A new study shows that spanking your child can be more damaging to them than first thought.
Studies in the past have shown that spanking can lead to behavior problems but now researchers find that it may also hurt a child's cognitive development.
"We found that children who were spanked by fathers at high levels showed decreases in verbal capacity by age 9," said Dr. Michael MacKenzie with the Columbia University School of Social Work. Children who were spanked at least twice a week by their mother at age 3 or 5 were also more likely to break rules and act aggressively, according to the study.
Scientists at Columbia University School of Social Work looked at nearly 2,000 children from 20 large cities in the United States and found spanking is still very common. "Over 50 percent of parents by age five were spanking their children," said Dr. MacKenzie.
Pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes is against spanking and said there are better ways, "discussing the bad behavior, positive reinforcement, limited use of time outs can be good."
Doctors also suggest parents take a time out themselves to think of the most effective punishment before spanking.
However, critics say one issue with the study is that researchers did not define spanking which can range from a swatting to more forceful hitting.