Smacking children or hitting with objects as a form of corporal punishment, a practice widely used in “Asian parenting,” has always been a sensitive topic. Some condemn the act, while others support the idea that parents can be willing to hurt their kids in the name of discipline.
Today, children’s rights activists all over the world are calling to ban physical punishment on youngsters. The arguments are a long list, but one consensus asserts that violence never really helps and may even bring mental health issues later.
Interestingly, an earlier study found that smacking actually helps make children more successful in life.
Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surveyed 179 teenagers on how often they were smacked as kids and how old they were when they were last spanked. Responses were compared with positive and negative behaviors they perceived as affected by smacking, including academic success and depression.
Gunnoe found that those smacked up to the age of six performed better in nearly all positive behaviors than those never smacked. Those hit up to the age of seven to 11 performed better in school, but unfortunately got involved in more fights.
Meanwhile, those still being smacked performed worse than everyone else across all behaviors.
Gunnoe said (via The Telegraph):
“The claims made for not spanking children fail to hold up. They are not consistent with the data. I think of spanking as a dangerous tool, but there are times when there is a job big enough for a dangerous tool. You just don’t use it for all your jobs.”
Gunnoe’s findings were debunked by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which claimed that their own research determined that smacking children affects their mental development and makes them more anti-social. A more recent study, which utilized meta-analyses of data involving 160,927 children, supports this position.