Whoopings In 2016: Tough Love Or Poor Parenting?

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The Good Book says spare the rod, spoil the child. Whoopings, spankings or however you grew up defining discipline is often seen as a rites of passage in the Black community. Some people feel like a good ‘ol whooping made them the responsible, mature adults they are now. But is spanking your child really the way to go in 2016?

A study conducted by The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan found that children who were spanked are more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior, experience mental health issues and show aggression. But if ask a lot of Black parents a whooping gets the point across like no other time-out or grounding can.

BlackDoctor.org asked Dr. Dennis C. Parker and Dr. E.O Henderson of 2 Docs and a Mic radio show what their years of research and experience show about disciplining your child.

Dr. Parker: The term “whooping” traditionally denotes certain cultural characteristics that assert putting someone on the correct path; whether it is a child that misbehaves at school, an employee that receives a written reprimand or a friend who may have overstepped their boundaries. The concept of spanking conversely has from a historical context been viewed as a means to correct children’s behaviors. While a number of studies are dated, the one I have referred to before is a 1994 study that indicated that violent elementary school boys that come from fatherless families or families where fathers do not demonstrate adequate affection to their boys and who utilize spanking as a form of corporal punishment, tend to become more violent.

The primary reason I utilize this resource study is that it identifies several other characteristics as I mentioned.  Most notably for me the lack of a father in the household or the lack of fatherly affection, both identified variables pose a significant challenge to answering the question of whether spanking is wrong. To be clear, yes, child abuse is wrong, however spanking done under certain parameters may be the proper way to raise ones child.

However, without the father in the home or connected to the family unit, somehow demonstrating proper affection to the child and other family members, spanking ones child could have long term punitive consequences, for boys in particular. This rather old study, yet still a relevant one, makes the inferences that long term behavioral consequences could include violent behavior or even more aggressive behavior toward peers and/or siblings.