Doctors: Spanking may affect 'normal brain development'

Pediatrics Group to Parents: No Spanking, Yelling

Pediatricians Just Took a Hard Stance Against Spanking

"If you have questions about disciplining your children, talk with your pediatrician", it advises.Pediatricians will nearly always recommend discipline that does not include hitting children, or forcing them to eat spices, washing their mouths out with soap or other abusive punishments.

We can do better."Verbal abuse and humiliation is also counterproductive, the pediatrics group said."Parents, other caregivers, and adults interacting with children and adolescents should not use corporal punishment (including hitting and spanking), either in anger or as a punishment for or effect of misbehavior, nor should they use any disciplinary strategy, including verbal abuse, that causes shame or humiliation", the group says in the updated guidelines."Within a few minutes, children are often back to their original behavior".

The academy also takes issue with verbal abuse, saying both acts can elevate stress hormones, disrupt normal brain development and has shown to be ineffective in teaching a child responsibility and self-control.

This statement is an update of guidance from 1998 that also called for non-physical responses to undesired behavior. Those include giving positive reinforcement, setting expectations and limits.

"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.

There are some 30 nations around the world where authorities have banned spanking children - entirely. Advocates in Canada have been calling for a repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code for years. Story continues below video. "It certainly doesn't teach children self-regulation", Sege told NBC. Sege said there are other forms of discipline that parents can employ, no matter their child's age.

Only teachers, caregivers and parents may apply this force, but school boards have banned teachers from hitting children, the department noted. A different study found that within 10 minutes of a spanking, 73 percent of children resumed the behavior for which they'd been punished. A bill to repeal the law is before committee after its second reading.

"Children who experience repeated use of corporal punishment tend to develop more aggressive behaviors, increased aggression in school and an increased risk of mental health disorders and cognitive problems", Dr. Robert Sege, one of the authors of the guidelines, said in a statement.

The academy also warns against harsh verbal abuse including shaming kids, citing research linking it with depression and behavior problems in teens.

Parents can use that relationship to teach their children right from wrong without inserting violence, shame and humiliation into that relationship.

"If you discipline your child with respect and make sure that it's consistent and fair, you'll have lasting positive effects", CPS said on its website.

"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.

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