Title

Physical punishment of children by US parents: moving beyond debate to promote children’s health and well-being

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2018

Keywords

Cultural norms, Human rights, Physical punishment, Spanking

Abstract

Physical punishment remains a common practice in the USA despite significant empirical evidence of its potential harm and ineffectiveness, arguments that its use violates children’s human rights, and professional recommendations against its use. The purpose of the current paper is to offer explanations as to why, in the face of a worldwide movement to protect children from violence, the USA continues to support physical punishment of children. The paper also summarizes the various debates engaged in by experts that stem from these explanations for physical punishment and argue that the time has come to move beyond these debates and eliminate the physical punishment of children. We offer suggestions for changing attitudes and practices related to physical punishment of children in order to promote their health and well-being. We conclude by suggesting that the burden of proof in debates about physical punishment, which has typically fallen upon those who argue children should never be physically punished, should shift to those who continue to promote its use despite evidence of its harm and ineffectiveness.

Publication Title

Psicologia: Reflexao e Critica

ISSN

01027972

E-ISSN

16787153

Volume

31

Issue

1

DOI

10.1186/s41155-018-0096-x

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