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Are We There Yet?


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 countries worldwide.

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 researchers wrote.


Another study, published last year and conducted by researchers from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University, also found that spanking makes children more aggressive and can have negative, long-lasting effects.

"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 American Academy 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.

What do you think?

This blog is intended to provide a forum for parents to share knowledge and resources. It's a place for parents young and old to combine their experiences raising families into a collective whole to help others.