Parents tempted to treat Junior's misbehavior with a lashing from a tree switch out back or Dad's leather belt are being urged to think again.
A study released today by doctors at UNC-Chapel Hill finds that parents who spank their children with an object — such as a belt, switch or paddle — are nine times more likely to abuse their child through more severe means.
Also, parents are much more likely to beat, burn or shake their children if they spank frequently, according to the study, which is being published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
"Parents get angry when they're spanking, and it's not working," said Adam Zolotor, lead author of the study and a pediatrician at UNC-CH's Department of Family Health. "If a child gets spanked so often, they just don't care anymore and will misbehave anyway."
It's the latest finding in a growing body of research suggesting that parents should use their voices, not their hands or household tools, to keep children in line. This study rests on anonymous admissions of 1,435 mothers of children from North and South Carolina randomly selected to share details of the discipline they and other caregivers use in the privacy of their homes.
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