Spanking your kids is dumb, ineffective and dangerous (Opinion)
If you spank your kids, get all your cliches ready. Make sure you call me a "snowflake" and a "libtard," you'll need those for sure. Make sure you speak incorrectly about how kids' behavior today is worse because parents aren't spanking enough. Make sure you turn your back on every piece of expert opinion based on sound, scientific research because you think you're smarter than them.
Why am I even writing about this subject which is such a no-win endeavor? Because of the story of a New Jersey man who was arrested for allegedly choking his 9-year-old daughter in a parking lot in the Florida Keys. I wondered how many people saw this story and recognized how terrible of a human being this was, from what police say of the incident, yet still believed in physically disciplining their children by spanking.
Witnesses say this moron was literally dragging his daughter across the parking lot outside of restaurant and began choking her to the point a worker there had to intervene. The girl was on the verge of losing consciousness and her neck was red according to that employee. When the police showed up the abusive father told them to mind their own business and that he didn't need them to tell him how to raise his daughter, police say.
Sorry pal, you do.
Because your daughter has the legal right not to be choked out by her idiot father. This could kill a child. Police are minding their business since their business is to protect people. This girl needed protection from the person who was supposed to do that on his own. He's accused of doing the opposite.
Most will recognize this guy for the monster he is. Yet among those, there are many who still draw that line between abuse and spanking your child. In many states, New Jersey included, spanking is not illegal unless you leave a mark. I always thought this was an intriguing way to look at it. To me, it's tantamount to saying it's legal because there's no mark to prove you hit them.
By now you've thrown your cliched names at me and blamed people like me for the downfall of society. So take me out of the equation. Let's look at what people who are better educated than you and I are when it comes to this stuff have to say about it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics last year issued their strongest worded policy statement ever on the harmful effects of spanking. Their latest report comes from a body of research that was not available 20 years ago, when even then they were discouraging parents from spanking.
An analysis of multiple studies on spanking finds children do not benefit from it and are in fact hurt by it in a number of ways. It does not improve behavior in the long term. It increases aggression. It makes it more likely children will act defiantly in the future. Yes, spanking alone, defined as "noninjurious, openhanded hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior" has outcomes similar to those of harsher physical abuse, like the meathead who is accused of dragging and choking his daughter in that Key West parking lot.
Mothers spanking a 3-year-old 3 or more times in the previous month results in higher levels of aggression when the child is 5 years old. Another test of more than 160,000 children found poor outcomes were not statistically much lower for children given frequent spankings vs. children who suffered harsher physical abuse.
In other words, in study after study, spanking is being shown to be ineffective and harmful. The American Psychological Association is against spanking. The American Academy of Pediatrics is against spanking. The American Academy of Family Physicians is against spanking. The American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry is against spanking. The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children is against spanking. The National Foster Parent Association is against spanking. The National Parent Teacher Association is against spanking.
But what do they know, right? Snowflakes all of them I suppose, with their controlled scientific studies and educated analysis.
More from New Jersey 101.5