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A Call to End Use of Spanking to Discipline Children

an Op-ed by Rush Russell, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey

During the past week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an updated policy statement calling on parents to end spanking as a form of discipline. The Academy is an organization of 67,000 pediatricians nationwide committed to the optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Although studies are finding that fewer parents are using spanking to discipline their child, a Harris poll in 2013 found that 70% of parents supported a statement that “a good hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child.”

While many parents believe spanking is a harmless or even effective form of discipline, the research is becoming overwhelmingly clear that spanking is not only ineffective, but that it increases the child’s risk for an array of alarming and destructive outcomes…ones any parent hopes to avoid in raising their children.  Parents will also say they were spanked … and “turned out all right”.  But again the research paints a different picture.

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