For most, the debate over whether spanking is an appropriate means of disciplining your children is a matter of personal preference or parenting style. Some think a mere smack on the backside is child abuse. Others think a studded belt is going too far. Either way though, the effects are only temporary … right?
According to a study cited by the Daily Mail, the effects might just be more than a little soreness. The Canadian study found that up to 7 percent of mental illnesses could be blamed on corporal punishment. Among the list of disorders were depression, mood disorders, phobias, drug problems, and major personality disorders.
Prior studies addressed a link between physical or sexual abuse and later disorders. This study focused on behavior that most likely would not qualify as abusive, as the spankings did not leave bruises, marks, or cause physical injury. Six hundred U.S. adults were surveyed about their upbringings.
So, what do you think? Is spanking an acceptable form of punishment?
The law, at least here in Illinois, seems to allow it in the home. Schools are no longer allowed utilize corporal punishment, but for parents, as long as it is not “excessive”, it’s not a crime. Of course, the definition of excessive varies from person to person, but the sort of punishment cited in the study certainly wouldn’t qualify.
For those that do cross the line, the first time it’s a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail. Subsequent offenses can be charged as Class 4 felonies, which result in a sentence of one to three years in prison. Even if a parent isn’t convicted, allegations of abuse can carry other consequences, such as effecting a child custody dispute.
Alternative punishments were suggested by the study as a way to reduce the chances of adult psychological disorders and drug dependence. Positive reinforcement and removing rewards are two alternatives cited by the Daily Mail.
- Consult an Illinois Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Talking smack: Spanked kids have higher rates of psych and drug ills later: study says (New York Daily News)
- Illinois Child Abuse Laws (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Corporal Punishment (FindLaw’s LawBrain)