Study: Parents Today Are Spanking Their Kids Less

Back in the old days, parents paddled their kids without a second thought, but times have changed. Now Gen X and millennial parents don’t seem to be spanking their kids as much as previous generations, according to new research.

A paper published this week in the medical journal “JAMA Pediatrics” used data from the Monitoring the Future study, which surveyed groups of graduating high school seniors between 1993 and 2017, and again 17 years later when they were 35-years-old. The numbers show that back in 1993, around 50% of parents reported spanking a child, but by 2017, that was down to 35%. This is excellent progress, but it’s still too high according to standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018.

Dr. Robert Sege, head of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement on corporal punishment, calls the research “really impressive” and says it backs up the group’s view that there has been a generational change. “Younger people tend not to hit their children,” he explains. “As we've woken up to the issues of domestic violence and intimate partner violence there's been a growing rejection of any sort of violence within the home, including spanking."