Study Links Spanking To Childhood Aggression And Depression - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Study Links Spanking To Childhood Aggression And Depression

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As kids the majority of us probably had to cringe our faces and suffer through it.

"I was spanked one or two times when I was a child and I remember that I didn't act out again afterwards but I remember I was terrified of it," said Lauren Lauber.

And Brandon Wright says, "If we did something wrong and we knew we weren't supposed to do it my mom and my dad spanked us. Myself and my brothers and sisters and we turned out ok."

But the question is, do all kids turn out "OK" after being spanked as a child? A new study shows that spanking can lead to a chain reaction of aggressive behavior and depression. The study was published in late 2012 in the Journal of Family and Marriage. Researchers took nearly 4,000 families and studied the effect spanking kids under 1-year-old could have on them. They found that when the kids turned 3 they were aggressive and then became depressed and anxious at the age of five.

But Texoma experts I spoke with say there's still not a strong relationship between spanking and mental illness.

"You'll see that there does appear to be a correlation of aggression, depression, drug abuse, anxiety all of that but there's no proof that it's all going to play back in the role spanking has," said Susan Thompson, the Child and Adolescent Director at Helen Farabee.

Thompson says many factors play into whether they child will be mentally affected by spanking or not. Factors like the mental health of the child, disabilities, how severe and often the spanking is and even what emotional state the parent is in. She says every child will react differently and it's up to the parents judgment whether to use corporal punishment. And if they choose to do it, they should explain to the child why.

"Sit down with the child, let them know that a bad behavior has been noted and explain why the corporal punishment is necessary. Then administrate the punishment and help the child process it afterwards," said Thompson.

However, she says corporal punishment should always be the last result and under no circumstances it's a good idea to spank any child under the age of one.

Thompson says, "At age one there's no way a child can make that connection of what they're behavior was and why they're receiving that consequence. Their little minds don't work that way yet."

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

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