Children who are spanked frequently at age 3 are more
likely to be aggressive when they are 5, according to a study from Tulane
Study researchers asked nearly 2,500 mothers how often
they spanked their 3-year-old child in the past month, as well as questions
about their child’s level of aggression, demographic features and eight
identified maternal parenting risk factors, including neglect by the mother,
violence or aggression between the parents, maternal stress and depression and
maternal substance abuse.
Almost half (45.6%) of the mothers reported no spanking
in the previous month, while 27.9% reported spanking one or two times, and
26.5% reported spanking more than twice.
Frequent spanking at age 3 increased the odds of higher
levels of aggression at age 5. Signs of aggression included behaviors such as
arguing or screaming, cruelty, bullying or meanness to others, destroying
things; fighting and frequently threatening others.
Despite recommendations from the AAP against spanking,
most parents in the United States have used corporal punishment as a form of
child discipline. The study suggests that even minor forms of corporal
punishment increase the risk for child aggressive behavior.