Spanking is a long debated technique of parenting. Severity can range from a light tap to a few fierce slaps on the behind. Many people have a clear cut view on the issue, but what are the pro's and con's of each view? It's difficult to tell with all the ethics involved.
The most basic pro of spanking is that it likely stops the malbehavior and even that is debatable. Dr. Robert Lazelere of Oklahoma State University promotes the use of conditioned spanking in a light manner. Two open hand swats in a non-abusive way is what he advocates. This practice involves the use of operant conditioning. Spanking is the negative punishment of the situation. As pointed out by Lilienfield text (Pg 215) there are always a few negatives when it comes to punishment. These include, not showing the right thing to do in the situation and promotion of aggressive behavior. This must also be done within the appropriate age group for the punishment to be successful.
As expected there are many more reasons not to spank your child than to spank your child. Short term effects of one year-old's was showing more aggressive behavior at age two and performing worse on tests of thinking skills. However, these are merely short term effects and most definitely to not prove the emotional distress people claim of spanked children. Other studies have shown that there is a long lasting effect of spanked children in the form of antisocial behavior and being more likely to get into fights later on in life. This is a great example of correlation versus causation. Does the spanking really cause the aggression or is the child already being spanked because of aggressive behavior? Children who may need the corporal form of punishment may already be aggressively behaved children.
In short, the use of spanking is a personal decision, as long as it is used sparingly and non-abusively. Alway remember there is a fine line between abusive and non-abusive. The use of spanking will most likely remain controversial for a long time and it is unlikely one study will disprove or approve the use of spanking.