Based on a recently concluded study, it has been discovered that the development of children who were spanked from an early age was negatively impacted long after the deed was done. Read below to find out how.

This recently concluded study has shown that all forms of physical disciplinary actions including spanking have negative side effects on the children for an even longer time than they thought.

The researchers from the University of Missouri working on this study have found out that kids who were spanked from a very young age, as young as 15 months, had a negative attitude and hardly displayed any positive attitude by the time they had reached Fifth grade and way into their teenage years. This discovery was found to be more applicable to children of Black American parents than those of European descent.

Gustavo Carlo, co-author, Professor of Diversity at Milsap University and director of the Center for Family Policy and Research in the University said, “How parents treat their kids at a young age greatly impacts their behavior.” He went on to stress how important it is for parents to avoid physically reprimanding their children because of the long-term impacts they have. He also went on to say that parents should educate their children on how to keep their behaviors in check if they want to inculcate good behaviors in them.

Although previously researched this topic had already proven that physical punishment does have negative impacts, it is, however, important to note that the researchers studied only the short-term effects.

In the just concluded study published in last month’s issue of the Developmental Psychology, Carlo and his team went through data collected from about 1840 mothers and children who live below the national poverty level and had African American or European roots. Data samples were gathered from the children at 15 months, 25 months and in the fifth grade. His team of researchers made use of every tool available to them including visiting the homes of the children and talking to their teachers.

According to the results of the study, certain long-lasting effects such as an increase in aggression, and juvenile delinquency were discovered in African American children, although past research has shown temporary effects in every child irrespective of ethnic and race. Carlo commented on the difference in effects and concluded that the more pronounced negative effects on African American children could be as a result of the frequent and harsher disciplinary actions taken on them.

Author of Lions and Tigers and Terrorists, Oh My!, How To Protect Your Child In A Time Of Terror, Carole Lieberman is of the opinion that physical disciplinary action is not right at all. She also wondered if the parents of European descent lied about the severity of the spanking they gave.

She explains that with each spank, the child feels a mixture of physical and emotional pain which comes from the thought that their parents don’t love them. It does, she says, make them very aggressive later in life because the spanking sends a message of inadequacy to their brains.

Carlo was sure to say that the study does not conclude that all children exposed to physical disciplinary actions would end up having an unbalanced adjustment, it just meant that they were more liable to have behavioral problems later in life.

In explaining, Carlo likened a child’s development to a jigsaw puzzle in which physical disciplinary actions are just one piece of the puzzle. However, this one piece of puzzle increases the chance of negative attitudes. It is up to the parent to decide what form of discipline they would employ.

Other methods of disciplining children include having conversations based on moral behaviors, making use of the timeout, distracting them, and even taking away their privileges. Although physical and verbal reprimands can cause lasting damages, it is important to note that, when done right, verbal reprimanding can be a good method of chastising your children.

Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of North Colorado, and co-author of Warning Signs, How to protect your kids from being neither victims no perpetrators of violence, Brian Johnson, said that the effects of physical disciplinary actions have been acknowledged for quite a while. However, this new research has provided even more proof.

Any physical disciplinary actions including spanking would lead to low self-esteem, increased aggression, and juvenile delinquency. It teaches them that it’s okay to be aggressive with people especially when you are upset.

Parents have said that spanking their kids does elicit fast positive behavioral changes. Brian Johnson counters this statement by explaining that the positive behavioral changes would not last for a long while.

Spanking a child does quickly oppress his behavior. However, it also makes the children highly resentful, angry and bent on revenge.