UMKC Professor: No Benefits to Spanking

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Parents of strong-willed children may disagree with Dr. Edward Christophersen, who advises against spanking. Christophersen is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine who believes spanking may do more harm than good.

A new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal analyzed 20 years of research and concluded that spanking causes aggressive behavior and may even lower a child’s intelligence.

Dr. Christophersen said parents who spank their children sometimes go overboard in a moment of frustration.

“What the research shows is that 75 percent of the time that kids are physically abused, the parents started out by spanking them, and it got out of hand,” he said.

Christophersen’s alternative is for parents to walk away from their children when they’re demonstrating unruly behavior. The idea is to ignore unacceptable behavior and to reward proper behavior.

Christophersen said some parents resort to yelling rather than spanking, which can be just as “injurious” to children.

More than 190 countries have ratified a United Nations treaty that protects children from “all forms of physical and mental violence” The only members of the UN who have not signed on are Somalia, Sudan and the United States.

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