So should we maybe stop punishments for children, full stop?
Recently a longitudinal study was published on the effects of shouting and hard language directed at children (Link to science daily).
“This is one of the first studies to indicate that parents’ harsh verbal discipline is damaging to the developing adolescent,” says Ming-Te Wang, assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh, who led the study. “The notion that harsh discipline is without consequence, once there is a strong parent-child bond—that the adolescent will understand that ‘they’re doing this because they love me’—is misguided because parents’ warmth didn’t lessen the effects of harsh verbal discipline.
Still “a nationally representative survey found that about 90 percent of American parents reported one or more instances of using harsh verbal discipline with children of all ages; the rate of the more severe forms of harsh verbal discipline (swearing and cursing, calling names) directed at teens was 50 percent.”
”[..] Parents’ hostility increases the risk of delinquency by lowering inhibition and fostering anger, irritability, and belligerence in adolescents, the researchers found.”
Overall it seems that any kind of punishment – physical or verbal – increases the risk of getting into a vicious circle. Parents that punish children physically when young shift to verbal punishments around adolescence.
What can we learn from this study? Should we let go of the concept of punishment in raising children?