Most Americans were spanked as children, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents use alternative methods of discipline. According to the AAP, spanking is no more effective in modifying a child's behavior than putting the child in time-out. Spanking may also make other consequences seem less effective -- such as those used to discipline at school. The AAP says spanking will also gradually lose its own effect.
Spanking may also have a negative impact on parents. Parents who get angry and lose control often regret their own actions later, according to the AAP. Since parents do not want to spank, the AAP says moms and dads who choose this form of punishment are less likely to be consistent with discipline.
What Moms Should Know about Spanking
Parenting expert and psychotherapist Jill Spivack weighs in on the negative effects of spanking:
Although spanking used to be a common form of discipline, we've come a long way in learning about what works most effectively with children's behaviors.
Spanking is a punitive form of discipline. Ultimately, children do best when they experience logical consequences for behavior. Although spanking may relieve a parent's frustration and stop misbehavior briefly, spanking is thought to be the least effective method of discipline.
When a parent hits, they are telling the child that physical punishment is an acceptable way to solve problems -- and yet parents are usually trying to encourage the exact opposite behaviors out of their child. Children will become confused when they're told not to act aggressively toward others if their parents act aggressively toward them. Spanking is also ineffective because it's not teaching kids an alternative behavior.
Children ultimately feel ashamed, humiliated, and resentful after being spanked.
A child who is spanked may experience these long-term effects:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, continued spanking may also have these long-term effects:
Spanking teaches children that causing others pain (including loved ones) is a justifiable way to control them, says the AAP. Talk to your pediatrician if you need more help disciplining your child and finding effective alternatives to spanking.
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