Baby Gesture

The Harmful Effects of Spanking Babies

January 18, 2024 | by Carlene Kuntz

two toddlers sitting on

Spanking has long been a topic of debate when it comes to disciplining children. While some may argue that it is an effective form of punishment, research has shown that spanking babies can have detrimental effects on their development and overall well-being.

1. Physical and Emotional Harm

Spanking babies can cause physical harm such as bruising, swelling, and even fractures. Their delicate bodies are not equipped to handle such forceful actions. Additionally, spanking can lead to emotional harm, causing fear, anxiety, and a sense of betrayal in the child. Babies who are subjected to spanking may become withdrawn and have difficulty forming healthy attachments with their caregivers.

2. Negative Impact on Brain Development

Studies have shown that the brains of babies who are subjected to spanking have altered neural pathways. The stress and trauma caused by spanking can lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function. This can have long-term effects on their cognitive, emotional, and social development.

3. Increased Aggression and Behavior Problems

Contrary to popular belief, spanking does not teach babies right from wrong. Instead, it can increase aggression and behavior problems in the long run. Babies who are spanked are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards others and have difficulty controlling their impulses. They may also develop a negative attitude towards authority figures, leading to further conflicts and challenges in their interactions with others.

4. Impaired Parent-Child Relationship

Spanking babies can damage the parent-child relationship. Instead of fostering trust and open communication, it creates a power dynamic where the child fears the parent. This can lead to a breakdown in the relationship, making it difficult for the child to seek guidance and support from their caregiver. A healthy parent-child relationship is crucial for a child’s emotional well-being and overall development.

5. Ineffective Discipline Strategy

Spanking babies is an ineffective discipline strategy. It may stop unwanted behavior temporarily, but it fails to teach the child appropriate alternatives or address the underlying cause of the behavior. Positive discipline techniques, such as redirection, setting boundaries, and teaching appropriate behavior, are more effective in promoting long-term behavior change and fostering a healthy parent-child relationship.

6. Long-Term Consequences

The harmful effects of spanking babies can extend into adulthood. Research has shown that individuals who were spanked as babies are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, engage in risky behaviors, and have difficulties forming healthy relationships. The negative impact of spanking can have long-lasting consequences on a person’s overall well-being.


Spanking babies is not only physically harmful but also detrimental to their emotional, cognitive, and social development. It can lead to negative long-term consequences and impair the parent-child relationship. Instead of resorting to spanking, it is important for caregivers to explore positive discipline techniques that promote healthy development and foster a nurturing environment for babies.


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