Why do so many religious individuals argue vehemently for spanking as an acceptable form of punishment?
Simple: Their belief system is rooted in fear of an anthropomorphic god.
They live life in fear of this projected image of a godly being in the sky that is damning them and their children. They believe obedience comes from fear. Tis is the way that lower levels of consciousness operates. The more primitive the level of consciousness (evolutionary awareness), the more violent, angry, and fearful they will be.
A typical case of not questioning indoctrination. Just cycling through generational patterns without evolving.
Many will argue that they were spanked or abused in other ways (hit with belts, etc.) and that they “turned out fine.” Although that is certainly a possibility, most are arguing from an egocentric perspective rooted in self-ignorance. They can’t define “turned out fine”, let alone have a comprehensive understanding of their own psyche and shadows.
The truth is that we have extensive data on this topic. One of the most damning is a meta-analysis of 75 studies involving 160,000 unique children. Of 17 tested cognitive and behavioral outcomes, 13 were negatively impacted by spanking and none were statistically different from the effects of more severe physical abuse.
Here’s a list of outcomes you can expect:
Poor moral internalization (i.e., rely more on externals to define morality)
Aggression (childhood and adulthood)
Antisocial behavior (childhood and adulthood)
Mental health problems (childhood and adulthood)
Externalized behavior problems (i.e., outward behavior)
Internalized behavior problems (i.e., mood disorders, self-harm, drugs, etc.)
Negative parent-child relationship
Impaired cognitive ability
Victim of physical abuse
Adulthood support for physical punishment
It didn’t matter whether the spanking was done to infants (<2 years), children (6-10 years), or adolescents (11-15 years), there was no difference between these age groups for the observed detrimental effects. Moreover, the individual studies are highly consistent: 71% of all of the effect sizes and 99% of the significant effect sizes indicated a significant association between parental spanking and detrimental child outcomes.
Sorry to be blunt, but I don’t give a flying fuck if you “think” you turned out fine. You probably just haven’t done any cognitive work to identify your shadows. Most people haven’t. Your definition of “fine” is living out generational trauma in ignorance.
Using your bible isn’t justification, either. Religious violence has been the topic of research for a long time. Within-family physical violence is no exception. The bible is commonly used to justify violence against children when the reality is that the child is just used as a scapegoat for unresolved tensions in the family and as a victim of your emotional dysregulation.
If you find yourself irritated at reading this, taking it personally, or otherwise making up excuses to justify your behavior—then congratulations, you can change your behavior. Awareness is the first step. You shouldn’t beat yourself up for not knowing what you didn’t know yet if you spanked your children.
We don’t know until we do.
So, some self-compassion is warranted.
Forgive yourself and make moves to transcend your shitty outdated conditioning.
With Love, B