By Staff Blogger
If you are a parent it is more likely than not that you have spanked your child at one point or another in their lifetime. Spanking used to be a very widely accepted form of punishment. Now there are studies upon studies that state that spankings or any other kind of physical punishment is harmful to your child mentally. A new study from the University of Texas at Austin conducted by corporal punishment researcher Elizabeth Gershoff shows that out of all groups of people, African Americans are more likely to use spanking as a form of punishment than any other group.
When 20,000 kindergarten students and their parents were evaluated for the study it was found that 89% of black parents spanked their children as a form of punishment. This was more than any other race. Hispanic parents came in second at 80%, white parents at 79%, and Asian parents last with 73%. Even though they were able to find these results, the answer as to why black families chose physical punishment was a little more complex.
There are theories from some people that black parents grew up being beaten as a form of punishment so they believe that is the way they are supposed to raise their children. Others believe that it is because they are afraid that they are going against their religion. Some say that it is the oppression and violence of slavery being carried down through generations. While none of these is a scientific explanation they are all interesting theories.
The one thing that is certain is that there are numerous studies that show how damaging physical punishment can be. Researchers are baffled that parents still use spankings as a normal form of punishment. There have been studies that have shown that children who grew up in a home where they were spanked were more likely to develop depression and anxiety when they were older. They also had a higher risk of becoming a violent person themselves. They have spent all of their lives thinking that violence is the way to solve a problem so that is all they know.
In Harlem there is a program called Baby College for new parents. It was started in 2001 and since then there have been 3,600 graduates. These new parents learn all about what their children need as they are growing as well as the risks of using spankings to punish children.