Some parents spank their child not only to punish him or her but to change their child's behavior. But Alan E. Kazdin, John M. Musser professor of psychology at Yale University and director of Yale's Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, says spanking is not a very effective strategy.
It does not teach children new behaviours or what to do in place of the problem behavior, Dr. Kazdin added.
It is also not useful in suppressing the problematic behavior beyond the moment.
Research indicates the rate of misbehaviour does not decline, in fact, the problem behavior returns, even if the parent escalates the punishment, Dr. Kazdin says.
The task is to help children change their behavior, and physical punishment is not needed to accomplish that.
Developing positive opposite behaviours, i.e., the desired behaviours that the parent wants, is much more effective.