Spanking Doesn’t Work, it Hurts!

It is so easy to swat your child when they are seemingly disobedient. ABC TV yesterday reported yet another research study shouting loud and clear that spanking used as a regular punishment has long-term affects on children and their potential for violent behavior.

Please consider the facts.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says…

Although most Americans were spanked as children, we now know that it has several important side effects,

  •  It may seem to work at the moment, but it is no more effective in changing behavior than a time-out.
  •  Spanking increases children’s aggression and anger instead of teaching responsibility.
  •  Parents may intend to stay calm but often do not, and regret their actions later.
  •  Because most parents do not want to spank, they are less likely to be consistent.
  • Spanking makes other consequences less effective, such as those used at childcare or school. Gradually, even spanking loses its impact.
  • Spanking can lead to physical struggles and even escalate to the point of harming the child.
  • Children who continue to be spanked are more likely to be depressed, use alcohol, have more anger, hit their own children, approve of and hit their spouses, and engage in crime and violence as adults.
  • These results make sense since spanking teaches the child that causing others pain is justified to control them-even with those they love.

Teaching is the goal of discipline but “disciplinary spanking” teaches hitting to a child. Should we be recommending this type of teaching to parents?  No.

Spanking cannot be considered the best method for changing behavior.

So what’s a parent to do?  Just remember “The Child Connection” message found on my DVD:

When your kids are being oppositional do NOT CONNECT with them during this behavior by making eye contact, touching and talking.  In other words, resist the urge to ‘get in their face’ when they are defying you.  Just look away and don’t engage!

This will STOP the behavior.  Now, in order to CHANGE the behavior make eye contact, talk and touch your kids when they are doing behaviors you do want them to do over and over again.

Don’t spank just because you shouldn’t, don’t do it because it doesn’t work,

Dr. Ann