ERIC Number: ED405139
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
The Debate over Spanking. ERIC Digest.
This digest explores some of the reasons for spanking, examines its effectiveness, and suggests alternative discipline methods. Many parents believe that spanking will teach children not to do things that are forbidden, stop them quickly when they are being irritating, and encourage them to do what they should. Others believe nonphysical forms of discipline are ineffective. Research suggests, however, that spanking does not lead to improved behavior and that children feel resentful, humiliated, and helpless after being spanked. Research also indicates that spanking may have potentially harmful long-term effects, such as increased aggression, violent behavior, impaired learning, and depression. To be effective, discipline should be age appropriate. Suggestions for parents of infants include: (1) grasping an infant's hand instead of slapping; (2) trading a toy rather than forcing an object from the infant; (3) baby-proofing your living space; and (4) leaving the room when your temper flares (after making sure the baby is in a safe place). Suggestions for parents of toddlers include: (1) making sure the environment is safe; (2) avoiding direct clashes with the toddler; (3) using your size and strength to eliminate situations; and (4) diverting a slap to your knee rather than hitting the child. Suggestions for parents of older children include: (1) clapping your hands loudly to interrupt unacceptable behavior; (2) grasping a child's arms firmly, crouching down to his or her level, and talking calmly; (3) controlling your anger by walking away or calling a friend; (4) making sure the punishment is logically related to the incident; and (5) introducing the appropriate use of time-out. Suggestions for all ages include: (1) supporting good behavior; (2) announcing clear, simple family rules; (3) understanding the feelings behind a child's actions; and (4) talking with your children if you decide to abandon spanking and try a different discipline method. (LPP)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Guides - Non-Classroom; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.