Research has now linked spankings in childhood to mental health issues in adulthood.
So that explains it. My friend sent me this link about a research study published by the American Pediatrics Association that examined 34,000 adults and the longterm effects of spanking and other forms of physical punishment. Apparently, it’s not good.
According to the results, as much as 7 percent of adult mental illness may be attributable to childhood physical punishment. Spanking “ups the risk of major depression by 41 percent, alcohol and drug abuse by 59 percent, and mania by 93 percent, among other findings.”
“Harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, and several personality disorders.”
Note the use of the adjective “harsh,” which is defined as more than just a smack on the bottom. Harsh would be defined as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting.
I was spanked as a child. Many of my generation were, thanks to the belief that sparing the rod spoiled the child. Based on that theory, we were a humble lot. My mother was prone to trigger-hair temper flareups, which often lead to me being chased around the house with a large spoon or being raged at. I never recall her spanking me, but those dressing downs were enough.
My father, the official enforcer, was much more calculated in doling out his corporal punishment. He had a long-handled, shoe polishing brush with stiff horsehair bristles. Its home was the linen closet in the pink bathroom, next to various hues of thick-packed polish. “The Brush” could strike fear by mere mention of its moniker. When it was deemed that one of us misbehaved, which was pretty much all the time, he would calmly ask another sibling to fetch “The Brush.” That was the scariest part. Oftentimes, punishment was meted out at bedtime, we would be in bed. He would ask the offender to roll over on his or her tummy, and if we didn’t, he had the largest hands in the world, and would easily slip them around our ankles, and flip us swiftly over and, with staccato swats, rap us three or four times. And then kiss us good night.
It was not out of anger, but duty. Oddly, I almost took pity on him.
Years later, I don’t suffer from depression, but I can tell you, I have a hard time polishing my shoes.