Spanking children can cause
long-term developmental damage and may even lower a child's IQ, according to a
new analysis that seeks to shift the ethical debate over corporal punishment into the medical sphere.
The study reached its
conclusion after examining 20 years of published research on the issue. The
authors say the medical finding has been largely overlooked and overshadowed by
concerns that parents should have the right to determine how their children are
While spanking is certainly
not as widespread as it was 20 years ago, many still cling to the practice and
see prohibiting spanking as limiting the rights of parents.
That point of view highlights the difficulty in
changing hearts and minds on the issue, despite a mountain of accumulated
evidence showing the damage physical punishment can have on a child.