The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released new, updated guidelines on their stance against spanking as a form of punishment, and they're still telling parents not to do it. They're also advising against any form of corporal punishment and verbal shaming based on the results of new studies.
These new guidelines come 20 years after the AAP first discouraged parents from using corporal punishment and spanking in favor of other forms of effective punishment. Studies have found a link between corporal punishment and long-term cycles of abuse that continues into adulthood. A study conducted in the 20 largest U.S. cities found that children who were spanked at least twice a month are more likely to experience aggressive behaviors at school and develop mental health issues.
These children are also at a higher risk for more aggressive behaviors in general and cognitive disorders as well as continue a cycle of spanking and possible abuse. Corporal punishment is defined as non-injurious, open-handed hitting with the intention of modifying a child's behavior making it distinctly different from child abuse. It is noted that many parents may occasionally spank their children but socio-economic factors, as well as the parent's mental health all, play a role in an increased likelihood to spank. They also acknowledge that spanking does have an immediate behavioral effect but long-term negative consequences aren't worth the risk of short-term action.
The purpose of discipline in any form is to teach children good behavior and support normal childhood development. Most parents spank as a last resort. The AAP believes that access to alternative forms of discipline could reduce the frequency of spanking and the need for them. Spanking is a touchy parenting subject because everyone has an opinion on it one way or the other. There is no in-between. Pediatricians are trained to give parents information and advice on how to raise their children in the healthiest way possible. The official stance is to not spank.
Child rearing is difficult and no one wants to be told how to raise their own kids, however, these guidelines are supported by years of research and observation made by many different doctors. But some parents swear by spanking that has happened in their families' for generations.
What do you think of these findings? Do you spank your kids? Let us know your stance in the comments.