- See this adorable five-month-old baby cuddle with her unexpected best friend, a pet sloth called Daisy
- German magazine under fire for 'misleading' cover showing Michael Schumacher and the headline 'He sits in the sun', months after similar front page with 'Awake!' headline
- New Jersey couple sue Philadelphia Little League
- Stylist to Miss Honduras beauty queen - who was shot dead alongside her sister last week - is found stabbed to death in his bath
- Cruel couple who kept 109 rabbits in squalid conditions at their home told inspectors they were 'like alcoholics but with pets'
- Briton who flew to Kenya to live with a girl he met on Facebook is arrested for her murder after 'flushing her diabetic medicine down the toilet' and her condition killed her
- Cricket Australia XI match against India cancelled after the death of Phillip Hughes
- Darren Wilson's gun was NOT tested for Michael Brown's fingerprints, and officer was able to wash blood from his hands: Probe's serious errors exposed in grand jury files
- Cameron's pledge to cut net migration lies in tatters as figure soars to 260,000
- Drunk rugby coach crashed his car while dressed as Rihanna 'then sped off because he was embarrassed'
Can Spanking Make You Mentally Ill?
More from Health
- Kate's sadness over death of 12-year-old cancer boy she met as his mother reveals how her son was inspired by personal letters from princess
- Vitamin B Supplements May Reduce Stroke Risk
- Sensor-Augmented Insulin Pump Therapy Reduces Rate of Severe Hypoglycemic Events
- Alcohol Doesn't Cause Depression
- New Scan May Diagnose Alzheimer's as Brain Changes Occur
Parents often ask me whether spanking is really so bad. After all, they were spanked as kids and they turned out fine. Plus, it's the only thing that will get their child to listen, they say.
Much research has focused on the effects that severe child abuse can have on a person's mental well-being. But a new study published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics takes a look at the possible link between mental health disorders and harsh physical punishment in the absence of abuse. The findings may persuade parents not to spank at all.
Researchers from Canada found that physical punishment (such as slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving) -- even without child neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse -- was linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.
While it may be true that many of today's parents were spanked as children and are now well-adjusted, previous studies have also shown that those who were spanked are at a higher risk to be depressed; use alcohol; hit their spouse or own children; and engage in violent or criminal behaviors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society discourage spanking and other forms of physical punishment. It is unlawful in 32 countries -- not including the United States or Canada -- for parents and other caregivers to use physical punishment against children.
The new study's lead author, Tracie Afifi, said she believes that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and that positive parenting strategies should instead be encouraged.
Preferred methods of discipline do not include physical punishment. For example, withholding privileges, using time-outs and offering consequences (for example, "If you throw your toy and it breaks, you won't be able to play with it anymore").
Dr. Howard Bennett, a pediatrician in Washington and clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine, recommends praising children when they are behaving well and using time-outs or a process called "time off," in which the child must go to another part of the house for as long as it takes to stop the offending behavior and behave normally again.
What are your thoughts on spanking? If you are a parent who uses spanking for discipline, will this study change your mind? Where do you draw the line between physical discipline and abuse?