What Child Abuse Looks Like

For years I have been belaboring a point that some adults refuse to accept: any kind of physical discipline of children is a form of abuse. Worse, what starts out as “harmless” spanking escalates over time into serious emotional and physical injury to the child.

Now a new study of toddlers shows that even spanking kids at that early age can have long-lasting consequences.  According to CNN, the study from the Journal of Child Development shows —

Children who were spanked as 1-year-olds tended to behave more aggressively at age 2, and did not perform as well as other children on a test measuring thinking skills at age 3. . . . Spanking, moreover, reinforces negative memories in the child’s mind. Parents should aim instead to build “prominent, happy memories” of childhood for their kids.

The study also concludes that parents who spank are more likely to be younger, less educated, single, and/or depressed and stressed.

Susan Newman, social psychologist and author of “Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day,” said parents should discourage bad behaviors by taking away privileges such as dessert, or setting an earlier bedtime. Newman believes that children are too young to understand when parenting behavior is wrong, even at the level of abuse.

Physical violence, Newman says, gets passed down in families because the only parenting skills people know are the behaviors that they saw at home. So, if you want your children to abuse their children, keep hitting them. Your grandchildren will thank you for it!