A new study is now linking physical punishment with mental health disorders. 

Canadian researchers found that when a child received physical punishment such as slapping, pushing, and hitting, even without neglect or abuse they were likely to experience mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders.

Many parents argue that they were spanked and came out just fine. However, previous studies have shown that people who were spanked are at a higher risk for depression and are likely to use alcohol. Prior studies also showed that people who were physically punished were likely to hit their spouses and children and engage in criminal activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society advises against the use of corporal punishment. Spanking is considered against the law in 32 countries– not including the United States and Canada.

Tracie Afifi, the study’s lead author believes that there are other parenting options and discipline methods that can be used instead. Some examples include time-outs, withholding privileges, and offering consequences outside of physical contact.

Dr. Howard Bennett, a pediatrician and clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine recommends praising children for their positive behavior. Dr. Bennett suggests using “time-offs” rather than “time-outs.” During the “time off” process, a child is excused to another part of the home and can only return when they stop the offending behavior.

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