Science and Spanking

I can’t believe we are still discussing this as if there is any scientific debate about it anymore. Spanking doesn’t work. There is no valid reason to do it and since there is no valid reason to do it – it’s abusive!

Parents, please start parenting humanistically.  Your job is to raise autonomous adults who know how to make decisions and who have a desire to be moral and do good in the world.  Spanking does not help you do that!

Studies have shown that spanking is linked to detrimental child outcomes and that there is no difference in outcomes between kids who are abused and kids who are spanked. So – stop doing it.  (see: )

Additionally, if you are hoping to get an obedient kid (which is different from a kid who makes good decisions), it turns out that spanking is detrimental to long term compliance as it creates kids who are anti-social and who have mental health problems.

Don’t believe me? Here is a link to the science that shows exactly what happens when you administer punishment.   Hint – it has a short term impact and then the animal gets used to the punishment and goes back to doing what they wanted to do anyway.

If you took the time to link through to the Eileen and Dogs article – what you will find, in addition to a lovely graph demonstrating what every single study ever done on any animal has ever shown about how animals (including humans) respond to punishment, you will find out why how you think punishment works isn’t. how. it. actually. works!

What does the science tells us happens when we punish? Well – Eieleen states it well so I am going to quote her.
“Two of the most common outcomes of using punishment are:
a spiral of ever-increasing punishment intensity that the animal learns to tolerate; or
a shut-down animal.”

Still don’t believe me? How about this from the University of Texas. The Risks of Harm from Spanking Confirmed by 5 Decades of Research!!!

To recap: Punishment (spanking) doesn’t work to create obedience. It doesn’t work to help your child learn how to make good decisions. And it causes lasting harm to the child’s mental health. It is indistinguishable from abuse, because it is abuse. Unnecessary and counterproductive.

What does work?  Yeah – neutral responses and positive reinforcement. Don’t get sucked into the positive parenting thing either. That can get a bit wooey.  What you want is realistic parenting.

You are looking for resources that will help you be ‘authoritative’ not authoritarian with your child.

In the meantime, get my book The Bully Vaccine   In it I teach how to stop unwanted behavior using behavioral science that actually works.  It doesn’t matter if the unwanted behavior is bullying, or a child who won’t go to sleep. There is only one technique that works. Learn it, use it and I do promise at some point to create a parenting program to teach it. But for now, get the book on bullying so you can at least understand what it is you need to be doing with your child.

Feel free to visit my website too and join my blog - 

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