Spanking: Can It Make Our Kids More Aggressive?

A recent study published in the journal, Aggressive Behavior found a link between spanking and aggressive behavior in children. The study, that analyzed data from children between the ages of 9 months and 5 years of age, showed a significant increase in aggressive behavior in boys if they had both a genetic predisposition for aggression and were spanked. The bottom line – Although, those children that have a genetic propensity for aggression will be more aggressive than those that don’t, spanking will only make them more aggressive over time!

James Smithers, President of Polaris Counseling and father of six, says this, “Most studies that have been completed on the impact of spanking kids seem to suggest that spanking is largely ineffective and can be detrimental to our kid’s emotional, social and even sexual development. A safe assumption that we can draw from this article is that if you have a child that is already acting out aggressively towards others, corporal punishment would only be likely to increase their aggression, and should not be done. Like so many aspects of parenting, parents have to decide what works best for them and their family. However, when you consider the amount of data that is emerging on the subject, I would encourage parents (if they subscribe to the use of spanking) to use corporal punishment sparingly, only when absolutely necessary to drive home a very important point. Parents must understand that there are a variety of very effective disciplinary strategies available to them and that they, and there children, may benefit from having a broader repertoire of options to pull from.”

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