Studies have shown that spanking can lead to behavior problems.
Now researchers find it mayalso hurt a child's cognitive development.
Dr. Michael MacKenzie at the ColumbiaUniv. School of Social Work says, "We found that children who were spanked byfathers at high levels showed decreases in verbal capacity by age 9."
Children who were spanked atleast twice a week by their mother at age 3 or 5 were also more likely to breakrules and act aggressively.
Scientists at ColumbiaUniversity School of social work looked at nearly 2-thousand children from 20large cities in the U.S. and found spankingis still very common.
"Over 50 percent of parents byage five were spanking their children andthat was only looking at spanking in thepast month," says Dr. MacKenzie.
Most pediatricians agree thereare better ways to discipline.
Dr. Dyan Hes at Gramercypediatrics says, "Discussing the bad behavior, positive reinforcement, limiteduse of time outs can be good."
Doctors also suggest parentstake a time out themselves to think of the most effective punishment before spanking.
Critics say one issue with thestudy is that researchers did not define spankingwhich can range from a swatting to more forceful hitting.