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The Karma of Childhood Trauma: What Science Can Teach Us About Spanking

Parenting styles trend from one generation to the next. Though trends come and go, their karma carries on. Much of the baby boomer generation was raised receiving swift smacks to their bottoms or arms as reprimand. Schoolteachers used to reserve the right to hit students by hand, ruler, or stick. Today, “spanking” is widely recognized as faux pas and lacking in political correctness. Arguments label spanking as “child abuse”, physically and mentally. Until multiple decades have passed there is no way of knowing the true effects of what might seem like a harmless, or helpful, action.  Five decades of study on the effects of spanking were analyzed by researchers, overlooking about 160,000 children.

What Science Can Teach Us About Spanking

Patterns of childhood spanking results in patterns of malbehavior in adolescents and adults. Disobeying and defying authority creates a modus operandi extending far beyond the parents. Both conscious and subconscious manifestations grow from this painful internal conflict. Antisocial behavior, aggression, challenges in cognitive functioning, and problems with mental health are some of the ways childhood spanking can manifest.

Discipline on the behalf of parents is meant to have an immediate effect of compliance. By excising authoritative control through physical pain, a parent hopes to “teach a lesson”. Unfortunately, humans rarely succeed when taking on karma’s job. The true lessons taught by the act of physical punishment resulted in long term damaging effect.

Karma is said to be a relenting teacher. Until the lesson is learned, it will be presented over and over again. Adults who were spanked as children, according to researchers, were more likely to exert physical authority over their own children. Cycling from one generation of parents to the next, the abuse doesn’t end- neither doe the effects.

Problematically, spanking and other forms of physical abuse are seen as separate. Adverse mental repercussions suffered from spanking showed no difference from those of physical abuse- only a slightly lesser intensity.


Stopping the Cycle

Confronting childhood issues requires enduring temporary emotional pain. Karmic cycles do not complete until the karma itself is completed. The pain and suffering caused by childhood spanking didn’t end with adulthood. Each way that pain manifests is like one ongoing hit. It does not have to continue. Making the choice to heal not only results in personal benefit but breaks the chain for generations to come.


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