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article imageSpanking young children may turn them into bullies later on

By Joan Firstenberg     Apr 12, 2010 in Lifestyle
Parents who decide to spank their toddlers may be surprised to find out that by the time that child is 5-years-old, he or she is very likely to start to exhibit aggressive behaviors like bullying, fighting, or cruelty.
A new children's study shows that spanking and other types of corporal punishment sets kids up for aggressive behaviors later in life. WEB.MD reports that the study appeared in the May issue of Pediatrics.
Researcher Catherine A. Taylor, PhD, an assistant professor of community health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans explains how they did the study...
"About 2,500 mothers were asked how often they had spanked their 3-year-old child in the past month. Nearly half of the moms said they had not spanked their child during the previous month, 27.9% said they spanked their 3-year-old once or twice within the last month, and 26.5% percent said they spanked their child more than twice in the past month."
The researchers also questioned the moms about the level of aggression of their children, whether they were bullies, cruel to others, mean or destructive and prone to getting into fights with other children.
Doctors say this new study really shows a distinct link between spanking and aggressive behavior because it controlled many maternal risk factors that have been used to explain the link, like neglect, a mother's use of drugs or alcohol, maternal stress and depression. One of the interesting outcomes from this study is that mothers or father who slap children as young as 3 years old have already set them on the road to becoming not only an aggressive 5-year old, but an angry teenager and adult.
Dr. Taylor advises parents on what she sees as the more appropriate way to bring up a child.
"Children need guidance and discipline; however, parents should focus on positive, non-physical forms of discipline and avoid the use of spanking."
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