iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new policy guidelines on parenting actions they call corporal punishment.
The association dedicated to children's health is making it clear they are against hitting and spanking as a means of discipline.
AAP highlights data which shows that this form of corporal punishment can lead to aggressive behavior in children and can damage the parent-child relationship, both short term and long term. There can be negative impacts on vocabulary, IQ, cognitive development and an increased risk of mental health disorders, the data also shows.
When disciplinary actions are necessary, parents should ask themselves several questions, says ABC News' Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Those questions are:
1. What is your short term goal?
2. What is your long term goal?
3. Why are you doing it?
4. What are you trying to teach?
"When they say the goal of parental discipline is to teach responsibility and self-control," Dr. Ashton says, "[parents must ask] does hitting, spanking, corporal punishment do that?"
Dr. Ashton says the issue with corporal punishment is that it can reflect both what is going on internally for the parent, as well as situationally what is going on with the child.
Dr. Ashton offers the following tips for parents, regarding child discipline:
"If you find that it's getting out of control, talk to a professional, a social worker," she says. "Take a time out — not just for your child, but for yourself — and really focus on the bigger issues. [Ask] what you're trying to show [your child] and take steps to lower your stress, because that may be all you need."
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