handsDisciplining your child is a necessary part of parenthood. The big debate, however, is how best to do that. As a mother myself, I don't plan to spank my son. Every kid is different and I don't think it's the ideal way to teach his particular personality right from wrong.

That said, I have always believed the choice is up to the parent. Some think it's the only way to keep their kids in line. Who am I to tell them differently? Though, new research may have fans of corporeal punishment rethinking whether spanking is a good idea at all.

Researchers secretly watched parents disciplining their children in public places like parks and restaurants. They found that in 23 percent of the cases, mom or dad resorted to "negative touch" (like hitting, pinching, restraining, or spanking) to get their kids to behave.

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The parents had no idea they were being watched by psychologists and researchers. Though, when parents knew they were being monitored, the way they dealt with an unruly child was completely different. "I have also seen hundreds of kids and their parents in a lab setting, and never once witnessed any of this behavior," said scientist Kathy Stansbury.

The conclusion was that pro-spankers change their behavior when they know they are under the microscope. My question is why? There are no laws against spanking (as long as you don't take things too far, of course). I know some will say they don't want to deal with the nasty looks. But if you really feel you have the right to spank and that you are doing what's best for your child, then why hold back?

There have certainly been a slew of studies suggesting that physical punishment can lead to more aggression in some kids, not to mention horrible long-term effects, like mental illness. Research also shows that "positive touch" (think hugs, pats, gentle guidance) was a more effective way to discipline. In fact, when kids are happier, they were more likely to comply. Perhaps deep down, these once die-hard fans of spanking feel that it's not the best method anymore. If you really thought it was the right thing to do, you would do it no matter where you were or who was watching, wouldn't you?

Would you spank in public? Why or why not?

 

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