Spanking our Children

In a recent interview the American Psychological Association had with parenting expert Alan Kazdin (PhD) he explained that spanking is not an effective discipline strategy to use. He says that it does not teach the child an alternative behavior and does not work in suppressing it for longer than the moment. According to his research the rate of the behavior does not decline, your child will repeat the behavior even if the punishment becomes more severe.

Most of us think: “I was spanked as a child, and I turned out ok.” Many people smoke for years without contracting lung cancer, they are exceptions. Dr. Kazden says that this does not refute the fact that cigarettes are harmful to your lungs.

“There is a good deal of research that has already been conducted that shows that anything beyond very mild physical punishment does not work in the long term and has negative consequences. While not all child development experts agree, my advice to parents is to avoid physical punishment altogether; there are simply more effective ways to teach and discipline your child.”

The alternative methods he suggests is using positive reinforcement as a discipline strategy. Positive reinforcement does not only focus on the “bad” behavior, but takes into consideration the events that go before the behavior as well as the consequences.

Dr. Kazden is quick to agree that he does not believe that all forms of physical punishment should be seen as abuse. Everything should be seen in context and severity and frequency should be taken into consideration before someone jumps to conclusions.

Read more about  Positive reinforement.