Doctors have warned parents NOT to smack their kids as it makes behaviour worse and can cause long-term damage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said on Monday parnets should never smack their children, in its most strongly worded policy statement warning against the harmful effects of corporal punishment in the home.

The group has also recommended that pediatricians advise parents against the use of spanking, which it defined as “noninjurious, openhanded hitting with the intention of modifying child behavior,” and said to avoid using nonphysical punishment that is humiliating, scary or threatening.

“One of the most important relationships we all have is the relationship between ourselves and our parents, and it makes sense to eliminate or limit fear and violence in that loving relationship,” said Dr. Robert D. Sege, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, and one of the authors of the statement.

The academy’s new policy, which will be published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics, updates 20-year-old guidance on discipline that recommended parents be “encouraged” not to spank. The organization’s latest statement stems from a body of research that was unavailable two decades ago.

Recent studies have also shown that corporal punishment is associated with increased aggression and makes it more likely that children will be defiant in the future. Spanking alone is associated with outcomes similar to those of children who experience physical abuse, the new academy statement says.

The 30 countries with full bans on corporal punishment (which apply to schools and homes) experienced 69 percent lower rates of physical fighting among adolescent males and 42 percent less for females.

Germany, Spain, Brazil, Ukraine and New Zealand are among the countries with full bans.

Inside countries with partial bans (in schools only), females showed a 56 percent lower rate of physical fighting. There was no change among males. Partial-ban countries include the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

“All we can say, at this point, is that countries that prohibit the use of corporal punishment are less violent for children to grow up in than countries that do not,” said Frank Elgar, lead study author and associate professor of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal.

A discussion on TODAY Facebook page found fans in total disagreeance saying a smack on the bum never hurt anyone!

Where do you stand on the smacking debate?


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  • I gave one of mine a “soft” smack to prove that it hurts. One of my children was hitting (smacking) his sister regularly and didn’t believe it hurt, even after several explanations and warnings. I think he got more of a shock than I hurt him. I don’t think he believed my warnings. I didn’t hit him in temper or yell at him.


  • I agree with this advice, there are different / better ways to teach our children.


  • Never smacked and never ever will – do not agree with smacking and of course it causes problems.


  • I thought I would never be one to smack my children but I have resorted to it after all other avenues have been exhausted.


  • We were smacked as children and had our hand squeezed in public. I haven’t done so with my own family. But Parker hasn’t done anything too bad.


  • I think it’s to be avoided.


  • I agree with this. It only teaches them they can do it to others and it’s wrong and harmful

    • Exactly! Fundamentally – it is wrong!


  • I am against hitting spanking and anything like that there are other ways to deal with situations


  • I am completely against spanking! I never did it to my daughter.
    I was spanked a lot as a child and it was terrible. I felt so defenseless.


  • I don’t like smacking but I can’t stand advice that has a list of don’ts and no positive constructive information on what people should be doing.


  • I don’t like smacking my kids, but I have done it in the rare occasion, and felt awful for it after. I tried to avoid smacking as much as possible. I always felt like a hypocrite saying “don’t hit your sister/brother” and then giving them a smack. It never felt right


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