Nineteen states allow public schools to use corporal punishment to discipline students
in preschool through 12thgrade.
Furthermore, 76% of men and 65% of women agree that sometimes it’s necessary to give
a child “a good, hard spanking” as a form of punishment, according to a 2015 survey
conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
“The argument that parents always throw out is ‘This is what happened to me and I
turned out OK, so this is going to be how I’m going to discipline my child,’” said
Ryan D. Brown, M.D., FAAP, who is board certified in child abuse pediatrics and is
a member of the AAP Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.
Dr. Brown will discuss how to counter that argument and educate parents on the use
of other forms of discipline during a session titled “Creating Safe Places: A Look
at Corporal Punishment and No Hit Zones (F3099)” from 3-3:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5,
in room W304GH of the convention center.
Spanking may stop a child’s bad behavior in the short term, Dr. Brown said. However,
pediatricians can talk with parents about how physical punishment can cause long-term
problems and offer alternative approaches to discipline that go beyond the ubiquitous
time out. Dr. Brown will provide some strategies based on a child’s development.
“It’s really about education,” said Dr. Brown, associate clinical professor, University
of Oklahoma College of Medicine/The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center.
Dr. Brown also will discuss No Hit Zones, a concept created in 2005 by Lolita M. McDavid,
M.D., FAAP, to promote healthy relationships and safe environments in pediatric hospitals.
Since then, No Hit Zones have expanded to other settings where hitting is not tolerated
as a form of child punishment, during sibling conflicts or between adults. Instead,
No Hit Zones promote prevention, support during early signs of distress and positive
ways to handle conflict.
When it comes to corporal punishment, Dr. Brown says times must change.
“I don’t think we’re getting softer,” he said, “I think we’re getting smarter with