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Spanking Can Cause Behavioral Problems Later

Mother Telling Off Son At Home
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

We teach violence is not the answer. And yet, spanking is still a common practice in many American homes—50 percent of mothers and one-third of dads do it. But, according to new research, parents could be doing more harm than just a temporary sting to the behind.

While this is no news, according to the Columbia University researchers they were able to control for a number of other risk factors and earlier development in their experiments.

Few other studies have gone into depth about how spanking affects children's cognitive ability. The researchers found that kids who "were spanked frequently by their fathers at age 5 had lower vocabulary scores at age 9." Not only that, children who were spanked at 5 years old had more problems with acting out and behavioral problems, later in life.

The researchers used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, which gathered data from 5,000 children born in 20 American cities. So what do the results mean? Well, for one, practice what you preach. Your kids will benefit if you choose a calm conversation over a swift spank to the bottom.

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