Should You Spank Your Child?
- Positive, supportive parent-child relationships
- Positive reinforcement strategies to increase desired behaviors
- Removing reinforcement strategies or applying punishment to reduce or eliminate undesired behaviors
- An extra bedtime story
- Delaying bedtime by a half hour
- A preferred snack
- Points toward a special toy or privilege
- Ignoring the behavior
- Sending your child to time-out
- Taking away privileges
Consequences of Spanking
- Spanking children younger than 18 months increases the chances of physical injury, and the child is unlikely to understand the connection between the behavior and the punishment.
- Repeated spanking may cause agitated, aggressive behavior in the child that may lead to physical altercation between parent and child.
- Spanking models aggressive behavior as a solution to conflict and has been associated with increased aggression in children.
- Spanking and threats of spanking lead to altered parent-child relationships, making discipline more difficult when physical punishment is no longer an option, such as with adolescents.
- Spanking is no more effective than other disciplinary approaches, and reliance on spanking as a disciplinary approach makes other strategies less effective.
- A pattern of spanking may be sustained or increased.
Alternatives to Spanking
The Time-out Method
Removal of Privileges
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development http://www.nichd.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Parenting Today http://www.parentingtoday.ca
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Guidance for effective discipline. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. Pediatrics. 1998;101(4 Pt 1):723-728.
Physical punishment, culture, and rights: current issues for professionals. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2008;29:55-66.
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What you can do to change your child's behavior. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/kids/behavior-emotions/child-behavior-what-parents-can-do-to-change-their-childs-behavior.html. Updated September 2010. Accessed April 13, 2015.
Where we stand: Spanking. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Where-We-Stand-Spanking.aspx. Updated October 10, 2014. Accessed April 13, 2015.
10/26/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Afifi TO, Mota NP, Dasiewicz P, MacMillan HL, Sareen J. Physical punishment and mental disorders: results from a nationally representative US sample. Pediatrics 2012 Aug;130(2):184-92.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2015 -
- Update Date: 04/13/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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