The Impact of Parental Physical Aggression to Curb Child Behaviors
I recently came across an article (2019) in the APA (American Psychological Association) regarding physically disciplining children. Scientific research has shown that children who were physically punished were more likely to be physically aggressive throughout their lives including into adulthood.
The study found that physical punishment isn’t helpful in reducing defiant or even aggressive behavior in children. It stands to reason that if a parent or caregiver wants a behavior to stop, being aggressive themselves would naturally demonstrate how problems should be solved when dealing with someone else. Obviously, that’s exactly what parents don’t want.
Interestingly, these findings reach across race, gender, and socioeconomic status. As I always tell parents, remember, you’re on stage. What you say and how you act matters. Positive parenting skills such as self-control, respectful communication, and collaborative conflict resolution are more likely to solicit desirable behaviors and cultivate a more positive and regulated child.
When I work with families, I find children get into trouble due to poor impulse control. They either blurt something out or lash out physically. I work with them on controlling their temper and incorporating stop-think-act/don’t act when they find themselves frustrated. It’s important for parents to be mindful of that practice as well.