Think Before You Spank

By Health Day

Some parents see spanking as a way to stop troublesome behavior in their kids but this type of punishment may actually have the opposite effect.

Although spanking has become less common in the United States in recent decades, plenty of parents still think it's OK.

Researchers looked at 20 years' worth of studies on the effects of this controversial form of discipline. Evidence shows that kids who are spanked act more aggressively toward their parents, siblings, and classmates. Spanking may also make kids more likely to be aggressive later in life toward their spouses.

The researchers found that physical punishment may make these children more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to find other ways to change their kids' behavior besides spanking. These experts recommend that parents instead:

* Praise kids when they make good choices

* Give time-outs to young children when they're misbehaving. Time-outs can be very effective, but they may take a while to start working.

* And discipline older kids and teens by taking away privileges like the television or car.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.

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