In the opening paragraph of the University of Texas article outlining, “the most complete analysis to date of the outcomes associated with spanking,” it states that: “The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.” Of all parenting topics I write about and raise awareness to, spanking is, by far, one of the, if not THE most controversial ones. People put a lot of energy into defending their right to hit their child. What they have forgotten is their impact. Children learn what they live. If you cannot control your hand and temper in times of frustration and high sensation, then you cannot and should not expect such from your child.
According to this research, “The more [they] were spanked, the more likely they were to exhibit anti-social behavior and to experience mental health problems. They were also more likely to support physical punishment for their own children, which highlights one of the key ways that attitudes toward physical punishment are passed from generation to generation.” When I speak out against hitting children, I often get the comment, “But look at you. You were spanked and you turned out fine.” Fine. I cringe everytime someone uses the word “FINE” to justify harmful actions being carried out on them or their child. But look at us! We’re all FINE! I AM NOT FINE. I grew up and still deal with anxiety (mental health problems). Making eye contact with another human can be excruciating (anti-social). I have hit and physically attacked my partners in the past. Not fine. If by fine you mean functionable in a trauma based society, then yes, we are fine. People get raped, too, and can still have relationships, kids and go to work everyday, but those things are no measure of “fine.” Behaviors we often believe to be totally normal human behavior, are not. It is the result of being raised in a society who promotes and carries out disconnected parenting. For one, F.I.N.E is a great acronym for “Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.” Ask almost anyone how they are and if they insist they are “fine!” I can almost assure you they are not fine. Because if you are fine, like truly fine, then you don’t use the word fine to describe how you are. Think about it. If someone asks how you are and you are feeling good, do you say, “I’m fine?” Fine is a word of settling. Fine is deflection. Fine is, “I am fine but not really and I don’t want to tell you how I really feel so I am fine.” People, we don’t want to be fine. In this society, what is fine, what is normal in many cases, is actually fucked up. We are fine because we are not feeling, because we were taught that feelings were bad. We are fine because we are all walking around as half versions of ourselves because our authentic expressions were spanked out of us. Jiddu Krishnamurti says, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Fine simply means you have adjusted to a society who primarily believes that hitting children is an acceptable and even necessary form of discipline. You are not fine for being hit and neither am I. There is a reason spanking has been banned in 52 countries. With this new research we now know what these countries have known all along. That, “spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.” Spanking has nothing to do with the child and everything to do with the adult’s inability to hold the uncomfortable sensation being triggered by their child, and hitting is how they dissapate the sensation. Spanking reflects your lack of self control. The very thing you are trying to teach your child to have, you are inadvertently teaching them the opposite, which is also confirmed in this reasearch. To read the full analysis of this research, CLICK HERE. And if you lack the skills to parent your child without using physical force, then please read the works of people like Janet Lansbury and Laura Markham. Finally, take responsibility of your own emotional state, but don’t take it out on your child.