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Smack Your Kids if You Want This to Happen

Smack Your Kids if You Want This to Happen

You’ve smacked your kid at least once or twice right? We know a lot of parents have – unfortunately it’s how we were brought up and we don’t always know any different. Your parents used to say “I’ll teach you a lesson” and you grew up thinking that smacking was just a really effective way to get kids to behave.

Your parents were right… in some ways. “Smacking” is likely to stop a child’s behaviour immediately. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to stop a behaviour from occurring long-term.

In fact, there are more negative outcomes associated with smacking than anything else, including:

  • Increased display of aggressive behaviour (as the child learns that “hitting” is either an acceptable way to control the behaviour of others, or a way to stop another person’s behaviour when you don’t like that behaviour)
  • Increased anti-social behaviour (e.g. participating in illegal activities)
  • Poor mental health (e.g. depression, feelings of “lack of life purpose”)
  • Poor moral internalisation (i.e. the child experiences difficulty developing an understanding of “doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do”)
    For example, a child will avoid a behaviour to avoid a smack, they won’t learn to avoid the behaviour because “it’s the right thing to do”. Children may also only avoid the behaviour if they know they won’t be caught.
  • Some of these behaviours (aggression, poor mental health, antisocial behaviour) are more likely to carry over into adulthood

Research has also found that parents who start off by smacking their kids when they are young are more likely to increase their use of smacking as the children get older, and are more likely to use objects to hit their kids as they get older.

Want to avoid smacking but aren’t sure what other strategies to use? Check out our “Alternative strategies to punishment”!

If you’re interested in learning more, check out these articles:

  • Durrant & Ensom (2012). Physical Punishment of Children: lessons from 20 Years of Research. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 184(12)
  • Gershoff, E. (2013). Spanking and Child Development: We Know Enough to Stop Hitting Our Children. Child Development Perspective. 7(3)

References:

Lansford et al. (2005). Physical Discipline and Children’s Adjustment: Cultural Normativeness as a Moderator. Child Development. 76(6)
Lansford et al. (2009). Trajectories of Physical Discipline: Early Childhood Antecedents and Developmental Outcomes. Child Development. 80(5)

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Looking for more strategies?

 

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