Is Spanking Bad?
You've heard the Biblical verse so often that it's become a parenting cliché: "Spare the rod, spoil the child."
If you're an adult, you may have experienced corporal punishment growing up. Maybe your parents spanked you. If you're old enough, you may even have experienced them using a belt to beat you or using soap to wash your mouth out.
If you're a parent, you may have spanked your child. There may even have been times when you felt so angry at some misdeed that you wanted to punish them even more harshley.
But a new study published this week in the Pediatrics journal suggests that spanking 3-year-old children could lead to more aggressive behavior when they are 5.
Nearly 2,500 children in 20 large U.S. cities participated in the seven-year study, which was conducted by researchers from Tulane University, Wayne State University, University of Albany and the State University of New York.
They found that children who were spanked more than twice a month-26.5 percent of the children-were more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior at age 5: arguing, bullying other children; destroying others' belongings; screaming or threatening others; and disobeying authority at home, in child care or school.
The findings weren't a surprise to psychologists.
"If you want to teach your child to say, 'Thank you,' then say it, in front of your child, whenever appropriate. Conversely, if you want to teach your child to hit, then hit your child as a regular form of discipline," Albert Einstein College of Medicine child psychologist and pediatrics professor Rahil Briggs told ABC News.
Researchers noted that corporal punishment still remains generally accepted in the United States, despite the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. They suggest further efforts to encourage pediatricians to teach alternative disciplinary methods to parents. In addition they suggest public educational campaigns to change people's attitudes toward corporal punishment.
What do you think? How did your parents discipline you? How do you discipline your children?
Do you agree with the research findings that corporal punishment is bad? If so, how do you change people's minds? How could parents discipline their children without resorting to spanking? How effective are these techniques?
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(The actual verse is "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." Proverbs 13: 24, NIV)