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Risk of Physical Abuse

Does Spanking Lead a Parent to Use Physical Abuse?

Does the decision to use disciplinary spanking with a young child increase a parent’s risk of physically abusing the child?  There is compelling evidence against such a link.

There is no evidence that disciplinary spanking and violent physical child abuse are on the same continuum.  There is evidence that the planned and balanced use of spanking can improve child behavior and thereby reduce moments of parental exasperation.  Parents who abuse their children have pathological personality characteristics and don’t fit the scenario of a loving parent whose spanking “got out of hand.”  With parenting, it is the “user” and how the disciplinary measure is used that determines its outcome.

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