Effective discipline involves practicing empathy and “understanding how to treat your child in different stages in development to teach them how to cool down when things do get explosive,” said Dr. Vincent J. Palusci, a child abuse pediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at N.Y.U. Langone.
The academy’s parenting website, HealthyChildren.org, offers tips for disciplining younger and older children. Rewarding positive behavior, using timeouts and establishing a clear relationship between behavior and consequences can all be effective strategies.
“We can’t just take away spanking,” Dr. Palusci said. “We have to give parents something to replace it with.”
The number of parents who spank their children has been on the decline. A 2013 Harris Poll of 2,286 adults surveyed online found 67 percent of parents said they had spanked their children and 33 percent had not. In 1995, however, 80 percent of parents said they had spanked their children while 19 percent said they had not.
Attitudes about spanking are also changing. Although seven in 10 adults in the United States agreed a “good, hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child,” according to the 2014 General Social Survey, spanking has become less popular over time.
In 1970, Fitzhugh Dodson, a clinical psychologist and best-selling author of books on parenting, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that many discipline problems could be solved by using his “pow wow approach.”
“It’s my pow, followed by his wow,” he explained, demonstrating how he would swat a child’s bottom.
“I know some books say parents shouldn’t spank, but I think it’s a mistake,” he said. “A poor mother is left with nowhere to go. She’s mad at the kid, has had it up to the eyebrows with him, and longs to give him a big smack on the behind, but she’s been told she shouldn’t. She should, and it’s good for her, because it releases her tension. And the child definitely prefers it to long parental harangues.”
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.