How spanking harms children’s mental health, explained by psychology experts

Even today, many parents use spanking as a form of teaching their kids to differentiate right from wrong.

Shockingly, more than 70% of Americans believe that spanking their children is a necessary discipline method. But what they probably don’t take into consideration is how this act of punishment affects their sons and daughters’ mental health.

While the red marks on the cheeks may fade, the memory of the physical abuse remains. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “physical punishment should never be used” as a form of education. Since spanking is “no more effective to other approaches for managing undesired behavior in children,” the experts recommend that parents use other forms of discipline.

In times when parents are stressed and they don’t know how to react, they often use spanking as a last resort when they cannot see other options. But in most cases, hitting their kids only makes the situation worse. Besides, just because they can’t think of other alternatives doesn’t imply that there aren’t any.

Beating your kids doesn’t teach them anything. But the emotional scars it causes may last forever.

Here are 7 reasons why you should stop spanking your children:

1. Hitting your children never works.

You don’t need specialists to tell you that hitting your kids doesn’t work. The effects are almost never long-lasting. The only thing this method does is instilling fear and resentment in your children’s minds. In other words, it usually makes the situation way worse.

2. It makes your kids feel helpless.

When you’re spanking your children, they feel defenseless and weak. In this scenario, they become the victims. The feeling of powerlessness they experience in these situations may provoke even more intense naughtiness. That’s because when we feel helpless, we often start acting out in an attempt to escape from the role of the victim.

3. Hurting your children affects you as well. 

Parents who spank their kids on the regular probably know what it’s like to feel horrible after you have inflicted pain on your child. Not only had you just hurt your baby, but you had also left them with the memory of you hitting them, which may never fade. This could leave you with suffocating feelings of remorse, self-doubt, and guilt.

4. It is an ineffective path to communication. 

If you want to know why your kids have done or said a certain thing you believe was inappropriate, asking them while yelling at them and beating them is not going to help you. Sometimes children do things they don’t fully understand themselves, so sitting down and talking things through might be a better approach.

5. Spanking your kids will cause them severe self-esteem issues.

Why do parents spank their children? Usually, because the young ones have said or done something bad. When a child is being physically punished by their mom or dad, or any parental figure they have, they naturally think there is something wrong with them. If this happens often, they might develop self-image issues they may never fully heal from.

6. It breaks their trust. 

When you beat your kids, you violate their personal boundaries. This inevitably makes them lose trust and stop sharing details of their life with you because they fear you might get angry and hit them again. So if you don’t want your child to grow distant, better stop spanking them and start listening to them instead.

7. Violence is NEVER the answer.

Period.

Spanking your kids every now and then may quickly turn into child abuse, as it causes physical, as well as mental damage. The more you use it as a form of punishment, the more severe it gets, which is dangerous for both you and your children.

So, next time your kid does something bad, please avoid getting violent and hitting them. Instead, try to talk to them and explain why their behavior was wrong. If they still don’t get where they messed up, you may use methods such as isolation, grounding, or withholding something they hold dear, but don’t forget to be cautious of the possible consequences. The way you raise your children affects them for the rest of their lives, so make sure you do it right.

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