Researchers say children who get spanked are more likely to be violent in future dating relationships.
The research by The Journal of Pediatrics studied 758 Texas high school students. "Regardless of whether someone experienced child abuse or not, spanking alone was predictive of dating violence". Spanking, slapping, or hitting a child with objects teaches a child that this is how problems are solved, and that can carry over into adulthood. The abuse seemed to take hold more if the punishment was from a parent or someone they admired. Now that they're in their late teens and early 20s, they were asked if they've ever committed some kind of dating violence. Nineteen percent of study participants reported having acted violently in a dating situation (and that's just the reported stats).
"There's a tendency for adults who have been spanked to say 'I turned out just fine, '" Temple said, and noted that those adults continue the cycle of physical discipline in their own children.
In fact, global estimates suggest that a whopping 80 percent of children worldwide experience physical punishment - a pretty staggering figure to be sure.
The takeaway? It's pretty simple, according to Temple: Spanking has serious, long-lasting consequences. "Not only is this an ineffective strategy for changing behavior or resolving conflict, our study and other research show that physical punishment negatively impacts the short and long-term health and behavior of children". The researchers found a "significant positive association" between spanking and committing dating violence as adults, even after they controlled for things like sex, ethnicity, age, parents' education, and childhood physical abuse. "We want to be healthier and happier". Temple is one of many pediatricians fighting against the traditional American support for corporal punishment.