I cannot think of any other issue where the expert opinion is so diametrically opposed to both the research and the common practice.
I am a believer in using common sense, as informed by research, even if it differs from the experts. Here is the latest from SciAm:
The study followed 33 families from four to six evenings while parents wore audio recorders documenting all interaction with their toddlers, who averaged four-years-of-age. Participants were mostly working mothers — 80 percent were educated beyond high school and married.This is a huge difference between self-reports and actual practice. Apparently those self-reports are wildly inaccurate because the parents know that the experts disapprove of spanking.
Those parents who approve of corporal punishment contend that they only spank as a last resort, do it only for serious misbehavior and only when they are calm. But the recordings often revealed the opposite. Parents seemed angry when striking their child, they did it reactively and for minor transgressions. ...
Previous studies using parental self-reports have estimated that parents spank about 18 times per year. But this study using real-time audio found the median rate to be 18 times per week—and this is among people who knew they were being monitored.
The comments show how contentious this issue is:
It's child abuse - put them in jail.That last claim is completely false. There is no study showing that moderate corporate punishment has ever harmed anyone, or that any other method of child discipline is superior. Those conclusions come from studies that extreme and frequent beatings are harmful.
If it's not okay to hit intellectually disabled adults, why should it be okay to hit children of the same mental age?
There is no argument that no one should hit children, or anyone really. The surprising finding of this study is not that parents are hitting their children, but the fact that they don't even realized when they are doing it! And for such mundane things!
Tennessee Public Schools hit over 14,000 children k-12 each year, known as corporal pain punishment, legal and protected by 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 19 states today, even against written parental prohibition, prohibited in Nashville schools and schools in 31 states and prohibited by federal law in ALL U.S. prisons.
30-something nations that have made corporal punishment illegal. Psychological studies consistently show that corporal punishment, at best: has no benefit when compared to other parenting methods, and at worst: causes psychological harm to children.