Spanking is a major hot-button topic these days. Technically, spanking is legal in all 50 states as long as it’s “reasonable discipline” and does not cause the child injury. Some people come from the mindset of “I was spanked as a child, and I turned out okay,” while others feel it borders on child abuse.
Aside from a couple of swats for truly atrocious behavior, I was not spanked as a child. Generally speaking, my parents opted for taking away privileges or adding chores when I misbehaved. There was a time (before I really started studying child development) that I wanted to believe that spanking was no big deal. It’s what generations upon generations of parents did. It couldn’t be as damaging as so many people made it out to be.
But after I started really looking at the research and learning more about how children’s brains develop in those early years, I have taken a much firmer stance on this issue. Here are some of the unexpected ways that spanking affects the development of young children: