Spanking babies is surprisingly common

March 11, 2014 by Jared Wadley, University of Michigan

The same hands that parents use to lovingly feed, clothe and bathe their babies are also commonly used to spank their bundles of joy.

A new University of Michigan study found that 30 percent of 1-year-old were spanked at least once in the past month by their mother, father or both parents.

A long-time topic of debate, many parents in the U.S. spank their children. Previous research has focused on disciplining children as young as age 3, in part, because spanking is common among children of this age. Studies have shown that spanking is related to children's greater aggression, depression and other negative behavior.

But the latest findings show that spanking is used on children who are so young that, in some cases, they haven't even taken their first step.

Researchers examined 2,788 families who participated in a of new births in urban areas. The study indicated that spanking by the child's mother, father or mother's current partner when the child was a year old was linked to ' involvement between ages 1 and 5. During that time, 10 percent of the families received at least one visit by CPS.

U-M social work professors Shawna Lee and Andrew Grogan-Kaylor say that spanking babies is particularly misguided and potentially harmful, and may set off a cascade of inappropriate parental behavior. Their research is a snapshot of a larger problem: many people lack parenting skills that include alternatives to spanking.

"Intervention to reduce or eliminate spanking has the potential to contribute to the well-being of families and children who are at-risk of becoming involved with the (social services) system," Lee said.

Perinatal well-baby clinical visits and home visitations after the child's birth are opportunities for pediatricians, nurses and social workers to talk to parents about alternatives to babies and toddlers, the researchers say.

The study, which appears in the current issue of Child Abuse & Neglect, was also co-authored with Lawrence Berger of the University of Wisconsin.

Explore further: Use of spanking exacerbates aggressive child behavior

More information: Shawna J. Lee, Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, Lawrence M. Berger, "Parental spanking of 1-year-old children and subsequent child protective services involvement," Child Abuse & Neglect, Available online 3 March 2014, ISSN 0145-2134, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.018.

Related Stories

Use of spanking exacerbates aggressive child behavior

December 10, 2013
A mother's affection after she spanks her child does little to diminish the negative impact of the act, a new University of Michigan study finds.

Parents less likely to spank after reading briefly about its links to problems in children

January 22, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Parents who spank their children believe it's an effective form of discipline. But decades of research studies have found that spanking is linked to short- and long-term child behavior problems.

Kids still spanked, to their detriment, study finds

October 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Spanking can affect a child's behavior and learning ability for years, with the impact of physical discipline reverberating even as kids near adolescence, a new study suggests.

Don't spank or scream: Tips for taming unruly kids

June 10, 2011
Do you ever swat your child on the behind? Let’s hope not. Over the past few decades, numerous studies have concluded that spanking isn’t the best or most effective way to discipline a child successfully.

Survey finds 'staggeringly high rate of spanking' in North Carolina

June 29, 2011
A new survey finds that 30 percent of North Carolina mothers of children less than two years old say they have spanked their children in the last year.

Recommended for you

Looking on bright side may reduce anxiety, especially when money is tight

December 17, 2018
Trying to find something good in a bad situation appears to be particularly effective in reducing anxiety the less money a person makes, possibly because people with low incomes have less control over their environment, according ...

Levels of gene-expression-regulating enzyme altered in brains of people with schizophrenia

December 14, 2018
A study using a PET scan tracer developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified, for the first time, epigenetic differences between the brains of individuals ...

Video game players frequently exposed to graphic content may see world differently

December 13, 2018
People who frequently play violent video games are more immune to disturbing images than non-players, a UNSW-led study into the phenomenon of emotion-induced blindness has shown.

Researchers discover abundant source for neuronal cells

December 13, 2018
USC researchers seeking a way to study genetic activity associated with psychiatric disorders have discovered an abundant source of human cells—the nose.

New genetic clues to early-onset form of dementia

December 13, 2018
Unlike the more common Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia tends to afflict young people. It accounts for an estimated 20 percent of all cases of early-onset dementia. Patients with the illness typically begin to ...

How teens deal with stress may affect their blood pressure, immune system

December 13, 2018
Most teens get stressed out by their families from time to time, but whether they bottle those emotions up or put a positive spin on things may affect certain processes in the body, including blood pressure and how immune ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.