Spanking your children can lead to eventual dating violence

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It's a decision many parents grapple with: should you spank your kids?

Jeff Temple, an associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the study's lead author, told The Cut that adults who were spanked as children tend to continue the practice with their own kids. Spanking, slapping, or hitting a child with objects teaches a child that this is how problems are solved, and that can carry over into adulthood.

About 69 percent of the participants said they had experienced corporal punished as children and almost 19 percent said they had perpetrated some dating violence when they were older. They asked them about their childhood experiences, physical abuse and their current experiences with dating violence. And of those, 69% say they'd been spanked growing up.

According to the research, about 80% of children cross-culturally and worldwide are physically punished.

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Of course, this new study is limited in that it examined a group of less than 1,000 people, and all participants were from Texas. "Kids who said they had experienced corporal punishment were more likely to have recently committed dating violence".

Other researchers have found evidence that corporal punishment can be beneficial, however.

"Analysis of the study results showed a significant positive association between corporal punishment and physical dating violence perpetration, even after controlling for several demographic variables and childhood physical abuse", the study's authors reported. "We want to be healthier and happier", explained Temple. "Corporal punishment is communicating to children that violence is an acceptable means of changing behavior", Temple said. That's why Mendez recommends that parents use discipline that teaches children how to regulate their emotions and consider their options before they act.

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