All parents have countless decisions to make about how to raise their children. One of the most important is how to discipline the child. Psychologists and physicians have been pleading with parents for decades to use non-physical forms of discipline, and avoid corporal punishment, because it can produce significant negative consequences for children. A recent story in the Chicago Tribune has a nice overview of some of the current research and opinion on the issue.

What the research does show is that spanking is generally no more effective than nonphysical disciplinary techniques in instilling acceptable behavior, that its effects vary from culture to culture and that a greater frequency of spanking increases the risk of negative consequences.”

In general, spanking can lead to emotional and behavioral problems, increased aggression, and use of violence to solve problems. Although many adults were spanked as children and do not view any negative consequences in their own lives attributed to spanking, it may be different for their children. Non-physical punishments take more work from parents but are also healthier options for the children.