Doug Barry at Jezebel says “while this may seem like ‘duh’ study,” it’s good to know that research shows “physically punishing young children for childish transgressions will” create a child who lies. According to the journal Child Development, children who are afraid they’re going to be hit for doing something wrong are much less likely to tell the truth about what they’ve done when they’re confronted.
Art Markman of The Huffington Post writes:
Victoria Talwar and Kang Lee …. took advantage of a natural experiment in a West African country. In this country (not identified in the paper) …. the researchers went to one private preschool that used corporal punishment and a second that did not.
To explore lying, the children were first given a temptation. The experimenter told the children that a toy was being hidden behind them. The experimenter said that she had to leave the room for a moment and that the child should not turn around and peek at the toy while she was gone ….
At the school where the children are punished often, about 90 percent of them lied to the experimenter and said that they did not look at the toy. In the school that did not use harsh punishments, only about half of the children lied.
It makes perfect sense: when children feel like they’re going to be hit for doing something bad, they’ll lie to pretend they didn’t do anything wrong so as to avoid punishment. But of course – as anyone who grew up in a house with spanking knows – the licking one gets for being caught in a lie is way worse than the licking one gets from telling the truth. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!
The older I get, and the more I try to reconcile my own childhood, the more I realize that hitting a kid is the worst possible thing you can do to them. Some people swear up and down that they know how to hit their kids in an appropriate and controlled way, but I just don’t buy it anymore. There’s no “good” way to hit anyone. And we know being abused leads people into abusive relationships or to become abusers themselves. It’s a cycle that has to be stopped.
If you’re someone who still thinks spanking children is okay, see if these 10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Kids can change your mind. And if that’s not convincing enough, listen to how ridiculous Louis CK makes hitting your kids sound:
Spanking: I don’t believe in it but I did it anyway.