American Academy of Pediatrics warns against using corporal punishment

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The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a revised policy on Monday regarding the use of corporal punishment.

The AAP had already condemned the use of corporal punishment, and now cites a new study linking corporal punishment to “an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial and emotional outcomes for children.” 

A recent survey of 787 pediatricians in the United States found that only 6 percent of responding doctors had a positive feeling towards the use of corporal punishment. Only 2.5 percent expected a positive outcome for a child when corporal punishment is used.

The AAP recommends that parents do not spank, hit, slap, threaten, insult, humiliate or shame to discipline their children. Research has shown that striking children, yelling at them or shaming can elevate stress hormones and lead to changes in the brain’s architecture. Harsh verbal abuse also is linked to mental health problems in preteens and adolescents.

The AAP instead encourages parents to reinforce appropriate behaviors, set limits, redirect children and set expectations.

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