Various organizations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend parents use methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior. However many parents still use spanking as a response to misbehavior.
A new study published in the May 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics reports "Kids who were spanked more than twice a month as 3-year-olds were much more likely to become aggressive 5-year-olds than kids who weren't disciplined that way."
Psychoanalyst and author Alice Miller, who has dedicated her life to studying child abuse and mistreatment, has this to say:
Spanking is always an abuse of power. It is humiliating and it creates fear. A state of fear can only teach children to be distrustful and hide their true feelings. They learn from their parents that violence is the right way of resolving conflicts and that they are bad or unworthy and thus deserve correction. These children will soon forget why they were spanked. They will submit very quickly, but later in life, they will do the same to weaker persons. By spanking we teach violence. The child's body has learned the lesson of violence from their parents over a long period and we cannot expect it to suddenly forget these lessons at the behest of religious values, which the body doesn't understand anyway. Instead, it retains the memory of being spanked.
While it is very important for parents to set limits with their children, it should be done in a way that helps children learn from their mistakes without hitting or spanking. Parents who want to learn effective ways to set limits with their kids and respond to misbehavior without resorting spanking can take the online Priceless Parenting course for ages 5 and under.