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Why You Shouldn’t Spank Your Children: The Latest Scientific Research

Mom spanking her little girl

An article in today’s New York Times offers the latest scientific evidence that not only is spanking ineffective, it actually increases aggressive behavior in children. According to the article:

Children who were spanked were more likely to show disruptive, aggressive behaviors later on. Those behaviors, in turn, made it more likely that those children would be spanked more in the future…

Other research showed that spanking was associated with poorer cognitive outcomes for children, even when the researchers controlled for factors such as maternal intelligence, maternal depression and cognitive stimulation in the home.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes striking a child for any reason. Should you lash out accidentally, they suggest explaining to your child that you lost your temper and apologizing.

When you feel the urge to hit come on, put your children in a safe place such as a crib or locked in a nursery. Take a few deep breaths until you regain control over your emotions. Then work on helping your child understand why he or she is acting out, and suggest more productive ways to handle difficult emotions.

If you’re searching for more positive disciplinary solutions, I highly recommend the book What They Don’t Tell You About Parenting by child development expert Tom Limbert. You can read my review of the book here.

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