Spare the Rod, Spare Their Health

Spanking is bad for kids' health.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics has found that kids who are spanked or otherwise physically punished (slapped, grabbed, shoved) have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity and arthritis later in life.

Of the 34,226 U.S. adults assessed through the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, those who sustained physical punishment as a child were:

  • 24% more likely to be obese as adults
  • 35% more likely to develop arthritis
  • significantly more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease

Deciding how to administer discipline is something every parent must grapple with. In light of these findings, I revisited several MetroKids articles on the topic.

"How to Escape 8 Discipline Traps" helps you keep your cool in the heat of the moment, to avoid yelling, threatening and other common discipline pitfalls.

"Rebels With a Cause" offers advice on deftly dealing with unruly teens.

"When Your Child Says 'I Hate You' " gives you the leg up on coping calmly with this very specific hot-button moment.

Looking past forms of discipline, reading "Why Is My Child So Angry" could give you insight into stopping bad behavior before things bubble up to the extent where discipline is needed.

The Pediatrics study, just the latest in a line indicating that spanking is harmful past the point of physical contact, will not end the spanking debate. But its findings are notable nonetheless.

On a lighter note to a serious topic: If you're Googling "spanking," make sure to be very careful with your search term, specifying "spanking as a punishment for kids" or the like. If you don't, you'll come up with a ton of hits and images that are decidedly not safe for work!

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