New research findings suggests spanking your child as a form of discipline will not necessarily correct the behavior, and may lead to detrimental affects of their vocabulary and behavior later in life.
A team of Columbia University researchers published a study in the journal Pediatrics focusing on the effects of the physical discipline on children. The researchers found spanking is "common" for American children, according to a Columbia news release:
"The findings were based on data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFS), a population-based, birth cohort study conducted by researchers at Princeton and Columbia Universities of nearly 5,000 children born in 20 large American cities between 1998 and 2000. Mothers were interviewed shortly after giving birth and when the children were approximately 1, 3, 5, and 9 years old. FFS is unusual in also collecting detailed data from fathers."
The findings suggested kids who were spanked more frequently by their fathers at 5-years-old had lover vocabulary scores at 9-years-old.
"This is an important finding, because few studies in this area have examined effects on cognitive development," said Michael MacKenzie, lead author of the study.
The researchers also found spanking at age 5 lead to "higher levels of acting-out behavior problems at age 9."
"This finding is consistent with what has been found in the literature, but is of added importance given the detailed nature of the data we were using which allowed us to control for a host of other factors that also affect children's behavior, including their behavior at younger ages," MacKenzie said.
Researchers also "controlled" factors that may influence spanking and children's development, including intimate partner violence, maternal IQ, depression, anxiety, family background (income, family structure, education, etc.), and more. (Read more about the factors taken into account here.)
The research findings suggests parents should try more "positive" ways to correct behavior instead of spanking.