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To Spank or Not to Spank: New Thoughts

I've always been a firm believer in the threat of spanking -- not so much the act of spanking, but that just the fear of a potential spanking could do wonders in a child's behavior.

In the same way that my mother threatening to pull the car over made my brother and I quit fighting in the backseat, her stories of how her mother spanked her with a wire hanger when she misbehaved was enough to keep me in line. Granted, I wasn't the most rebellious kid -- and it did indeed take more than a threat to keep my brother's behavior under control... But I digress.

The debate on whether to spank or not to spank goes back years. It's nothing new, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a parent who doesn't already believe strongly one way or the other. Yet experts are still trying to decide if works.

A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests that it may actually do more harm than good. According to the study, spanking may negatively affect a child's IQ.

Researchers took group of children, three-quarters of whom had been spanked within a few weeks, and measured their initial IQ, then measured it again four years later. This is what they found:

"Kids who hadn't been spanked in the initial survey scored significantly better on intelligence and achievement tests than those who had been hit," according to researchers.

How is this possible? Being spanked or hit is associated with stress and fear, and kids that go through this kind of trauma have a harder time focusing and learning, say researchers.

While the negative impact on a kid's IQ from spanking is still just in the speculation stages, is this enough to turn spankers into non-spankers? Or will some still think there will always be a place for spanking?

What do you think?

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