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Should You Spank Your Child?
- A learning environment characterized by positive, supportive parent-child relationships
- A strategy for teaching and reinforcing positive behaviors
- A strategy for decreasing and eliminating undesired behaviors
- An extra bedtime story
- Delaying bedtime by a half hour
- A preferred snack
- Points toward a special toy or privilege
- Ignoring your child
- Sending your child to time-out
- Taking away privileges
Consequences of Spanking
- Spanking of children younger than 18 months increases the chances of physical injury, and the child is unlikely to understand the connection between the behavior and the punishment.
- Repeated spanking may cause agitated, aggressive behavior in the child that may lead to physical altercation between parent and child.
- Spanking models aggressive behavior as a solution to conflict and has been associated with increased aggression in children.
- Spanking and threats of spanking lead to altered parent-child relationships, making discipline substantially more difficult when physical punishment is no longer an option, such as with adolescents.
- Spanking is no more effective than other disciplinary approaches, and reliance on spanking as a disciplinary approach makes other strategies less effective.
- A pattern of spanking may be sustained or increased.
- Studies reported in the journal Pediatrics show that spanking prior to the age of two was strongly associated with behavior problems when children reached school age. These findings were significant only for white, non-Hispanic children.
- Another study in the journal Pediatricsshowed a link between harsh physical punishment and risk for mood disorders, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and personality disorders.
Alternatives to Spanking
The Time-out Method
Removal of Privileges
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development http://www.nichd.nih.gov/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Parenting Today http://www.parentingtoday.ca/
Anticipatory Guidance (Pediatric Preventive Care) EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated November 26, 2012. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Bloomberg SJ, Halfon N, Olson LM. The National Survey of Early Childhood Health. Pediatrics. 2004;113(6 Suppl):1899-1906.
Disciplining Your Child. American Academy of Pediatrics Health Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/pages/Disciplining-Your-Child.aspx. Updated January 2, 2013. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Child behavior: what parents can do to change their child’s behavior. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/handouts/201.html. Updated September 2010. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Guidance for effective discipline. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. Pediatrics. 1998;101(4 Pt 1):723-728.
Where We Stand: Spanking. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Where-We-Stand-Spanking.aspx. Updated May 19, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Physical punishment, culture, and rights: current issues for professionals. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2008;29:55-66.
Slade EP, Wissow LS. Spanking in early childhood and later behavior problems: a prospective study of infants and young toddlers. Pediatrics. 2004;113:1321-1330.
10/26/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Afifi TO, Mota NP, Dasiewicz P, MacMillan HL, Sareen J. Physical punishment and mental disorders: results from a nationally representative US sample. Pediatrics 2012 Aug;130(2):184-92.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 01/2013
- Update Date: 01/04/2013