American Academy of Pediatrics: Spanking Doesn’t Work and Causes Mental-Health Problems

The American Academy of Pediatrics—the country’s leading group of experts on childrens’ health—has updated its policy on spanking, laying out evidence that shows it doesn’t work and causes long-term mental-health problems. In a paper published Monday, the group calls on parents to stop physically punishing children and use techniques such as positive reinforcement and setting limits. It says that new evidence shows that spanking leads to “increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children” and doesn't improve behavior in the long term. “The AAP recommends that adults caring for children use healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits, redirecting, and setting future expectations,” said the paper. “The AAP recommends that parents do not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating, or shaming.”