We have long known that the way you are treated as a child will surely affect the way you behave later on in life. One of these “treatments” include whether their guardians believe in physical punishment such as spanking, hitting, or slapping their child. This was much more popular in older times, where “sparing the rod and spoiling the child” was not the norm. But today, research is still discovering the great extent of psychological damage that this can cause.
Today, 81% of parents say that sometimes it is appropriate to spank their child. But only 61% of mothers actually report doing it. Still, that is more than half. There is evidence that corporal punishment is ineffective and actually harmful to a child’s development.
It has been known for a while that children who are hit are much more likely to be aggressive than those who are not. Reasoning for this could be that since they cannot take out their pent-up frustration on those who are hitting them, they will take it out (either verbally or physically) on their peers.
In a 2009 study, children who were spanked were shown to have developed less (or lost) gray matter in their brains. They were therefore more likely to be prone to addiction and substance abuse, a variety of mental health disorders, and depression.
Some may say that physically punishing their kid will make them more obedient. But a short-term result from physical pain will feed into resentment and anger (which will be taken out on others if not you). Also, they will not become more attuned to the rules. They will just become better at lying about them.
Obviously a slap on the wrist if your child is reaching for the fire will not do them any severe mental harm. But if you belief in long-term benefits of corporal punishment, think seriously about who you want your child to be as an adult before you act.