Do you use harsh physical punishement or spank when disciplinging your children?

If the answer is yes, you may want to consider the findings of a recent study released by Pediatrics that examines the relationship between harsh physical punishement and severe physical health conditions. The study found that harsh physical punishment as a child was associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity. 

Read more ¿Qué más?: Truth be told: Spanking your child is NEVER okay

So what does that mean? Does it mean that if you spank your kids as a form of punishment that you may be condemning them to a life of heart problems, joint pain, and "fat" pants? No, not exactly.

The study found an association, not some kind of cut and dry direct correlation. "It's an association," Lead researcher Tracie Afifi, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada told the journal. "We can't say the punishment is causing the physical health problems." But the findings do add to the growing evidence that spanking can harm children.

Now, the study did not directly apply to spanking; it defined harsh punishment as being being hit, slapped, pushed or grabbed even just occasionally. I'd say the spanking falls under the being hit category. The study took place between 2004 and 2005 and was comprised of over 34,000 U.S. adults. A little less than four percent were categorized as being harshly punished as kids.

Personally, I do not believe in the "benefits" of spanking kids. I think the potential cons of hitting my children far outweigh any possible benefits. I also believe that other punishment is far more effective and produces better results. Also, I don't want to create those kinds of memories with my kids.

I try to tip-toe around the issue most of the time because quite frankly people get pissed off if you don't agree that they have a right to spank their kids. Today, I'm not going to sugar coat it, I'm just going to admit that I think spanking has a lot more to do with the parent than it actually has to do with disciplining a child.

I believe in disciplining children, I believe they need discipline in their lives, I don't believe spanking is discipline. I'm not going to get into it here, but if you are interested, you can read about how my husband and I came to the decision to not spank our kids, he was for it, I was against it.

Now back to the study. The results of the study are not cause for alarm or a reason to make parents feel guilty about having "harshly" punished their kids physically. However, feel free to use the findings as an impetus to search out other disciplining options and if you need advice, ask your pediatrician.

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

You can find Claudya Martinez on her own blog Unknown Mami. Stop by, she loves visitors. Of course you can also find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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Filed Under: spanking, discipline, health
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