I Must Be Mentally Ill! : Spanking

I realize that the title of this article may sound offensive, and please let me state in the onset that I have absolutely no intentions of speaking in a belittling way or making light of that which is serious. Rather, I am addressing a recent study published within the journal Pediatrics and upheld by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Several weeks ago, researchers examined data from more than 34,000 adults and found that spanking children as a form of discipline increased the risk of developing mental health issues as adults. In addition, their studies declared the association between corporal punishment and mood disorders, including depression and anxiety, along with personality disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. As a matter of fact, they estimated in this article that childhood physical punishment (slapping, shoving, grabbing and hitting) attributes to as much as seven percent (7%) of adult mental illness [as I am sure you may predict, I will address this in a moment]. The study went on to state that spanking as a form of discipline increases the risk of, among other things, major depression by forty-one percent (41%), alcohol and drug abuse by fifty-nine percent (59%) and mania (?) by ninety-three percent (93%). While the analysis tried to exclude individuals who reported severe maltreatment, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect and such like, the author of the study (Tracie Afifi, PhD, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada) explained, “We are not talking about just a tap on the bum. We were looking at people who used physical punishment as a regular means to discipline their children.” She concluded, “It definitely points to the direction that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age,” which complies with the conclusion of researchers and the stance of the AAP: “It is important for pediatricians and other healthcare providers who work with children and parents to be aware of the link between physical punishment and mental disorders.”

As I alluded, this is nothing new, and it only supports past efforts of those who supposedly are experts, for past studies have linked spanking toddlers to increased aggression in older children. Such may go back decades to the infamous counsel of Dr. Benjamin Spock. Nevertheless, if persistent studies continue to proclaim that spanking as a form of discipline leads to mental illness, then the only conclusion from which I may draw is that I must be mentally ill! I state that proudly as not only one who received necessary spankings from my godly parents, but also in that I administered such when necessary to my three children.

It is extremely sad that such highlights a larger problem today—more and more “experts” are taking positions that are opposite of that which divine wisdom instructs. Rather than becoming godlier as a nation, we are becoming more godless, and these reports only further influence those that lead to a greater digression from God. One of the major problems we face is a lack of respect for authority, and such begins in the home!

No matter what studies in journals as Pediatrics declare, the word of God still emphatically teaches, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24). Inspired wisdom still proclaims, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). Divine truth still resounds, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Prov. 23:13-14). Divine counsel still teaches, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). Therefore, are you going to listen to those who profess themselves to be wise, or are you going to listen to God?

Naturally, our hearts pour forth in righteous anger to those who truly mistreat their children and in sympathy to those who are recipients of such. I am thankful that the researchers at least attempted to delineate between literal child abuse and spanking, but the conclusion they drew does not align with what God has already declared for the home. Thus, if they continue to propagate such declarations, then I must proudly declare, “I am mentally ill!”

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