HARRISBURG, Penn. - Physical punishment of children increases the chances of mood, anxiety and personality disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse in adulthood, according to a study in the latest Journal of Pediatrics.
"It's not going to be beneficial to the child, or to the parent, for them to use any kind of physical force. So, we would not recommend people hitting children."
Many parents, Scott acknowledges, still see spanking as an effective way of discouraging misbehavior.
"There are times where people feel like, 'Oh, that's ridiculous. I was raised - my parents spanked me, you know, I should be able to spank my child.' But we also know - we see children who have been harmed by adults, and it can lead to trauma."
The alternative, according to some parenting authorities, is talk - talking to a child, both before and after they engage in behavior that is not approved. In Pennsylvania, the group Strengthening Families works to prevent child abuse by giving parents a five-point framework to use with their kids, an approach that is effective - even under stress.