It doesn’t work, and it teaches all the wrong lessons.

Every parent struggles at some point with willful, misbehaving children. Many parents regularly resort to corporal punishment — striking a child with an object or an open hand — to force compliance, to punish, or simply out of anger or frustration.

I grew up in the South, where, according to social survey data, support for corporal punishment ranks highest, and it was everywhere. I was spanked occasionally at home, but what I remember most is being paddled at school. Tennessee is one of 19 states where paddling in schools is both legal and common to this day.

I was a particular mix of smart, verbal, and emotionally immature that my teachers were not equipped to deal with, so instead, they hit me with a piece of wood. They did it dozens of times a year, right up through eighth grade, when I was as tall as the teacher hitting me.

All that paddling didn’t make me behave any better. Quite the opposite. I realized early on that if I was willing to endure a few seconds of pain, I could do whatever I wanted. Since authority was nothing but the capacity to prohibit and punish, insofar as I could avoid getting caught or just tolerate the punishment, I didn’t have to give a damn about the rules.

I have had a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with authority ever since. And from what I saw, all the smacking and paddling didn’t make my classmates any better either. Some became submissive, some acted out, but no one — at least no one I ever knew — viewed it as an occasion for moral betterment.

I would wager that many of the people I grew up with now spank their kids. For my Read More Here