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Study: Spanking May Do More Harm than Good

March 13, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota parents who struggle with difficult behavior in their children may cause more harm than good by resorting to spanking. Clinical psychologist Edward Christophersen says a new report, appearing in the Canadian Medical Association's Journal, that analyzed 20 years of research concluded that spanking can cause aggressive behavior and may even lower a child's intelligence.

"What the research shows is that 75 percent of the time that kids are physically abused, the parents started out by spanking them, and it got out of hand."

Dr. Christophersen says spanking is not as commonplace as it used to be. He notes, however, that many people still need better parenting skills.

"A lot of families have stopped hitting their kids and they're substituting yelling at them. And I'm not so sure that yelling at them isn't just as injurious."

Dr. Christophersen says when your children get on your nerves, it's best to make sure they are safe and walk away from them, adding that it's all about giving them the right kind of attention.

"Pay attention to the behavior we want to see more of, and ignore the behavior we want to see less of."

Researchers for the study say that because spanking can harm children, doctors should be counseling parents against it. Other people contend that no one should interfere with the way parents discipline their children.

See the Canadian study at tinyurl.com/74la5tg

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND