Posts Tagged ‘ child discipline ’

Showing Love After Spanking Can Increase Your Child’s Anxiety

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Boy disciplinedIf a mother disciplines by spanking or hitting, and then tries to make up for it with extra love and affection, the warm gestures don’t actually help your child to feel better — or to forget.

Researchers from Duke University interviewed more than 1,000 children and their mothers from eight countries (the U.S., China, Thailand, the Philippines, Italy, Kenya, Jordan, Colombia) to determine the extent of physical punishment each child received and their tendency for anxiety and aggression.

The study results, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, revealed that even though kind gestures eased the stress of corporal punishment among children ages 8 to 10, aggression and anxiety still remained. In fact, the more loving a parent was after physical discipline, the more anxiety a child had. And not surprisingly, the more severe the punishment, the more severe aggression and anxiety increased.

No reason has been determined as to why maternal warmth doesn’t soothe a child, but one simple theory: “it’s too confusing and unnerving for a child to be hit hard and loved warmly all in the same home,” says Jennifer Lansford, research professor at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University. Mixed signals are confusing, so it doesn’t come as a shock that children respond poorly to contradictory behaviors from their mothers.

“If you believe that you can shake your children or slap them across the face and then smooth things over gradually by smothering them with love, you are mistaken,” said Dr. Lansford. “Being very warm with a child whom you hit in this manner rarely makes things better.”

No matter how angry you are, experts recommend non-physical forms of discipline in order to encourage good behavior in children.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

What Is Positive Discipline?
What Is Positive Discipline?
What Is Positive Discipline?

Image: Young boy via Shutterstock

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Spanking With “Dignity” Is Okay, Says the Pope

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Mother spanking daughterThe pope made headlines last month with his repeated support for breastfeeding moms, but now he’s in the news for a different reason: his (apparent) support for spanking done with dignity.

A recent papal address in St. Peter’s Square made waves when Pope Francis shared a story about a father’s physical discipline tactic. CNN reports:

“I once heard at a wedding a father say, ‘I sometimes have to hit my children a little but never in the face, so as to not demean them.’ How nice, I thought, he has a sense of dignity,” the Pope said.

“When he punishes, he does it right and moves on.”

“A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the bottom of his heart. Of course he can also discipline with a firm hand: he’s not weak, submissive, sentimental,” he said.

“This father knows how to discipline without demeaning; he knows how to protect without restraint.”

Much like the vaccines debate, the spanking debate is a touchy, ongoing topic — and Pope Francis’s remarks seem to fall into the “spare the rod, spoil the rod” side. What makes his comments surprising is that the United Nations recently recommended the Vatican prohibit corporal punishment toward child.

While some have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment, a Vatican spokesperson, Father Thomas Rosica, says the pope wasn’t supporting physical punishment so much as proper discipline. “Let us not read into the Pope’s words anything other than what is there. He speaks constantly of mercy and tenderness,” he said.

“The pope was obviously not speaking about committing violence or cruelty against a child but rather about ‘helping someone to grow and mature,’” reports The New York Times.

Which side do you fall in in the spanking debate?

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Discipline Without Spanking
Discipline Without Spanking
Discipline Without Spanking

Image: Mother spanking daughter via Shutterstock

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Kansas Bill Would Permit Spanking to the Point of Bruising

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

A Kansas lawmaker has proposed legislation that would make it legal for parents to spank children to the point that the strikes would be allowed to leave redness or bruising on the child.  (Update: On Feb. 20 the bill was killed before getting a hearing). More from The Associated Press:

Current Kansas law allows spanking that doesn’t leave marks. Rep. Gail Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, says he wants to allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and that could leave redness and bruising. The bill also would allow parents to give permission to others to spank their children.

It would continue to ban hitting a child with fists, in the head or body, or with a belt or switch.

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Discipline Without Spanking
Discipline Without Spanking
Discipline Without Spanking

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Canadian Medical Journal Calls for Ban on Spanking

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The editor of a prestigious Canadian medical journal has called for lawmakers in Canada to strike down a statute that protects spanking as a legal form of physical punishment that parents and teachers can apply to kids, The Globe and Mail reports. Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that a parent can use physical punishment “if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.”

“It is time for Canada to remove this anachronistic excuse for poor parenting from the statute book,” editor John Fletcher wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. But Fletcher also said an occasional spanking shouldn’t be treated like a criminal act. From The Globe and Mail:

“If the aim is to improve parenting,” he writes, “then calling the police is the wrong approach.”

Instead, he’s hoping to shift the focus to how ineffective spanking actually is.

“I’m not sure the message has got out that regular physical punishment isn’t a good way to get kids to behave properly and can lead to later problems,” he said in an interview. He defines regular physical punishment as more than two incidents a month.

This follows two recent studies that connected spanking to problems in children. One study, published this summer by the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that physical punishments, such slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving, were linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse in the children who were punished.


Image: Parents with son in trouble via Shutterstock.


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Study: Spanking Linked to Mood Disorders

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Children whose parents punish them with spanking or another physical means of discipline are more likely to suffer from emotional problems including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders, a new Canadian study has found.  From

Researchers from Canada found that physical punishment (such as slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving) — even without child neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse — was linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.

While it may be true that many of today’s parents were spanked as children and are now well-adjusted, previous studies have also shown that those who were spanked are at a higher risk to be depressed; use alcohol; hit their spouse or own children; and engage in violent or criminal behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society discourage spanking and other forms of physical punishment. It is unlawful in 32 countries — not including the United States or Canada — for parents and other caregivers to use physical punishment against children.

The new study’s lead author, Tracie Afifi, said she believes that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and that positive parenting strategies should instead be encouraged.

Preferred methods of discipline do not include physical punishment. For example, withholding privileges, using time-outs and offering consequences (for example, “If you throw your toy and it breaks, you won’t be able to play with it anymore”).

Image: Child being slapped, via Shutterstock.

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