Depressed Dads Are Quicker to Spank Their Kids

MSNBC reports that fathers suffering from depression tend to spank their kids more. Some people would immediately think this is a no-brainer.

Dr. R. Neal Davis and company wrote about their findings – which were particularly disturbing since the kids in the study were one year old. ONE. As in, twelve months, not counting time in the Hotel Uterus.

What is interesting is that fathers deemed “depressed” by the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form (codename: WHOCIDISF), were actually likely to have also talked to the child’s doctor within the last year.

The findings are in the latest Pediatrics journal, which is about as dry as eating a bird’s nest right off the branch. Don’t believe me? I’ll let Pediatrics prove the only way they know how – with their own wording:

Results Overall, 7% of fathers had depression. In bivariate analyses, depressed fathers were more likely than nondepressed fathers to report spanking their 1-year-old children in the previous month (41% compared with 13%; P < .01). In multivariate analyses, depressed fathers were less likely to report reading to their children ≥3 days in a typical week (adjusted odds ratio: 0.38 [95% confidence interval: 0.15–0.98]) and much more likely to report spanking (adjusted odds ratio: 3.92 [95% confidence interval: 1.23–12.5]). Seventy-seven percent of depressed fathers reported talking to their children’s doctor in the previous year.

One conclusion was that pediatricians screen fathers for depression (moms too, you dicks), and then suggest a treatment if the father shows signs. Since the depressed fathers in the study were spanking children that were too young to know why they were being hit, this could prevent injuries and possible lifetime psychological effects – on father and child.

The easiest way to look at it – if depression is a feeling of helplessness, as if you don’t have an answer or way to express your extreme emotion – and in this case, so much so that you’re more likely to use physical violence, this makes you literally a big kid, as illustrated by – go figure – your own kids. Before your children knew all of the words you tirelessly taught them – they used physical interaction as communication. The equation isn’t really that simple, but it’s close.

For example, if your kid was playing with a truck, and another child took it from them, even innocently, your kid, I’m sure, hit or bit the other kid. This is because your kid didn’t have an immediate response or solution to what they just felt emotionally. “WTF,” your kid would say if he were more articulate, “I’m playing with this truck, and right now, I love it. If you can play with anything else for another couple minutes, you can have a turn with this truck when I get bored.” When you spank your kid, you’re admitting that you don’t have all the answers.

To some people, this is okay. We won’t debate the spanking-no-spanking issue at this moment because it runs deep. Back in 2008, a survey on spanking showed that over 70% of men and over 60% of women believe in, and this is a quote from the survey, “a good, hard spanking.”

OMG, that’s like 130% of people! Insurmountable numbers!

It’s no secret – raising a kid is as difficult as it is rewarding. It is the most complicated and emotional set of events a man could ever fathom. And if it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. But in the meantime – food for thought: if you do believe in spanking, think before you hit. Are you hitting your kid because you’re at a loss for words? Are you punishing your child for your own lack of answers? If you’re not, then swat the crap out of that brat. Booyah!

Pro Tip: Don’t ever Google “spanking punishment” for perfectly innocent purposes on a public or work computer.

Sauce: MSNBC


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Author: Zach Rosenberg View all posts by
is married and has one son. He's a gamer and world-class unicorn wrangler. You should follow him on Instagram. You can also find his writing on The Good Men Project and The Huffington Post, and HLN.
  • MMead

    Only suitable for minors?:

    Schoolchildrens’ “spanking” related injuries (WARNING – These images may be deeply disturbing to some viewers. Do not open this page if children are present).

    Reasonable and moderate? You decide.
    (WARNING – This sound recording may be deeply disturbing to some listeners. Do not open this file if children are within listening range).

    The “paddling” of minors:×11.pdf

    People used to think it was necessary to “spank” adult members of the community, college students, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered assault and battery (sexual battery at that) if a person over the age of 18 is “spanked”, but only if over the age of 18.

    Most current research:

    Spanking Kids Increases Risk of Sexual Problems

    Use of Spanking for 3-Year-Old Children and Associated Intimate Partner Aggression or Violence

    Spanking Can Make Children More Aggressive Later

    Spanking Children Can Lower IQ

    Recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson

    by Lesli Taylor MD and Adah Maurer PhD

    “Spanking” can be intentionally or unintentionally sexually abusive (educational resources documentation, testimony, etc):

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child “spanking” isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    American Psychological Association,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    United Methodist Church
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    In 31 nations, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US also has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

    The US states with the highest crime rates, poorest academic performance, highest obesity rates and health problems, and largest welfare caseloads are also the ones with the highest rates of child corporal punishment.

    Of all the things prison inmates lacked in their upbringing, “spanking” certainly wasn’t one of them.

    There is simply no evidence to suggest that child bottom-battering instills virtue.

    • Hey MMead – thanks for all the research – I saw you had posted this as multiple comments and then altogether – so I just kept this one. The spanking issue is complicated (to some). And personally, I don’t want to ever feel like I’ve got to hit my kid for the reason I mentioned in the article: when I use my hands, it’s because I’m admitting I can’t use my head. It seems like a big problem is that most people feel like they’ve got to do SOMETHING to let their kids know that they’ve crossed the line, but for an adult to hit a kid, you never know how hard is too hard until it’s too late – and a gentle tap isn’t teaching the kid anything.

      So, in my personal household, we don’t hit. God knows, its difficult – sometimes kids know how to “push your buttons” or do something that they know is wrong. At those times, sure, I’d love to fling my kid over my leg and wail on him to “teach him a lesson.” But I think the only lessons I’d be teaching him are to fear me, and that problems are solved with violence.

      But, as we see from your links, there’s a lot of people that suggest that it’s okay to spank – and with mixed results.

      Thanks for the links!