The Link Between Physical Punishment and Children with Anger Issues

sad 219721 1280 Figuring out how to discipline your child and make sure they listen to you can be difficult for parents. Oftentimes, parents turn to corporal punishment techniques, the most popular one being spanking. More and more evidence has been piling up in the argument against corporal punishment, one of the largest ones being its link to children with anger issues. The New York Times recently published an article delving into the evidence behind the connection between children with anger issues and corporal punishment.

Evidence linking corporal punishment and children with anger issues

For years and years and years, pediatricians have advised against corporal punishment as an effective disciplining technique. It often yields quick, temporary results, but are largely harmful and ineffective long-term. Yet parents continue to do it, even when they believe it’s not really working, according to a study of over 2,000 parents. One of the most esteemed child psychiatry organizations, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, even strongly opposes using any form of corporal punishment because of the implications found over years and years of research.
A study published in 2015 uncovered even more evidence concerning children with anger issues and corporal punishment. Researchers found that children who were physically disciplined (spanking, swatting, etc.) showed much more aggressive behaviors, thus leading to a greater likeliness of being spanked even more–this creates a vicious cycle that breeds children with anger issues.
Other studies exemplify further that corporal punishment leads to often negative results. Many have found that corporal punishment is connected to children having lower cognitive outcomes. All of these strengthen the idea that aggressive parenting generally leads to children with anger issues.

Discipline alternatives

Children learn by watching their parents, so it’s only logical to think that if they witness you being aggressive, they’ll believe that’s how they should act. Years of research has confirmed that “Do as I say, not as I do” does not work in the slightest. If your child is yelling and you yell, “Stop yelling!” It’s a contradiction–and your child knows it. Learning to control your behavior as a parent–which, trust me, I know is extremely difficult–goes a long way in affecting your child’s behavior.
Recognizing why your child is having a tantrum, finding the root of the behavior and helping them work through how to either avoid it or constructively deal with it is much more effective than remedying it temporarily. Another one that is often overlooked is recognizing positive behavior. When your child does something right, recognize it, even reward it sometimes. By focusing only on the bad behaviors, you don’t show them what they’re supposed to be doing instead. Positive parenting techniques have shown to be much more effective and long-term than any corporal punishment–so maybe it’s time to look into it.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina can help struggling teen, please call 800-975-7303 today!

Posted in
Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

Get started today

Contact us today to learn how Trails Carolina can help your family

Contact Us LP

Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Discover If Trails Is The Right Program For Your Child

Take our short online assessment and help us better understand how we can help your family.

A teen stands at the meeting point of two trails in the forest, one leading higher towards the light and one leading down into darkness

Top 5 Common Myths About Wilderness Therapy For Youth: Understanding The History and Today’s Reality

Today, families have access to supportive, safe, and nurturing therapeutic treatment programs. Modern wilderness therapy programs, like Trails Carolina, are far from the punitive boot camps they are often portrayed as. 
A red-headed young woman sits on a hilltop overlooking forested mountains in front of her.

Treatment For Anxiety In Teens: How Wilderness Therapy Can Help

At Trails Carolina, we will give your child the skills to manage anxiety in real-time as soon as they arrive on our campus. They will very quickly gain a sense of belonging at Trails because of the sense of community that naturally occurs with the other students who are dealing with the common struggles of learning to manage adolescent anxiety.
Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder - A teen boy in a beanie and a sweatshirt glowers at the viewer in the woods.

Dealing with Defiance: Six Tips for Decreasing Defiant Behavior

Most parents know what is like to live with a defiant teenager. Teens often feel inclined to push buttons and test the limits enforced upon them. This can be extremely frustrating for parents and create a constant power struggle within the home. The teenage years are when one is trying to figure out where they…
family reuniting - trails carolina reviews
Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.