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Gershoff went on to write definitively in 2013, “Spanking and Child Development: We Know Enough Now to Stop Hitting Our Children.”Temple is less direct: “The point of us doing this research isn’t to tell parents what to do,” he said, conjuring a libertarian-friendly approach to science.

“Parenting is difficult and stressful, and people don't like to be told how to do it.

At a larger scale, Temple believes one promising approach is school-based teaching of relationship skills.

He is involved with a program call the Fourth R (meaning relationships), which is dedicated to baking healthy adolescent relationships into the curriculum.

As much as two-thirds of abuse begins as an attempts to change children’s behavior, to “teach them a lesson.”Temple’s team at Texas isn’t the first to link spanking and later relationship violence, but it is the first to control for other forms of child abuse.

He was influenced by one of the pivotal works in spank-theory discourse, a 2002 meta-analysis by Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff (who is now also at the University of Texas, a geographically unlikely hotbed of resistance to corporal punishment).

“Corporal punishment,” as it’s known internationally, can feel too academic.)Many researchers tend to see corporal punishment and physical abuse as part of a continuum.Psychologist Alan Kazdin, the director of the Yale Parenting Center and former president of the American Psychological Association, has admonished that spanking is “a horrible thing that does not work.” It predicts later academic and health problems: Adults who were spanked as children “regularly die at a younger age of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.”If the fear of robbing one’s child of years of life were not enough, this month two more studies added to the pile finding that childhood spanking has negative effects on the people we later become.In the extremely depressing journal , researcher Julie Ma and colleagues found that spanking was associated with later aggressive behavior.“If a kid is having a temper tantrum and throwing things, and then next time they have a tantrum but don’t throw anything, say ‘I’m really glad you didn't throw anything.’”The other evidence-based approach he recommends is taking something positive away.For younger children, that can mean taking away a toy temporarily.

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