Because children tend to mimic parental behaviors, it's possible spanking "creates a model for using aggression," Gershoff said. "Spanking is just hitting."
Less is known why spanking could inhibit cognitive development. One possibility is that parents who spank are less likely to use reasoning with their children, something that's good for development, Gershoff said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on strategies of disciplining children without spanking.
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