BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are endless debates pertaining to how to best discipline children.

But a new study, published in Developmental Psychology, has found that spanking them can potentially have negative effects years down the line.

The study was conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia.

From Science Daily:

[The] team analyzed data from 1,840 mothers and children enrolled in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project. All participating families were at or below the federal poverty level and identified as either European American or African American. Information was collected when children were approximately 15 months old, 25 months old and in the fifth grade. Researchers used surveys of mothers and children, home visits and interviews with fifth grade teachers to complete the study.

“Our findings show how parents treat their children at a young age, particularly African-American children, significantly impacts their behavior, “said lead author Gustavo Carlo, via ScienceDaily.

“It is very important that parents refrain from physical punishment as it can have long-lasting impacts. If we want to nurture positive behaviors, all parents should teach a child how to regulate their behaviors early.”

One way to discipline without spanking is “productive disciplining” such as creating clear rules, which promote a strong relationship between the parent and child, according to psychologist Vanessa Lapointe.

“Our job is to make sure that the regulatory part of that child’s brain is soothed, settled and calm,” said Lapointe, via Good Housekeeping. “Then, reach in with a moment of expectation-setting for the next time around — and move along.”

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