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By: Jason M. Jowers

young girl crying with hands over face

Pixabay[Close Up of Girl Covering Face by pixabay on Feb 20, 2019, CC0]

What do we know about the effects of spanking as a form of child discipline? Are parents and families continuing this behavior, which has been a part of our culture for many generations in the past? Or, will this practice fade out? Many say that the era of spanking is over. However, there are several states in the U.S. that spanking, or corporal punishment, by teachers and school administrators is still allowed in the school system. And the rules and guidelines on appropriate ways to discipline children vary widely from family to family.

So how does spanking affect children? In this CNN article entitled “The Era of Spanking is over,” Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff highlights research that shows that spanking children is ineffective and potentially harmful. She goes on to talk about how incremental changes in cultural norms are happening including “no hit zones” in hospitals. Also, Dr. Gershoff says that spanking can lead to more aggressive behavior.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!

And for more on continuing the conversation on spanking and discipline, be sure to head on over and watch our webinar entitled “Unintended Consequences: What We Now Know about Spanking and Child Development.” This webinar’s presenter is Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of the CNN article cited for this blog. Free CEUs are still available through the first week of June 2019, so don’t miss out!


[1] Gershoff, E. (2018). The era of spanking is finally over. Retrieved from

This post was written by members of the OneOp Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Learn more about us at, and connect with us on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.