Harsh punishment affecting kids' health?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Children whose parents use "harsh" physical punishment such as slapping or shoving may end up in relatively poorer physical health as adults, according to a new study released on Monday.

Researchers found that of more than 34,000 U.S. adults in a government health study, those who said they were harshly disciplined as kids had slightly higher risks of obesity, arthritis and heart disease.

Regional Director, Dr. Jackie Farrell with Daysprings Behavioral Health Services in Trumann said the emotional affect that harsh punishment can cause may lead to poor physical health.

"That can cause anxiety issues, depression issues, and those types of things can easily lead to medical issues," said Dr. Farrell.

Dr. Farrell sees patients who use the wrong form of punishment often and something physical such as slapping or shoving are no way to fix a child's behavior.

"It's a lose-lose situation and it typically does not change the behavior and really damages the self esteem," said Dr. Farrell.

Mom, Jennifer Earnhart said the only time she spanks her child is when she feels the action is severe enough or done on more than one occasion.

"Mainly, I use a time out because he's three years old and the worst thing you can do to a three-year-old is make them stop and sit still," said Earnhart.

If ever she feels she could become too harsh on her child she said she takes some time to cool off before giving the punishment.

"If I feel myself about to slap my child, then that's when I need to stop myself and count to ten," said Earnhart. "I need time out myself."

For Moms, Holly Cupp and Courtney Shephard, they believe a physical punishment is only appropriate under certain circumstances

"If it's not done with the intent of correcting out of love then, I do not think it should be done," said Cupp.

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