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Family Life

Where We Stand: Spanking

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, limit setting, redirecting, and setting future expectations. The AAP recommends that parents do not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating, or shaming.

Here's Why:

  • Corporal punishment of children younger than 18 months of age increases the likelihood of physical injury.

  • Repeated use of corporal punishment may lead to aggressive behavior and altercations between parent and child and may negatively affect the parent-child relationship.

  • Corporal punishment is associated with increased aggression in preschool and school-aged children.

  • Experiencing corporal punishment makes it more, not less, likely that children will be defiant and aggressive in the future.

  • Corporal punishment is associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders and cognition problems.

  • The risk of harsh punishment is increased when the family is experiencing stressors, such as family economic challenges, mental health problems, intimate partner violence, or substance abuse.

  • Spanking alone is associated with adverse outcomes, and these outcomes are similar to those in children who experience physical abuse.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2018)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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