Once again, The American Psychological Association has joined an expanding campaign of health organizations in the push to ban spanking due to the claims it can cause short- and long-term harm to children.
The organization has been warning the public for almost a decade that physical discipline can be in the end harmful to kids mental health. It announced its policy change officially last Friday, February 15th in the efforts to start a chain reaction.
“The research on the adverse outcomes associated with physical discipline indicates that any perceived short-term benefits of physical discipline do not outweigh the detriments of this form of discipline,” the group announced in its Resolution on Physical Discipline of Children by Parents.
According to recent research, the evidence has discovered that physical discipline will eventually lead to children with increased “behavior problems,” such as aggressiveness and defiance, however that claim comes from a microscopic case study. The APA urges parents to use “positive” discipline such as time-outs, reasoning, withholding privileges, warnings and ignoring bad behavior.
The agency’s policy further highlights that children acquire their behavior from their parents, which can result in “undesirable conflict resolution practices” to the following generations although the evidence does claim that physical disciple by caregivers or anyone can increase to the level that may seem like physical abuse.
The agency joined the American Academy of Pediatrics, which initially updated its policy statement last year, in the hopes to end physical discipline.
Multiple studies have claimed that the result of spanking led to adverse effects on children depending on their age or more importantly the reason for why they were spanked.
According to a massive study conducted by BMJ Open last year, found that counties who implemented a full ban on corporal punishment, including spanking, slapping, and smacking, have reported having kids who are less likely to become violent.
Interesting a 2017 study published in the “Journal of Pediatrics” claims that spanked or hit children were more likely to commit domestic violence later in life. The new research which was updated by the APA directs the organization to support funding and future studies on why some parents support spanking, while others do not at all.
“The use of physical punishment on children has been declining in the United States over the past 50 years,” APA President Rosie Phillips Davis stated. “We hope that this resolution will make more parents and caregivers aware that other forms of discipline are effective and even more likely to result in the behaviors they want to see in their children.”
Other countries have adopted this idea of no spanking, Fifty-three countries have completely outlawed any form of physical punishment, even in their own homes, according to Global Initiative, a group that advocates policies of this nature.
Besides spanking multiple factors can add to the dating violence, the university suggests, including mental health, attitudes towards women and substance abuse. The head authors of the study explain that corporal punishment is, in fact, a considerable risk factor for that particular violence.
“Corporal punishment is communicating to children that violence is an acceptable means of changing behavior,” Temple believes. She concluded her statement by saying, “Not only is this an ineffective strategy for changing behavior or resolving conflict, but our study and other research also show that physical punishment negatively impacts the short and long-term health and behavior of children.”
Just like The American Psychological Association, Academy of Pediatrics supports parents who choose alternatives to spanking, which are taking away certain privileges, time-outs and letting natural consequences unfold whatever they may be.
The AAP guidance focuses more intensely than on just corporal punishment, challenging parents to avoid any disciplinary action, including verbal abuse, that shames or humiliates a child.
The group is also warning pediatricians to advocate for effective discipline policies in their states and communities, educating their patients on the effects hitting a child can have.
“I don’t think we’re getting softer,” stated Dr. Ryan Brown, a board-certified pediatrician and a member of the AAP’s council on child abuse and neglect in a statement. “I think we’re getting smarter with our discipline.”
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