However, that does not mean that spanking is an act of love or that there is such a thing as a “right way” to do it.
I even went to medical school and entered my training in pediatrics thinking that spanking was no big deal, just another part of my upbringing.
Then I read the data and learned a thing or two about the functioning of a child’s brain when it comes to punishment.
As it turns out, my loving parents took a gamble when they chose to use corporal punishment in my upbringing.
Raising a strong-willed child in Latin America in the 1980s and early ’90s, my parents did not have the wisdom of the past 20 years of medical research.
Critics of the data say the studies cannot possibly establish spanking as the cause of these, but association is as good as we are ever going to get.
Now, when I counsel families as a pediatrician, I talk about spanking as a risk factor and as an unnecessary gamble.
Spanking does not work in the long termLuckily for me, spanking wasn’t the only thing my parents did in their efforts to turn me into the woman I am today.
In speaking to my parents about it now, they say spanking was some sort of resolution, a tangible consequence to our misbehavior.
The goal is to teach, not to punishI believe that my parents, like the many parents who I’ve counseled on discipline as a pediatrician, wanted to teach me right from wrong when they spanked me.
Proponents of corporal punishment often paraphrase Proverbs 22:15 in the Bible: “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”
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