DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – To spank or not to spank? The American Academy of Pediatrics stirs up the debate again, urging parents to discipline without hitting.

“When you know better, you do better,” says Dawn Hallman with the Dallas Association for Parent Education. Hallman is also an adjunct professor at Eastfield Community College and she’s also a mom.

She has spent years teaching other parents to find better ways to discipline– insisting that a half century of research puts science on her side.

“It’s not effective, it takes six times longer for a child to learn something after they’ve been hit,” says Hallman.

The AAP puts it this way: “Discipline teaches kids what is acceptable. Punishment might work fast to stop bad behavior, but it is not effective over time… Corporal (physical) punishment also does not work.”

And Hallman agrees.

“The most powerful way to show children what to do is modeling: children do what we do. Good citizenship in any country, in any family is caught: not taught. So if you want your children to speak politely, you speak politely.”

Still, other parents believe that spanking still has its place: if only as a last resort.

“We get warnings, we do time out… and depends on the age, too. The little ones get a talking to,” says Casey Paul, a mother of four. “We have steps to it.”

If you spank and want to explore other options, experts say it is possible to press ‘reset,’ discipline differently and give yourself a break.

“It’s the hardest job you’ll ever do and it matters more than anything else, because this is the gift that we send to the future.”

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