It All Starts when We Punish our Kids, #4

It all starts when we punish our kids.

What “all starts?” Well . . .

           4. Depression.

The damages from abuse are many, but they’re becoming well known. I’ve often listed the categories of them, physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive, but the damages themselves are:

Impaired cognitive development (trouble in school, poorer grades);

Behaviour problems;

All manner of disorders: eating, depression, anxiety, self-harm,
addictions;
Physical injuries, sometimes permanent and/or resulting in impaired physical development;

Etc., etc.

The thing is, the list of damages that have been so well documented as resulting from what is called corporal punishment – that is the same list. This is why corporal punishment is fast being outlawed all over the world.

All punishment is corporal punishment – that’s the big secret. Therefore the list of damages that result from all punishment is the same list. (See Part #2, Violence.)

Now, clearly, it is usually, if not always impossible to show causation from even childhood abuse to teen or adult depression, let alone childhood punishments to teen or adult depression in specifics, but the science is in. Statistically, connections have been repeatedly shown. Documented victims of abuse and corporal punishment have higher incidences of depression and the secondary manifestations of depression listed above: addiction, self harm and suicide, as well as many, less obvious symptoms.

In a personal perspective:

1. I have suffered depresion myself, and I can’t really connect it specifically to childhood abuse or punishment. I was the last of four children, and I suffered the least punishment of all my siblings, which I accomplished the old fashioned way, by doing what I was told. Now, avoiding the punishments didn’t save me from depressive episodes throughout later life, but it’s possible that the environment of punishment is itself a cause for depression. I mean, I got the message, the one we all get, whether we wish to consciously grant it power over us or not: my parents would rather hurt me than accept any serious inconvenience from my behaviour.

Again, I can’t say specifically that that did it – but it certainly could do it. And statistically, it almost cetainly does.

2. One of my two unpunished daughters has suffered some teen depression. The environment at home wasn’t that way for her, we never sent that message. That message is everywhere for kids though, daycare, school, the homes of other kids. It probably even had a subconscious presence in our house. Both myself and my wife were raised in punishing homes; perhaps my kids felt the stress of us fighting our programming, perhaps they could feel that they were getting away with stuff that we never did as kids, and maybe they could sense the unconscious reactions we were fighting. That might do it.

Another factor may be that our girls were sort of alone, because of the way we raised them, because they were the only un-punished kids they knew. That may have set them apart, and they certainly have felt lonely and not a part of the group, especially during the teen years when the other kids were rebelling and sharing their parental war stories with each other. (My impression is that they found most of the other kids somewhat mean and . . . how to say it? Limited.) That may well be a depressing aspect in her life too.

Plus, of course, other random things in life also happen. Whether by sub-conscious transmission or something genetic, her depression appeared at the very same age as mine did. There’s very likely something there too. But the first few things, the punishment related ones, they could still be factors.

Plus, of course, other random things in life also happen. Whether by sub-conscious transmission or something genetic, her depression appeared at the very same age as mine did. There’s very likely something there too. But the first few things, the punishment related ones, they could still be factors.

Here is the rest of this series:

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/07/20/it-all-starts-when-we-punish-our-kids-3/

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/07/19/it-all-starts-when-we-punish-our-kids-2/

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/07/19/it-all-starts-when-we-punish-our-kids-1/

 

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