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To Spank or Not to Spank

July 08, 2002|Jonathan Fielding and Valerie Ulene

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes striking a child--at any time, for any reason.

Although spanking may temporarily relieve a parent's frustration or anger, and even though it may stop the undesirable behavior for a moment, the pediatricians' group does not consider it to be an effective way to discipline a child.

Because it does not focus the child's attention on alternative behaviors, the undesirable one that provoked the spanking is likely to reoccur.

Furthermore, striking children--even if it is a spanking--undermines their sense of security and teaches them that violence is an acceptable way to express anger.

If a child is spanked, the group recommends that the parent later explain why it was done and what provoked it.

The group also recommends that parents who spank because they lost their temper (and self-control) should consider apologizing to the child for doing so.

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