The organization says, "Corporal punishment and harsh verbal abuse may cause a child to be fearful in the short term but does not improve behavior over the long term and may cause more aggressive behaviors".
Instead, the AAP recommends that parents practice "healthy forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits, redirecting, and setting future expectations", the new policy statement said.
The statement encourages pediatricians to counsel the parents of their patients when they may want guidance about the use of spanking.
Parents should not spank their children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said Monday, in an updated policy statement on the effects of corporal punishment.
"The good news is, fewer parents support the use of spanking than they did in the past", Dr. Robert D. Sege, one of the authors of the academy's latest statement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics strengthened its advice against corporal punishment in update guidelines, saying it makes kids more aggressive and raises the risk of mental health issues.
The new policy - which wades into the controversial subject of corporal punishment - uses a variety of older studies to show the downsides of spanking a child and offers other solutions for parents who are looking to discipline one of their kids without spanking.
Sege added: "There's no benefit to spanking. We can do better".
Corporal punishment is defined in the report as the "noninjurious, open-handed hitting with the intention of modifying child behaviour".
That held even when parents were otherwise warm and loving. "In addition, family economic challenges, mental health problems, intimate partner violence and substance abuse all are associated with increased reliance on corporal punishment", Sege said. Teenagers in countries with a full corporal punishment ban are less likely to engage in fistfights. It certainly doesn't teach children self-regulation", Sege told NBC News."Techniques such as time out and other effective forms of punishment, the goal is to teach the child to regulate herself, so that she will have the ability to control and manage her own behavior.
Time outs work very well for younger children, the group said.
So what is the best way to discipline children? "If you have questions about disciplining your children, talk with your pediatrician", the doctors suggest.
These provisions include: the child is between the ages of two and 12, the person doesn't use an object (like a belt or stick) to apply the force, the child's head isn't hit or slapped, the seriousness of what the child did isn't relevant, and the force is used to help a child learn and isn't used out of anger, according to the Department of Justice. Only 6 percent of the 787 U.S. pediatricians surveyed in 2016 approved of spanking, and only 2.5 percent actually expected it to do any good. "What you see is a positive correlation between spanking and higher levels of behavior problems".