Pediatrics Group to Parents: No Spanking, Yelling

Pediatrician group calls for a ban on spanking

It also now says that "harsh verbal discipline", including shaming and humiliation, is harmful to a child's developing brain.

Along with affecting brain development, spanking and verbal punishment can increase aggression in children in the long run and do not teach them responsibility and self-control.

Instead, the AAP recommends that parents practice "healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits, redirecting, and setting future expectations", the new policy statement said.

"In the 20 years since that policy was first published, there's been a great deal of additional research", he told CNN, "and we're now much stronger in saying that parents should never hit their child and never use verbal insults that would humiliate or shame the child".

The group, which represents about 67,000 doctors, also recommended that paediatricians advise parents against the use of spanking and said to avoid using nonphysical punishment that is humiliating, scary or threatening.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on disciplining children. In one study, young children who were spanked more than twice a month at age 3 were more aggressive at age 5.

Sege added: "There's no benefit to spanking".

"What we talk to parents about is paying attention to your child's good behavior and paying less attention when they're misbehaving", Sege said.

For Elizabeth Gershoff - a leading researcher into physical punishment at the University of Texas at Austin, which reviewed 50 years of research on spanking for a 2016 meta-analysis - the scientific evidence against corporal punishment is clear.

That held even when parents were otherwise warm and loving.

According to the AAP, spanking does not lead to improved behavior over time. "Parents who suffer from depression tended to use corporal punishment more frequently. In addition, family economic challenges, mental health problems, intimate partner violence and substance abuse all are associated with increased reliance on corporal punishment", Sege said.

So what is the best way to discipline children?

"One small report suggested that parents who themselves have a history of trauma are more likely to use corporal punishment than other parents".

"There are a number of approaches to discipline that pediatricians may discuss with parents during well-child visits and those visits that are created to address discipline issues".

"So yes, there is probably some truth to the idea that kids who are predisposed to misbehavior for whatever reason are more likely to be spanked by parents who use that form of discipline than kids who are less likely to misbehave for whatever reason", she said. Only 6 percent of the 787 United States pediatricians surveyed in 2016 approved of spanking, and only 2.5 percent actually expected it to do any good.

And this new policy from the American Academy of Pediatricians reviewed a deluge of studies that suggest spanking is ineffective or damaging.

Maggie Fox is senior writer for NBC News and TODAY, writing top news on health policy, science, medical treatments and disease.

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