Why You Shouldn't Spank, According To Pediatrics

Henrietta Strickland
November 7, 2018

Research in children who were spanked more than twice a month at age 3 showed more aggression at age 5, the AAP said in a statement.

Parents should be educated on more effective discipline methods that protect children from harm, the academy recommends.

"Experiencing corporal punishment makes it more, not less, likely that children will be defiant and aggressive in the future", the group writes in the statement. "We know that children grow and develop better with positive role modeling and by setting healthy limits".

In October, the academy published guidelines on how pediatricians and parents can navigate the health concerns for transgender and "gender-diverse" youth as well as how to improve safety for teen drivers.

"Parents, other caregivers, and adults interacting with children and adolescents should not use corporal punishment (including hitting and spanking), either in anger or as a punishment for or outcome of misbehavior, nor should they use any disciplinary strategy, including verbal abuse, that causes shame or humiliation", the group says in the updated guidelines.

"Children who experience repeated use of corporal punishment tend to develop more aggressive behaviors, increased aggression in school and an increased risk of mental health disorders and cognitive problems", Dr. Robert Sege, one of the authors of the guidelines, said in a statement.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a stronger stance against parents whoopin' their kids.

The new policy - which wades into the controversial subject of corporal punishment - uses a variety of older studies to show the downsides of spanking a child and offers other solutions for parents who are looking to discipline one of their kids without spanking. "For example, spanking or slapping a child so hard that it leaves a mark that lasts for several hours would not be considered "transitory and trifling", the department said on its website.

"What we talk to parents about is paying attention to your child's good behavior and paying less attention when they're misbehaving", Sege said.

That held even when parents were otherwise warm and loving.

Spanking kids is also linked with negative emotional and behavioral outcomes for kids later in life, the new AAP policy said. "Simply put, parents who manage their children's behavior well may no longer feel the need to use more violent approaches". "In addition, family economic challenges, mental health problems, intimate partner violence and substance abuse all are associated with increased reliance on corporal punishment", Sege said.

"The AAP supports educating parents on more effective discipline strategies that teach appropriate behavior and protect the child and others from harm". Teenagers in countries with a full corporal punishment ban are less likely to engage in fistfights.

So what is the best way to discipline children?

And this new policy from the American Academy of Pediatricians reviewed a deluge of studies that suggest spanking is ineffective or damaging. "What you see is a positive correlation between spanking and higher levels of behavior problems".

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