We don’t really talk much about corporal punishment, but it wasn’t so long ago that it was an acceptable way to discipline children. Although public opinion may have hushed the conversation, in practice, physical discipline is not uncommon. A 2013 Harris Poll found that 81 percent of parents believe that hitting is a sometimes acceptable form of discipline, and two-thirds said they had used it with their children.
As recently as the 1980s, the threat of spanking was a familiar refrain in American homes, a way to keep kids in their place. And as for the tongue-lashing that followed a lazily completed chore? Well, it was better than the belt, right? These parenting practices weren’t labeled as abuse, but scientific research tells another story.
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