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article imageSpanking children may encourage more bad behavior, study says

By Sean Fraser     Apr 16, 2014 in Health
Dallas - A new study into the effects of corporal punishment on children suggests that spanking a child encourages them to misbehave more often.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, was led by researcher George Holden, a parenting and child development expert at Southern Methodist University.
The results of the study showed that children who were disciplined via corporal punishment misbehaved again within 10 minutes of being reprimanded.
Thirty-three pairs of volunteer parents were equipped with audio recording devices and monitored for four to six evenings. Holden said that the recordings revealed very interesting information about the frequency and reason for spanking.
"From the audio, we heard parents hitting their children for the most extraordinarily mundane offenses, typically violations of social conventions," Holden said in a press release. "Also, corporal punishment wasn't being used as a last resort. On average, parents hit or spanked just half a minute after the conflict began."
Holden noted that parents acted impulsively and emotionally instead of calm and intentional with their punishments. The behavior broke three of the six guidelines used for disciplining children, as outlined by corporal punishment advocates: spanking infrequently, using spanking as a last resort, and using it only to punish major misbehavior.
The recordings also showed that parents sounded angry prior to spanking the children 49 percent of the time. It also took only an average of 30 seconds for the parents to escalate their discipline to spanking. Thirty of the 41 incidents resulted in the children misbehaving within 10 minutes of being spanked.
"Although spanking advocates may acknowledge these incidents as inappropriate use of corporal punishment, evidence indicates that mothers who report their child gets spanked are also more likely to report physical abuse of that child," the study said.
Spanking as punishment for children has been under scrutiny lately. In 2010, a study conducted by Tulane University and published in Pediatrics showed that children who were spanked regularly had more of a chance of being aggressive and act out more often in the long term.
A study published in 2013 in the same journal showed that children who were spanked at young ages developed aggression and language problems later on in life.
More about Spanking, Children, University of Texas, Austin, Behavior
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