Report: The Use of Spanking Has Drastically Decreased Since 1988

If you’re accustomed to seeing small children get timeouts as a form of discipline these days, it’s not surprising. A review of four studies looking at kindergarten-aged children between 1988 and 2011 shows that parents have been resorting to spanking and hitting to a much lesser degree than in the past. In fact, according to research done by Rebecca Ryan, an associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University, “the number of mothers with an average income level who considered physical discipline acceptable decreased from 46 percent to 21 percent over two decades.”

While parents in higher socio-economic brackets reported using physical discipline less than those with lower incomes, mothers and fathers across all income brackets have been shown to decrease hitting and increase positive forms of discipline such as timeouts and reasoning.

According to an article in Health Day,

“Parents seem to be using more reasoning and nonphysical discipline strategies with children, which is in line with what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 1998,” said lead researcher Rebecca Ryan.

…The study authors suggest that the publication of a policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the middle of the study period may have accelerated the declining rates, Feldman said.

“It is hard from these survey data, however, to determine the cause of the trend,” she said.

The downward trend of physical tactics to discipline children is great, since positive discipline has been shown to work better and can potentially improve parent-child relationships.

PJ Media has created a handy infographic with more statistics about the prevalence of spanking in the U.S. Click on the link below: