There is increasing awareness in the general public of the negative risks of spanking. Research shows a 93% agreement that spanking is harmful.  Spanking is consistently linked to increased behavioral problems, increased aggression and defiance, and lower moral internalization.  It is also linked to an increased risk of mental illness in adolescence, drug and alcohol abuse, and a greater likelihood of domestic violence into adulthood.  Spanking little children is particularly problematic, due to the profound effect that negative experiences can have on the rapid development of the brain in the first few years of life.

The effects of spanking your child are similar to the negative outcomes associated with overt child abuse according to the latest research. Join us in a discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff to discuss the details.

A new study was published in July in the journal American Psychologist making the case that the evidence is conclusive that physical punishment is harmful to children: The Strength of the Causal Evidence Against Physical Punishment of Children and Its Implications for Parents, Psychologists, and Policymakers

  • Leading cause of physical child abuse
  • Linked to increased aggression, poor connection to parent, anxiety, alcohol/drug abuse, and domestic violence later on
  • 65-80%+ of parents in the U.S. spank
  • 30% of parents spank children under the age of one
  • 1,500+ research studies have found that spanking is linked to negative outcomes
  • 59 countries have banned spanking in the home (2020)

Library of Research and Interviews with Researchers

Formal Policy Statements

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that spanking is harmful to children and should never be used.
The Centers for Disease Control has published a technical package addressing ending violence against children calling for both educational and legislative action to end the practice of corporal punishment in the home and to promote positive parenting.
The National Women’s Law Center along with 79 organizations has written a formal letter to local and state educational agencies and policymakers calling for an end to corporal punishment in schools.
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC), 2016  APSAC is committed to ending all abuse of children and promoting children’s welfare. Given the research evidence about the harms associated with corporal punishment, APSAC opposes hitting children for discipline or other purposes. APSAC calls for the elimination of all forms of corporal punishment in part because it increases children’s risk for physical abuse.
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) believes that to achieve a healthy environment for children it is necessary to eliminate corporal punishment in schools and other settings where children are cared for or educated. In addition, parents must be educated about harmful effects of CP and instructed about effective alternative forms of discipline.
American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) condemns the use of physical punishment (corporal punishment) in the discipline of children and recommends alternative methods that enhance children’s capacities to develop healthy emotional lives, tolerate frustration, regulate internal tensions, and behave in socially acceptable ways.
Cornel University, College of Human Ecology strongly opposes striking a child for any reason. Spanking is NEVER recommended.

More Organizations with a Formal Statement Against Spanking