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Whether one approaches parenting from a large-scale family climate perspective or a more fine-detail, parent-child interaction perspective, how to discipline children remains one of the most frequently asked questions from behavioral scientists and parents alike. Specifically, is physical punishment effective, and even if it is, is it damaging to children? A wealth of research indicates that physical punishment yields obedience out of fear, which quickly translates into transgressions when the fear is alleviated. That is, children do not continue to obey when the threat of punishment is lifted. Children are, however, likely to incorporate parents' rules into their normal repertoire of behavior when they have been consistently rewarded for their good behaviors. Reasoning, rather than punishment, has yielded effective socialization outcomes. Further, minor physical discipline such as spanking a child's buttocks in a controlled manner with an open hand is associated with higher levels of bullying aggression displayed by kindergartners as well as noncompliance among young children. Children learn what they live, and spanking clearly does not promote prosocial development based on current research knowledge.

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6Parenting - Who Is Socializing U.s. Children?, Qualitative Aspects Of Parenting, Parenting Style, Parent-child Interaction - Quantitative Aspects of Parenting