50 Years Of Research Decides: Should Kids Be Spanked?

Published April 28, 2016
Updated December 5, 2017
Parents Spanking Child

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After examining 50 years’ worth of research involving 161,000 children, experts have finally answered once and for all: Does spanking your children work?

The answer is not only a resounding “no,” but that spanking is far more harmful than its proponents may have imagined.

Anywhere from 65 to 90 percent of American parents spank their children, with very few of them realizing just how detrimental spanking can be.

The new study (conducted by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan, and published in the Journal of Family Psychology) found that not only does spanking not lead to short-term or long-term compliance among its recipients, it increases the likelihood of 13 of the 17 detrimental developmental outcomes they tracked.

Those outcomes include anti-social behavior, aggression, and a host of other mental health problems.

In the words of co-author Elizabeth Gershoff, “We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors. Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

Next, discover three horrifying acts of child abuse that used to be totally legal and this shocking photographic history of American child labor.

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