Spanking is hitting the buttocks of another person to cause them pain. Spanking normally means hitting the buttocks of another person with an open hand. Parents in some countries spank children and teenagers to punish them. In some other countries this is no longer allowed. Parents often hope that spanking will make the children obey them. From the past up to the present day, adults have spanked boys more than they have spanked girls.
When a parent spanks their child, they usually strike the child's buttocks with their open hand. Sometimes they use other objects such as a belt or a wooden spoon. At times the child's buttocks may be clothed. At other times they may be bare. Often the parent makes the child lie across their lap. At other times, a parent might tell a child or teenager to bend over or lie face down across a bed.
When children are asked how they feel when their parents spank them, many say that it makes them feel sad, angry, and afraid. Some young children in the United Kingdom whose parents spanked them said things like, “it feels like someone banged you with a hammer” and “it hurts and it’s painful inside – it’s like breaking your bones”.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is a group of medical doctors who work with children. They say that spanking is not a good way to help children learn how to behave. They say that it can easily injure a small child. They say that spanking can lead to child abuse. They say that parents should never spank a child with an object.
Some groups of people have said that spanking is violent and goes against human rights. They are people like lawyers, social workers, and politicians. Spanking a person under the age of 18 is now against the law in more than 40 countries. Some of those countries are Brazil, Germany, Israel, Argentina, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, New Zealand, Kenya, and Costa Rica.
Dr. Elizabeth T. Gershoff is a scientist who studies spanking. She says that research done over many years shows that spanking does not work. She says that spanking does not teach children good behavior or to obey their parents. She says that children who are spanked obey their parents less as time goes on. Dr. Gershoff said that spanking is "violent" and should be stopped. In 2012, a group of Canadian scientists also looked at many years of research and found that spanking does not work. They said that over time, spanked children become more aggressive. Murray Straus is another scientist studying spanking of children. He has said that there is new research showing that spanked children commit more crimes when they grow up. He said that this was so even if their parents were "loving" to them.
A small number of scientists have claimed that ordinary spanking does no harm. Other scientists say that "over 100" studies have shown that spanking can harm children. They say that spanking harms children's mental growth. They also say that children who are spanked grow up to have more mental illnesses. They say that no study has shown any good to come from spanking. Scientists at the University of Manitoba in Canada found that children who were hit even "sometimes" suffered more mental illnesses when they grew up. They could have different kinds of mental illnesses: long-lasting sad or discouraged feelings and a loss of pleasure and interest in life (depression), a lot of fear and worry (anxiety), racing thoughts that are hard to control and acting without thinking (mania), or a need to take drugs or alcohol to feel well (drug and alcohol abuse). Other scientists have discovered that spanking children often can make their brains grow less than they should. These children end up less able to think clearly. They also try to hurt others more.
- Elder, G.H.; Bowerman, C.E. (1963). "Family structure and child rearing patterns: the effect of family size and sex composition". American Sociological Review. 28 (6): 891–905. doi:10.2307/2090309. JSTOR 2090309.
- Gelles, Richard J.; Straus, Murray A.; Smith, Christine (1995). Physical Violence in American Families: risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. ISBN 1560008288.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Jacklin, Carol Nagy; Maccoby, Eleanor E. (1978). The Psychology of Sex Differences. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 332. ISBN 0804709742.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- MacDonald, A.P. (August 1971). "Internal-external locus of control: parental antecedents". Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 37 (1): 141–147. doi:10.1037/h0031281. PMID 5565616.
- Straus, Murray A. (1971). "Some social antecedents of physical punishment: a linkage theory interpretation". Journal of Marriage and the Family. 33 (4): 658–663. doi:10.2307/349438. JSTOR 349438.
- "Spank: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Retrieved March 2015. Check date values in:
- Dobbs, T.A.; Smith, A.B.; Taylor, N.J. (July 2006). "'No, we don't get a say, children just suffer the consequences': Children talk about family discipline". International Journal of Children’s Rights. 14: 137–156. doi:10.1163/157181806777922694. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Willow, Carolyne; Hyder, Tina (1998). It Hurts You Inside: Children talking about smacking. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1905818610.[permanent dead link]
- "Guidance for Effective Discipline". Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics. 101 (4): 723–728. 1 April 1998. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- Smith, Brendan L. (April 2012). "The Case Against Spanking". Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. 43 (4): 60. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Cook, Eliza; Kopko, Kimberley (2014). "Why Spanking Should Be Discouraged" (PDF). Cornell University, College of Human Ecology. Retrieved 27 January 2015. Cite journal requires
- Abolishing corporal punishment of children: Questions and answers (PDF). France: Council of Europe. December 2007. p. 7. ISBN 978-92-871-6310-3. Retrieved January 2015. Check date values in:
- "States with full abolition". Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. Archived from the original on 2014-09-20. Retrieved January 2015. Check date values in:
- Gershoff, Elizabeth T. (September 2013). "Spanking and Child Development: We Know Enough Now to Stop Hitting Our Children". Child Development Perspectives. The Society for Research in Child Development. 7 (3): 133–137. doi:10.1111/cdep.12038. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Rochman, Bonnie (6 February 2012). "Why Spanking Doesn't Work". Time. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- "College students more likely to be lawbreakers if spanked as children". Science Daily. 22 November 2013.
- French, Cameron (7 February 2012). "Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- Smith, Michael (2 July 2012). "Spanking Kids Leads to Adult Mental Illnesses". ABC News. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- Kovac, Sarah (23 July 2014). "Spanking the gray matter out of our kids". CNN. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- "Spanking children slows cognitive development and increases risk of criminal behavior, expert says". Science Daily. 11 December 2013. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in: