I was reading an article in Child Magazine this morning that I thought was interesting. According to the article, there is new evidence to suggest that spanking your kids does more harm than good, regardless of the culture in which you live.
Researchers at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University studied 366 mothers and children in China, India, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines and Thailand. They found that even in those countries where spanking is the cultural norm, the kids who are often physically disciplined are more likely to be anxious and aggressive than those who received either less physical punishment or none at all.
"Children imitate their parents," says lead study author Jennifer Lansford, Ph.D. "If their parent uses hitting to deal with a situation, children think it's okay for them to do it, too."
Paradoxically, this effect may be even more pronounced in places like the United States where spanking is no longer considered to be part of the cultural norm of parenting. "If a child knows most of her friends are spanked, it may feel less strange or frightening," says Dr. Lansford. "But if it isn't the norm, she may feel rejected by her parents or imagine she's a bad kid."