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New Study Shows Spanking Can Cause Long-Term Harm

What you can do when your child needs discipline
.Disciplining children

Many studies over the past twenty years have shown that spanking your child can lead to behavioral and emotional problems that can have long-term negative effects.  A study published earlier this year in the Canadian Medical Journal, in which the authors analyzed two decades of research, concluded that "virtually without exception, these studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses."  The study shows that the effects can range from higher levels of aggression, to depression to lowering IQ levels as well as being ineffective in changing behavior.  But what can parents do to discipline their child?  In a related story, the Boston Globe reports that “parents should act as positive role models, modeling behavior that they want their kids to mimic.”

All parents struggle with how to get their kids to listen to them, how to correct poor behavior and, of course, getting a teen to respect a parent’s authority often becomes a major struggle.  Kidshealth.org has suggestions for every age but says that consistency and follow-through is crucial as is respect and listening to your child.  Recommended discipline for younger children includes timeouts and age-appropriate consequences.  For older children and teens they advocate discussing rules and consequences with your children early on and when they break the rules, parents have an opportunity to help their children learn by following through on the consequences.

Here at ACS, we deal with these issues every day.  But here, we are supervising an average of 50 children and youth who have suffered the consequences of abuse and neglect.  Positive role modeling, respect, rewards and reasonable consequences are the hallmarks we use to help change the negative patterns they’ve learned. Click here for additional links and information.

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