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Help us improve your experience by providing feedback on this. Physical discipline is slowly declining as some studies reveal lasting harms for children. Many studies have shown that physical punishment — including spanking, hitting and other means of causing pain — can lead to increased aggression, antisocial behavior, physical injury and mental health problems for children.
We are not giving up an effective technique. We are saying this is a horrible thing that does not work. Around the world, 30 countries have banned physical punishment of children in all settings, including the home.
The legal bans typically have been used as public education tools, rather than attempts to criminalize behavior by parents who spank their children, says Elizabeth Gershoff, PhD, a leading researcher on physical punishment at the University of Texas at Austin.
The report recommends that parents and caregivers make every effort to avoid physical punishment and calls for the banning of physical discipline in all U. The report has been endorsed by dozens of organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and Psychologists for Social Responsibility. Preston Britner, PhD, developmental psychologist and professor at the University of Spanking pain, helped draft the proposed resolution as co-chair of CYF.
A study published last year in Child Abuse and Neglect revealed an intergenerational cycle of violence in homes where physical punishment was used. Researchers interviewed parents and children age 3 to 7 from more than families. Children who were physically punished were more likely to endorse hitting as a means of resolving their conflicts with peers and siblings.
Parents who had experienced frequent physical punishment during their childhood were more likely to believe it was acceptable, and they frequently spanked their children. Their children, in turn, often believed spanking was an appropriate disciplinary method.
The negative effects of physical punishment may not become apparent for some time, Gershoff says. As in many areas of science, some researchers disagree about the validity of the studies on physical punishment. Robert Larzelere, PhD, an Oklahoma State University professor who studies parental discipline, was a member of the APA task force who issued his own minority report because he disagreed with the scientific basis of the task force recommendations. Larzelere defines conditional spanking as a disciplinary technique for 2- to 6-year-old children in which spanking pain use two open-handed swats on the buttocks only after the child has defied milder discipline such as time out.
Gershoff says all of the studies on physical punishment have some shortcomings. The Parent Management Training program headed by Kazdin at Yale is grounded in research on applied behavioral analysis. The program teaches parents to use positive reinforcement and effusive praise to reward children for good behavior.
Kazdin also uses a technique that may sound like insanity to most parents: Telling toddlers to practice throwing a tantrum. Parents ask their children to have a pretend tantrum without one undesirable element, such as hitting or kicking.
The course teaches parents how to avoid violence through anger management, positive child discipline and conflict resolution. Parents should talk with their children about appropriate means of resolving conflicts, Gershoff says. up now ». Feature The case against spanking Physical discipline is slowly declining as some studies reveal lasting harms for children. By Brendan L. Smith AprilVol 43, No. Cite this. Smith, B. The case against spanking. Monitor on Psychology43 4. Smith is a writer in Washington, D.
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