In his April 23 column, Executive Editor John Drescher quoted the parenting guru and columnist John Rosemond’s claim that spanking is good for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association don’t agree. To quote the AAP: Because of the negative consequences of spanking and because it has been demonstrated to be no more effective than other approaches for managing undesired behavior in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents be encouraged in developing methods other than spanking in response to undesired behavior.

Also, a task force appointed by the American Psychological Association concluded that “parents should reduce and potentially eliminate their use of any physical punishment as a disciplinary measure.” The group of 15 experts in child development and psychology found correlations between physical punishment and an increase in childhood anxiety and depression, and an increase in behavioral problems including aggression.

Finally, in a meta-analysis by Columbia University psychologist Elizabeth Gershoff of 88 studies of 36,309 children, significant associations were found between corporal punishment and 11 outcomes, including poorer moral internalization, quality of relationship with parents and mental health. Moreover, none of the meta-analyses identified correlations between corporal punishment and positive long-term child outcomes, contrary to Rosemond’s claim.

Stephen Norton, Ph.D., Cary

Source: News & Observer –