Review of 50 years of research examines impact of spanking

MASON CITY, Iowa – Spanking remains a common method of discipline, though a recent review of 50 years of research from the University of Texas and the University of Michigan, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, shows spanking has long-term harmful effects on kids.

Dominique Myrick said he was spanked until the 5th grade. Myrick said he and his siblings would rough play, which lead to fights, which lead to spanks.

“I think it hurts relationships in the household. I think it creates a tense environment,” said Myrick.

Research shows 80 percent of parents around the world spank their kids, which makes kids more likely to be aggressive and have mental health problems.

“If you’re going to do that (spanking) to your kids, that’s going to make them take it to school and they’re going to think its okay to go to school and hit someone,” said Myrick.

Turning Leaf Counseling Executive Clinician Cody Williams said with clients, their clinicians push for non-physical type of punishment. But if you are going to get physical, Williams said there are things to remember.

“You want to make sure that you’re not doing it out of your own anger,” said Williams. “That’s the important piece and that’s usually what happens most of the time. “Parents become frustrated and then become angry, then they use the physical punishment.”

Williams said spanking shouldn’t include using utensils such as belts or spoons. He said with an open hand, a parent will know how hard they’re actually hitting.

“It shouldn’t leave a mark for more than 24 hours, said Williams. “An initial red spot or something like that from spanking, they don’t necessary consider it child abuse, if it’s beyond that, where there’s bruising, then it’s excessive.”

Myrick agreed and believes there are other options.

“Time out, restrain them, sit down talk to them, said Myrick. “In the manner you want them to listen to you and get your point across.”

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