(WXYZ) – When children defiantly act out and stubbornly don’t listen, do you use spanking as a last resort? If yes, you might want to know the impact it could have on your child. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement, and it’s taken a much stronger stance on what some parents see as old-fashioned discipline.
Does hitting a child affect them?
The American Academy of Pediatrics found new evidence that links spanking to “an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial and emotional outcomes for children.” None of those things are good. Looking at a 2016 analysis of multiple studies, the AAP found physical punishment does not show any benefits in the long-term. And if you’re thinking it’ll work in the short-term, one study that used voice recordings also found that spanking was ineffective. Get this, 73 percent of the children resumed the exact same bad behavior ten minutes later.
Can spanking make children aggressive?
It can. One study found that kids who were spanked twice a month when they were 3, were more aggressive when they were 5 years old. And when they were 9, they were more physical when displaying their emotions and also had lower vocabulary scores. Another study found yelling and being harsh verbally before the age of 13 was associated with depressive symptoms in adolescence. And another study found young adults who were repeatedly exposed to harsh punishment had less gray matter in their brain. Which means less information processing power.
How to discipline without spanking
Clearly, we should not be hitting our children nor should we use verbal punishment like shaming or humiliation. These do not work. Now as a parent, I know it is super difficult to stay calm sometimes. But you can use other effective means that are age appropriate when your child’s behavior is challenging.
- Most 6-month-olds are too young for rules so just pick them up and bring them to another room. Or you can try distracting them with something they like doing.
- Using time-outs for toddlers and preschoolers are quite effective. I use it all the time.
- For older children, focus on rewarding good behavior. This can be hard as bad behavior tends to get our attention fast. But you can come up with a reward chart where they can work towards earning something special.
- And for adolescents, they do well when you set expectations and limits.
These are much more effective than physical or verbal punishment.
Find out the 4 most common parenting styles and other helpful articles on parenting here.
Copyright Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Data pulled from WXYZ