Studies that define spanking as “an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities” (a definition excluding harsher forms of discipline in an effort to “weed out” the impact of more severe abuse) suggests that spanking doesn’t work. Based on five decades (50 years) of research, these studies found “the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems, and cognitive difficulties.” The more spanking was used as a discipline tool, the higher the rate of aggression, mental health issues, and cognitive difficulties exhibited by the child receiving the discipline. In other words, spanking did not result in a long-term behavioral improvement. If spanking does not produce better behavior, what can a parent do to promote more positive behavior as their children mature? That’s the question I hope to address, at least in part, throughout this book. Beginning with the first step in discipline and moving toward the village needed for successful discipline, this workbook will help you discover ways to address negative behaviors and nurture positive behaviors to replace them. You will learn the reasons children misbehave, how development impacts discipline, the need for structure, and some powerful discipline tools you can use to nurture appropriate behaviors.
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