The psychological effects of the whip in childhood

We’ve all heard the saying: “A plague in time takes away a lot of nonsense.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The psychological effects of punishment with whips they are numerous and of such importance that this question should not be taken lightly. With this article, we can see the details of some of the repercussions that this type of behavior can have.

    What are the psychological effects of whipping children?

    When it comes to the psychological effects of the whip, many people engage in some sort of debate about the pros and cons of using these punitive measures in the educational process of children. However, there is no such debate. The question is very simple: neither whipping nor any other form of corporal punishment is in any way justified, under any circumstances.

    Starting from this premise, we can now analyze what the different psychological effects of the whip consist of, knowing in advance that they will be negative. Some people might think that the method, although controversial, works, because the child stops any unwanted behavior in the face of this punishment, but it is a false effectiveness, because the effects have very little path.

    But in addition, even if this efficiency were greater (which is not the case), it would still not be a subject of debate, because it cannot be used as an excuse to carry out a practice which is neither legal or ethical and also generates a series of important consequences. In this sense, the discussion is no longer valid.

    The psychological effects of the whip can come from different processes. In the following points we can know some of the most important, which will help us to be more aware of the importance of avoid such forms of punishment in the education of childrenWhatever the context in which it takes place.

      The justification for violence

      The first question we can ask ourselves is the example we parents set for our children. Beyond what we try to instill in them with our words, if we choose to recapture some of their attitudes with slaps or other verbal punishments, the underlying message will be clear: violence is justified in some cases.

      This statement may be shocking, but the reality is that in we often underestimate the power of learning that occurs in children by example and much more if it comes from its highest reference figures, such as its parents or guardians. Therefore, if we resolve a conflict with a plague, it is likely that the child will decide to end his next discussion with his classmates with a nudge.

      One of the best-known psychological experiments is the so-called Babau doll, performed by psychologist Albert Bandura. This study, conducted at Stanford University, put a group of children in a situation where they saw an adult hit a doll and then leave the room. Another group of children did not observe this aggressive behavior.

      The results were clear: group members who observed the violent behavior they were much more likely to imitate these behaviorsAlso, hitting the Bobo doll like they had seen the Adult Seeker do a few moments ago. We can therefore get an idea of ​​the danger posed by the normalization of violence within the psychological effects of the whipping of children.

      The figure of affection

      We talked about the influence of benchmarks on children. And it is that the parents are not a simple reference for the little ones, but also represent the figures of affection, that is to say, these are the people with whom they establish the bond of attachmentSo they will tend to search for your business and feel anxious when they walk away. But this relationship goes beyond physical closeness, but is just as or more important in the emotional realm.

      The figure of affection will impart to you that security that the child needs when he realizes that he is close to a potential threat. But what happens when precisely this threat comes from the same people who are to represent their safety and does so in the form of a carxot? We would be faced with another of the psychological effects of punishment with whips, as this behavior would cause dissonance in the child.

      This inconsistency is given by the situation of having received corporal punishment from their own parents, characters who will always represent emotional protection that the child needs. Faced with this contradiction, the child could develop a disorganized or insecure bond, depending on the frequency of these situations and their context.

      The child would be confused by the possibility that his main source of security could sometimes also become a threat. It could also affect your self-esteem and self-image, and can lead to thoughts like, “This hits me because I’m bad, I deserve it.”

        Its correlation with mental disorders

        A University of Manitoba study that looked at more than 34,000 cases in the American adult population found an intriguing correlation: There was more cases of mental disorders in any of its forms in people who, during their childhood, were punished by calbots in the usual way. This would therefore be one of the psychological effects of the punishment with whips to take into account.

        Some of the most common mental illnesses observed in the study population were those of a depressive nature, anxiety, substance abuse such as drugs or alcohol, or personality disorders. And not just that. In further studies from the same university, they also found that this correlation was also observed between plagues and lower development of IQ and even with antisocial traits and aggression.

        A causality cannot be established between having received plagues in childhood and having developed this series of problems in adulthood, but there is a correlation, so that is reason enough to focus on this question and research what other cause or set of causes, such as a particular parenting style, may favor the onset of these difficulties.

        In conjunction with the points we saw above, it would appear that physical punishments and what they entail could be risk factors would facilitate the future appearance of psychological illnesses and / or aggressive attitudes and they could also hinder proper cognitive development. On the other hand, a strong parenting style that promotes a secure grip would be a protective factor and therefore have the opposite effect.

        Conclusions of the meta-analysis

        In 2016, the University of Texas published a meta-analysis to study the psychological effects of the whip in a cumulative sample of more than 160,000 children. After a thorough analysis of this huge amount of data, the authors came to the conclusion that indeed, these corrective measures in education have negative consequences for children. However, they suggest that these effects are less intense than you might think.

        It is important to distinguish between punishment by flogging and other behaviors of physical aggression that may even lead to the use of objects or beatings. It is clear that the second of the cases has other much more serious connotations and therefore these cases escape the behavior that we are analyzing here and to which the authors of the meta-analysis refer. In any case, as we saw at the beginning of the article, the calbots are in no way justified.

        What was clear to the researchers was that there was an association between whipping and subsequent negative psychosocial effects in children. But in addition to these unfortunate consequences, they also found that on a practical level, it was not an effective behavior in preventing the child from extinguishing the behavior that the parents had tried to stop using the calbots.

        The conclusion is clear: plagues are not helpful in preventing unwanted behaviors of children and also have negative psychological effects, so never, in any situation, should resort to this behavior.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Afifi, TO, MacMillan, HL (2011). Resilience after child abuse: a review of protective factors. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.
        • Afifi, TO, Mather, A., Boman, J., Fleisher, W., Enns, MW, MacMillan, H., Sareen, J. (2011). Childhood adversity and personality disorders: results of a nationally representative population-based study. Journal of Psychiatric Research. Elsevier.
        • Gershoff, ET, Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: old controversies and new meta-analyzes. Journal of Family Psychology.
        • Straus, MA, Sugarman, DB, Giles-Sims, J. (1997). Parental spanking and children’s antisocial behavior. Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Archives.

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