Canadian Children's Rights Council
Conseil canadien des droits des enfants
Spanking Studies - Corporal Punishment

ABC News USA - Spanking children Leads to aggression

Spanking May Lead to Aggression Later in Life

ABC TV, USA, By MICHAEL SMITH, Staff Writer, 07 February, 2012

Physical punishment of children, such as spanking, is increasingly linked with long-term adverse consequences, researchers wrote.

An analysis of research conducted since the 1990 adoption of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests that no studies have found positive consequences of physical punishment, according to Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and Ron Ensom of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

While some studies have found little effect either way, most research has uncovered a range of negative outcomes, including increased aggression and later delinquency, Durrant and Ensom wrote online in CMAJ.

The clinical implication, they suggested, is that doctors who are familiar with the research can help parents find more constructive ways of providing discipline.

"In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent-child relationships at the population level," they wrote.

They noted that as recently as 1992, physical punishment of children was widely accepted, thought of as distinct from abuse, and considered "appropriate" as a way of eliciting desired behavior.

But research under way at that time was beginning to draw links between physical punishment and aggression in childhood, later delinquency, and spousal assault.

One important question was the direction of causality: Did aggressive, difficult children get punished or did punishment lead to aggression?

Large prospective studies in the mid- to-late 1990s, controlling for children's antisocial behavior and a host of other possible confounders, showed that physical punishment predicted later antisocial behavior.

And in a randomized trial of an intervention designed to reduce difficult behavior, parents were trained to reduce the use of physical punishment. The parental behavior changes were paralleled by a significant drop in difficult behavior in the children, Durrant and Ensom noted.

Later research showed associations between physical punishment and mental health, the risk of physical injury, poor parent-child relationships, and family violence in adulthood, they added.

Physical punishment has been linked with a variety of psychiatric disorders in children and adults, including depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse. More recent research suggests physical punishment slows cognitive development and hampers academic achievement.

As well, neuroimaging research suggests physical punishment actually reduces the volume of grey matter in regions associated with performance on intelligence tests, as well as causing alterations in dopaminergic regions linked to drug and alcohol abuse.

The mounting research has led professional organizations to look askance at physical punishment. The Canadian Pediatric Society, Durrant and Ensom noted, "strongly discourages" it, while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says "corporal punishment is of limited effectiveness and has potentially deleterious side effects."

The AAP recommends that physicians encourage parents to find other ways of maintaining discipline.

"Physicians have a primary responsibility for translating research and evidence into guidance for parents and children," the researchers concluded, "and they are credible and influential voices for advancing public education and policy concerning population health."

They can educate parents on what childhood behaviors are typical, suggest different approaches, and, if needed, refer patients to programs that will help them improve parenting skills.

Psychology Today

How Spanking Harms the Brain

Why spanking should be outlawed.

Psychology Today,  February 12, 2012,  by Molly S. Castelloe, Ph.D. in The Me in We

Spanking erodes developmental growth in children and decreases a child's IQ, a recent Canadian study shows.

This analysis, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, offers new evidence that corporal punishment causes cognitive impairment and long-term developmental difficulties.

Debates around physical punishment typically revolve around the ethics of using violence to enforce discipline. This inquiry synthesized 20 years of published research on the topic and aims to "shift the ethical debate over corporal punishment into the medical sphere," says Joan Durant, a professor at University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the study.

According to the report, spanking may reduce the brain's grey matter, the connective tissue between brain cells. Grey matter is an integral part of the central nervous system and influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions and memory. Additional research supports the hypothesis that children and adolescents subjected to child abuse and neglect have less grey matter than children who have not been ill-treated. Read More ..

Don't Spank

Canadian Paediatric Society - Spanking

Don't Spank - Canadian Paediatric Society

Effective discipline for children

Reaffirmed: February 1, 2014

Principal author(s)

P Nieman, S Shea; Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee

Paediatric Child Health 2004;9(1):37-41

The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skill - to teach. However, it is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.

In medical and secular literature, there is great diversity of opinion about the short-term and long-term effects of various disciplinary methods, especially the use of disciplinary spanking. This statement reviews the issues concerning childhood discipline and offers practical guidelines for physicians to use in counselling parents about effective discipline.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that physicians take an anticipatory approach to discipline, including asking questions about techniques used in the home. Physicians should actively counsel parents about discipline and should strongly discourage the use of spanking. Read More ..

Corporal Punishment Damaging to Children

ABC News USA - Spanking children Leads to aggression

Spanking May Lead to Aggression Later in Life

ABC TV, USA
07 February, 2012

Physical punishment of children, such as spanking, is increasingly linked with long-term adverse consequences, researchers wrote.

An analysis of research conducted since the 1990 adoption of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests that no studies have found positive consequences of physical punishment, according to Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and Ron Ensom of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

While some studies have found little effect either way, most research has uncovered a range of negative outcomes, including increased aggression and later delinquency, Durrant and Ensom wrote online in CMAJ.

The clinical implication, they suggested, is that doctors who are familiar with the research can help parents find more constructive ways of providing discipline.

"In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent-child relationships at the population level," they wrote.

They noted that as recently as 1992, physical punishment of children was widely accepted, thought of as distinct from abuse, and considered "appropriate" as a way of eliciting desired behavior.

But research under way at that time was beginning to draw links between physical punishment and aggression in childhood, later delinquency, and spousal assault.   Read More ..

Picture Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada -
Cour suprême du Canada

Corporal Punishment of Children Decision

Read More ..

Alyson Schafer - parent educator - corporal punishment of children and discipline

Alyson Schafer on Spanking and Corporal Punishment of Children

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada's leading parenting experts. She's the author of the best-selling "Breaking the Good Mom Myth" (Wiley, 2006) and host of TV's The Parenting Show a live call-in show in Toronto, Ontario.

The media relies on Alyson's comments and opinions. you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Readers' Digest, Canadian Living, Today's Parents, and Canadian Families.

You can read Alyson's thoughts. Read More ..

Laws on Corporal Punishment of Children from around the World

CTV - Parent education - Parenting style can change child behaviour

Parenting style can change child behaviour

CTV.ca News Staff, February 21, 2005

Parents who are punitive tend to have aggressive children. But a new survey suggests that when parenting practices change, a child's behaviour also changes.

The results of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) suggests children show higher levels of aggression, are more anxious and less altruistic when parents have a more punitive parenting style.