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Does Spanking Lead to Trouble Later?

Early Spanking May Increase Chances of Problem Behavior
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Spanking: Good Child Discipline, or Bad?

Spanking in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, Slade concludes. But one has to be careful.

"Spanking has the power to change a child's perception of the parent," he says. "Even in young children, spanking may change how children walk away from the experience of discipline. A lot depends on whether it is fair, whether it is consistently applied, and whether children are left with a strong sense of emotional security with their parents."

Spanking out of anger, rather than out of concern for a child, is never a good idea, Banks says.

"All parents resort to spanking on some occasions, and often we are horrified by our own actions," he says. "The important thing is to demonstrate you still have affection for your child. Make them understand that their behavior was incorrect, but this does not make them bad children. If you spank children and then ignore them, it takes away your credibility as a loving parent. But you don't want to spank and then hug, because that confuses them. It is a delicate situation."

Banks says one old lie should be put to rest. Spanking really does hurt the child worse than it hurts the parent. He urges parents to seek alternative forms of child discipline.

"No one is a perfect parent. Even we so-called experts face challenges when disciplining our children," he says. "You have to find what technique works best for you and for your children, but showing your love and affection toward the child is critical for any form of discipline to work. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them. Work at improving your techniques and adapting them as your child ages."

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