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Spanking leads to depression

It’s funny that just recently I had an interesting discussion on spanking. This is one of those subjects I always have a hard time with. I try not to be judgy when it comes to how other people parents their children. I especially feel that way when it comes to discipline, because each child is different and what works for disciplining one child will not work at all with another. This not only varies from family to family but from child to child within the same family.

Spanking has been one form of discipline being used for as long as parenting as existed (I assume). And it remains to be a form that every parent has to choose to use or not to use.

I was spanked, not all the time, only on severe occasions and have to say I don’t think it had any major effects on me. I’m no worse for the wear as they say. But spanking was much more commonplace when my generation was growing up and now research and a number of studies has caused a good majority of parents to lean in the other direction.

In fact a recently released new study from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg found that of 20,000 people who answered “sometimes” when asked if they had ever been pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house” while growing up were prone to the following:

  • The risk of major depression was 41 percent higher
  • The risk of mania was 93 percent higher
  • The risk of any mood disorder was 49 percent higher
  • The risk of any anxiety disorder was 36 percent higher
  • The risk of any alcohol abuse or dependence was 59 percent higher
  • The risk of any drug abuse or dependence was 53 percent higher.

Of course the after effects don’t end there; Studies have shown spanking leads to more aggressive children, and even makes children dumber. Close to 30 countries have banned spanking all together. In 1979 The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which covers everything from a child’s right to be free from sexual and economic exploitation, to the right to education, healthcare and economic opportunity.193 nations have signed to enforce the treaty, but not the United States and Somalia. In fact only thirty U.S. states have banned corporal punishment in schools, while 20 — all in the South and West — have not.

What are your thoughts? Is spanking something parents should decide for themselves or is it time we caught up with other civilized nations and ban it all together?

4 Responses to “Spanking leads to depression”

  1. paschott

    I don't normally respond to these sorts of things because discipline is going to need to vary for each kid, but those stats are just a little misleading or at least incomplete to me.

    The criteria for this was "pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house". There's a potentially huge difference between that question and "were you ever spanked".

    As for a total ban, I'll admit that I'm not really in favor of that. Sometimes a swat on the bottom is a very effective reminder that the behavior crossed the line. I've seen kids cry abuse because they did something wrong, were spanked, and then called CPS on their parents. That's ridiculous and creates a lot more trouble than it's worth. It also takes away from dealing with real abuse issues.

    I haven't reviewed the UN Convention details, but I'm not really a huge fan of a bunch of other countries that allow persecution of people in all sorts of ways coming in to tell us how to raise our children. I don't necessarily disagree with what's in it, but don't know the details so will leave it as "we can handle this without the UN".

  2. robeknight

    I am also a rare blog reader and commentator but I was in the Life360 app today and saw spanking as a blog topic so I clicked in out of curiosity of another persons opinion. I also found it very hard to swallow the stats posted here. The "pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit by your parents or any adult living in your house" aspect of that stat practically makes it a useless statistic in my mind. I'm a God fearing father and love my children greatly. I believe that spanking is quite appropriate when it's done with love and a calm hand. The stats posted here seem more fitting if the spanking comes from a parents quick reaction to anger, rage, etc. My advise on the spanking topic is to be sure to step back from the issue for a couple minutes, think about how to best teach the child the way they should have handled xyz situation, and then inform them that they are about to be spanked as a consequence to their bad choice. Not because Dad or Mom is angry and they need to vent on their child's butt.

  3. owensg

    Where do these stats come from. I think that there is a problem with society that we reward bad behavior by doing nothing at all. My parents whooped my ass, they did not push, grab, shove, slap or hit me. There is a difference between punishment and discipline. Discipline teaches an educational lesson. Punishment is only punitive such as pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hitting. I think the blogger is from the psych community and on psych drugs to have come up with making statements like were made in the original blog post. I worked in Emergency Medicine for almost 17 years and know first hand on how things get out of hand. It is NOT by spanking on the rear end.

  4. Todd

    I'm glad I read these comments after I read the article. I believe the stats to be bias also looking for a conclusion before diving into the samples backgrounds. One vague question resulting in a very specific result. I believe the researchers were trying to make a connection to every bad thing that could happen to humans. They should of included cancer and heart attacks in their conclusions. Maybe we could blame global warming on it also. I think people want to find statistics to back their personal preference. I actually don't spank my children but I don't believe I'll ever want the government to tell me how to raise my kids. Governments need to do what they're good at which is nothing.


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