Should You Spank?

There was an article last month in Time (5/3/10) that caught my eye titled “The Long-Term Effects of Spanking“.  I’ve never been a big fan of spanking, but I don’t have any issues with it either.  I was spanked a few times as a kid, but it was the exception not the rule.  I was surprised in another article to see that 22 states still allow spanking in schools.  I would have an issue with that.

This article talks about a Tulane study published in Pediatrics magazine which says that children that are spanked may act out more in the long run.  Those who were spanked at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive at age 5.  Apparently, this was the first study to control for issues such as depression, alcohol and drug abuse, spousal abuse, and whether the mother considered abortion.   (All factors which apparently contribute to a child’s aggressive behavior.)  Controlling for those, spanking still was a strong predictor.

“The odds of a child being more aggressive at age 5 increased by 50% if he had been spanked more than twice in the month before the study began.”  Catherine Taylor, Tulane Professor

These children who had been spanked were more likely to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not endorse spanking under any circumstances.  They recommend time-outs which typically involve denying the child any interaction, positive or negative, for a specified period of time. 

Any interesting discussion topic and one that for many us probably demonstrates the shifting winds of our culture.  I don’t think I’ve ever discussed this with my pediatrician.  I guess I know what her answer would be.

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