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Spanking

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.

Top 5 Tips for Effective Child Discipline, from Parenting Expert and Psychotherapist Jill Spivack


  1. Don't spank. 
  2. When you're feeling angry about a behavior and you feel like spanking, take a time-out yourself. Go to a room in your home and breathe before acting. It's always OK to wait a bit before deciding what consequence to give your child.
  3. Try to catch your child being "good." Praising children when they're behaving the way we'd like them to behave is 10 times more effective in encouraging good behavior than punishing negative behaviors. 
  4. Set predictable boundaries and rules. Being effective in discipline means explaining, in advance, what is considered to be acceptable behavior and what the consequences are for negative behaviors. Talk to your children when they're calm and you're not in a power struggle.
  5. Try to understand the reasons why your child is acting out. Has there been stress in the household? If so, try to calm things down.... Is your child going through a major transition? If so, help them work it through with love and attention to the issue. If you've been unavailable or have been away, spend some special time "filling them up" with your undivided attention. This will often help children feel more connected and eradicate some of the negative behaviors that cause you to become angry or to feel like spanking.

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.

 

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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:

  • increased risk of aggression
  • violent behavior
  • depression

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, continued spanking may also have these long-term effects:

  • Children who are spanked are more likely to use alcohol.
  • Those spanked as children are more likely to spank their own children.
  • Children who are spanked grow up to be more likely to hit their spouses.
  • Children who are spanked are more likely to commit crimes as adults.

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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  2. Father Spanks 16-Year-Old Daughter
  3. I May Spank My Child

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