I honestly don’t know any parents who spank their children –
or any who will at least admit to it. Although once a common practice in many
American homes and even some schools, corporal punishment is now generally viewed
as an ineffective means of disciplining children.
It’s also considered a human rights violation in many
A recent study, however, found that corporal punishment is actually still
common in the United States.
In fact, about 65 percent of 3-year-olds had been spanked by one or both
parents within the previous month, according to a report known as the “Fragile
Families and Child Wellbeing Study.”
The research – conducted by the Tulane University School of Public Health
and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans — involved
nearly 5,000 families in large U.S.
cities. According to the Fragile Families website, about 75 percent of the children
who were part of the study were born to unmarried parents, which put them at
greater risk of breaking up and living in poverty.
The researchers also found that there was a link between
spanking and intimate partner violence.
“The presence of even minor forms of aggression between
parents, such as criticism and controlling behaviors, were linked with
increased odds of using corporal punishment with young children,” the
Another study, published last year and conducted by researchers
from the Center for Child and Family Policy at DukeUniversity,
also found that spanking makes children more aggressive and can have negative,
“We’re talking about infants and toddlers, and I think that just,
cognitively, they just don’t understand enough about right or wrong or
punishment to benefit from being spanked,” Lisa Berlin, a research
scientist and the study’s lead author told CNN.
Parents who were spanked as children are more likely to use spanking as a
form of discipline, according to the study.
Many experts and professional organizations including the AmericanAcademy
of Pediatrics have discouraged the use of corporal punishment at home. Still,
some moms and dads as well as grandparents and other guardians say spanking can teach a lesson – but only if it’s used on
very rare occasions and it doesn’t serve as a family’s only and most commonly
used form of discipline.
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