• Developmental Psychology Viewpoint

    • Will science ever convince parents to stop spanking their children?

      Posted on June 30, 2011 with 4 comments

      Full disclaimer: I don't spank my children. We're a gentle-discipline kind of household (most of the time, anyway), and I think the bulk of the evidence from decades of parenting research supports that decision. So when the issue of spanking comes up in conversation with other parents, I've never hesitated to repeat my spanking-is-bad mantra:  Spanking sometimes works in the short-term, but not the long run, and children who are spanked are more likely to experience a long list of negative outcomes like depression, aggression, and other antisocial behaviors. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't up for debate. Around here, we like science, and this is what the science tell us so far. And yes--of course there are exceptions. Not all children who are spanked experience the same outcomes.  I get that, I really do. But many studies, of many thousands of children or grown children, tell the story. And yet there are big holes in what we know, and I suspect that these holes are what make some parents so difficult to convince.  Sure, we know that some children are spanked or slapped for misbehaving, and that these children are at greater risk for certain outcomes. But what does this...

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