least once a week in 25 percent of two-parent,
middle-class families. Twenty-four countries ban spanking, including Sweden, New Zealand
“If we really want a peaceful and
compassionate world, we need to build communities of trust where all
children are respected, where home and school are safe places to be and
where discipline is taught by example.”
~ Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus, Global Initiative to
End All Corporal Punishment of Children, 2006.
Center for Nonviolent
Instead of Medicating and Punishing: Healing the causes
of our children's acting-out behavior by parenting and educating the way
nature intended by Laurie A. Couture (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, 2008)
Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and
Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn (Artria Books, 2005)
For Your Own Good: Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and
the roots of violence by Alice Miller (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990)
The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel
Parenting by Alice Miller (W.W. Norton, 2006)
Wendy Priesnitz is the co-founder and editor of this website.
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information purposes; they are not sponsored by the authors or publishers
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