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Study: Spanking May Lead to Aggression in Children

Posted on Apr 12, 2010
frustrated child
Flickr / Tina P.

Score one for the anti-spanking parental contingent: A study published in the latest issue of Pediatrics suggests there may be a link between the corporal punishment—e.g., spanking—of children and aggressive behavior on the part of those kids as they grow up.  —KA

Web MD:

“This study reinforces that any kind of violence or physical aggression in the home is another risk factor for kids being more aggressive in the future,” says Patricia Hametz, MD, director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Center and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University and director of the general pediatrics inpatient service at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City.

[...] “The way you discipline depends on the age of the child, and pediatricians should give age-appropriate suggestions about how to discipline toddlers,” Hametz tells WebMD. “Some people like time-outs, which remove a child from whatever it is that is overstimulating them.”

Another tactic is to reward good behavior. “Praising, pointing out, and literally rewarding good behavior is a better discipline strategy than punishing bad behavior after it happens,” she says.

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By expat in germany, April 13, 2010 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
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Actually, I don’t think rewards, which are the flip side of the punishment coin, are any better than punishments. Both rewards and punishments tell our children what we, as parents, think is important. It doesn’t really address why they should value a certain behavior, or avoid some other behavior. When I was pregnant, I “knew” I would never hit my kids, but one day, when my son was around 7, I did spank him. Then, in tears, I called my sister, who laughed at my alarm. Like most things, this isn’t a black-and-white issue. I don’t recommend spanking as a regular form of discipline, but I also know that children evoke, and provoke, strong feelings. By the way, that day I spanked my son, he came up to me about 30 minutes later and said, “Did you want to apologize to me?” I thought for a minute and then told him, “No, because I’m not sorry. You truly deserved that.”
I’m not saying what I did what right or wrong. I just think being a skillful parent is something we aim for, not something we always get right.

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By gerard, April 13, 2010 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

Well you can tell where these posters are coming from!
Being a soft-hearted, soft-headed softie who was never spanked, beaten or otherwise abused—yes, it is child abuse—I can say further that I never even had the urge when my kids were growing up.
I can’t see myself, a person three or four times bigger, hitting a defenseless little kid because he is acting like a little kid.  That’s more or less the way little kids themselves act when they are angry—they hit people, or try to, and if they are hit, as soon as they can they will hit somebody else smaller than they are.
  Now I wonder where they leared to do that?  And I wonder how they will ever learn any more constructive ways to respond?  (Why, do you suppose, are we having such a helluva time stopping wars?  No connection?)   
  You hit a sensitiive spot with me on this one.  My father used to say, “Any adult who hits a little kid should be strung up by his toes.”  Nice pacifist image there, but he got the point over!

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By Bruce, April 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment
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OR becomes a BULLY of first his/her siblings, then others; for LACK of such swift,
unambiguous and effective discipline.

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By rico, suave, April 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, you’re right. As soon as I typed “cat”, I thought- Way to go kid!

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By diman, April 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

I’d say pretty smart kid to figure out between buttons and menus on the microwave, definately deserves a reward.

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By rico, suave, April 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Then again, spanking may lead to proper behavior, respect for authority, and appreciation for the value of rules.

“rewarding good behavior is a better discipline strategy than punishing bad behavior after it happens” What a load of psychobabble bullshit!

What if there is no “good behavior” to reward? What if the kid just microwaved the cat?

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By diman, April 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

Never to take seriously any research or an article for that matter, on the research that “SUGGESTS” that there “MAY BE” a link between corporal punishment and aggression developed in children as they grow up.

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