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Study Shows That Spanking a Child Leads to Aggression

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Spanking a child as a form of punishment may not be a good idea for many legal reasons, but now, Time Magazine reports that there's a new reason to avoid spanking when disciplining young children.

Researchers at Tulane University found that in a study of 2,500 children, those who were spanked more frequently at the age of 3 were more likely to be aggressive by the age of 5. The study accounts for factors such as acts of neglect by the mother, violence or aggression between the parents, maternal stress and depression, the mother's use of alcohol and drugs, and even whether the mother considered abortion while pregnant with the child. Researchers concluded that each of these factors contributes to aggressive behavior in a child at age 5.

According to the Family Rights Association, child abuse in Texas does not include reasonable discipline by a parent. The law allows for non-deadly force against a child under 18 through Family Code Sec. 261.001, as long as the child is not exposed to a substantial risk of harm. In child custody cases, however, there are many factors that go into the decision of which parent gets custody, and the spanking of a child can loosely be taken into account when deciding custody of children.

Texas family law attorneys may argue that the emotional bond between a parent and child should be a deciding factor in child custody cases. If a child has a certain amount of aggression against a parent, or has violent behavior has a result of physical discipline, then the parent that has spanked the child could have a disadvantage in a custody case. The mental health of a child and child's preference of a parent can also play a factor into custody decisions.

If you have child custody questions, speaking with a Houston family law attorney could be helpful.

Related Resources:

  • Custody Decisions in Family Court (FindLaw)
  • Child Abuse Cases (FindLaw)
  • Look For a Houston Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)

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