7 reasons not to spank your kids
September 17, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Spanking, slapping, insulting or mocking a child was something “normal” way back when. But was it good? In recent years, psychology studies, such as this one at the University of Manitoba in Canada, published by, have proven that children who are punished with physical and verbal violence risk developing mental disorders such as anxiety, depression or personality dysfunction. The truth of the matter is that our children can sometimes make us lose our patience and although we might believe that punishing them is the way to go, here are 7 reasons that might convince you not to. In the end you decide. Should we punish them or think of other alternatives?


Survival of the Fittest?

Spanking your child shows him that “the strongest one” is doing the right thing. When we use physical punishment to let our children know they´ve misbehaved, we are telling them that the big, strong one ultimately decides what is good or bad. So, what happens when they grow up? They´ll most likely abuse their power when they are in the company of someone they believe to be weaker. This is a symptom of lack of empathy and emotional skills.

You can´t fix it with violence

“Violence is a good solution to life´s problems” is what we are telling our children every time we spank them.  Physical or verbal punishment is a way of intimidation and is a model based on aggression and lack of consideration. What our children will learn with our behaviour is that  generating fear is the right way to have others do what they want.

It doesn´t correct mis-behaviour

Think for just a moment: when we spank or punish our kids it´s because they´ve done something “bad”. But that´s not the way to teach them what they should have done instead. If we show him after the fact, our children will be too afraid to assimilate our “lesson”. Bruce Lipton, a prestigious American Stem Cell Biologist,  points out that fear does not help children learn because feeling afraid makes their instinct tell them: get away now. The adrenaline and cortisol that is generated by fear clouds our blood and brain. In other words, the part of our brain that encourages reflexion is blocked by our instincts.


It Lowers Self-Esteem

You are their role model and the one who protects them. If you physically or verbally punish your children, they could ask themselves: Is there something wrong with me?  Searching for approval and never receiving it could cause them to think they always do something wrong and they´re worthless. Having a healthy self-esteem is very important. If you want your children to be happy, you must learn how to cultivate it.

Trouble with Communication and Social Skills

If we solve things by spanking, the relationship we have with our children will be based on fear, not respect. In the long term, this could be a cause for lack of communication and a feeling of deep resentment towards you. Violent punishment makes children not trust people and as an adult they will tend to isolate themselves and possibly have a difficult time in social situations.

Limited Effect

If you spank your children, they´ll probably behave very well in front of you only because they fear you. But they won´t behave like this when you aren´t around. So, what is the point if you don´t solve the problem? Children who are verbally or psychically punished can run the risk of developing self control issues such as hitting or insulting other kids and even you.

Problems Learning

Fear of failure is something that goes “hand-in-hand” with this type of punishment. Children will become dependent on the “correct” opinion of others and will limit their independence as they will fear making decisions just in case they make a mistake. Their innate initiative and curiosity will be cut short and their learning skills will go along with it. If parents cannot show them what to do, they will never learn.

Do you agree with these 7 reasons why you shouldn´t spank your kids? Do you believe physical and verbal punishment is a good way to discipline them?

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