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50-Year Study Finds Spanking Doesn't Work

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — To spank, or not to spank?

It's an issue that's long plagued parents, but new research being called the most comprehensive analysis on spanking says it doesn't work.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan looked at 75 studies involving more than 150,000 children over 50 years. They found that children who were spanked were more likely to defy their parents.

Family discussions about discipline can often leave a house divided.

"We talk to them, we try to figure out this is what we need to do and this is what we should do. We don't do the whole spanking thing," said Jennifer Jarvis.

She says just talking about it is enough to bring her daughter to tears.

"I'm not even mad or angry and look, she's about to cry," she said.

Other families believe it can be an effective punishment technique. With seven kids, Carolyn Tevis' mother was often alone and outnumbered.

"She would always say 'wait till your daddy gets home.' That's how we were raised. And my dad did spank us. But not abuse us," she said.

Now, a five-decade study published in the Journal of Family Psychology reveals spanking doesn't make kids behave better right away, and it often leads to worse behavior in the long run.

Researchers also found children who are spanked are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial.

But many parents we spoke to like Ericka Sexton disagree, saying a little tough love teaches some valuable life lessons.

"I think we need more spankings because they did better. Kids respected elders back then, now it's a little bit different," she said.

Researchers did point out that the effectiveness of spanking ultimately depends on the individual child.

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