New study shows that spanking kids could cause aggression, mental health issues

New study shows that spanking kids could cause aggression, mental health issues (File: SBG)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A new report said that spanking your children could actually cause them to behave in worse ways.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents against using corporal punishment, saying it could lead to more aggressive behavior or even mental health issues.

Instead, they encourage doctors to teach what they call "healthy forms of discipline."

Even though most people have different parents, they tend do the same thing when it comes to discipline

“She made me go stand in the corner, sit in the corner and then other times my mama would spank me. My dad too, when I misbehaved,” Dayton resident Rachel Steward said.

"Spanking or a slap on the wrist and stuff, but at a point, my father promised no more of that. We'll do time out, but there was still the threat of that happening,” Keegan Wooten said.

However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the quick fix of a quick pat on the behind could actually cause long term damage.

“Studies have shown that when we use corporal punishment, kids’ behavior, instead of getting better can actually result in greater aggression. There can also be more mental health issues down the line in the future,” Dr. Sarah Phillips, a psychologist with Dayton Children’s Hospital, said.

Dr. Phillips said after feeling physical pain from a parent, a child may never look at them the same way.

"We're not always going to see the effect of action right away. This could be something that's built up over time,” Phillips said.

Changing the way your child behaves requires more of a long-term strategy than the quick fix spanking. The best place to start is to make sure to give kids praise when they do behave.

"Positive reinforcement or rewards. So, having kids earn different privileges. If that doesn't work, then we would want to introduce consequences. For younger kids, time out is really effective,” Philips said.

A recent survey found 75 percent of parents believe in it as a form of punishment, and the new report didn't change the minds of the people we spoke to.

"I will spank my kids because I think if you don't, then they're going to be one of those bad kids that just fall out anywhere. They should know right from wrong,” Steward said.

Dr. Phillips said letting your child experience natural consequences can also be an effective form of discipline. For example, if you child refuses to finish their homework, don't do it for them. Instead, let them experience that failure so that they can then learn from it.

The legal line between discipline and abuse remains vague in the state of Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court has previously ruled that parents are allowed to use corporal punishment to discipline their children.

However, state law does prohibit doing so "in a cruel manner or for a period which is excessive and creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child"

It's also illegal to "repeatedly administer unwarranted disciplinary measures."

Several cases have been brought before the Ohio Supreme Court, which has had to decide when discipline is "warranted" or not.

Corporal punishment was also outlawed in Ohio schools in 2009.

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