Parents Divided on Spanking Issue

Lynchburg, VA - Spanking your child is a reasonable use of force.That's what one New York judge ruled after a man open-handedly spanked his 8-year-old son for cursing.In Virginia, spanking is considered excessive if the child suffers an injury, more than temporary redness.Some experts say spanking may do more harm than good.When time outs and lectures aren't doing the trick some parents resort to spanking. In a 2012 national survey, more than half of the men and women in the US were in favor of an occasional "good spanking." When disciplining the next generation, Melissa Johnson, Parent Center program manager at Horizon behavioral health, says they try to steer parents away from using physical force. "Utilize positive parenting skills, which focuses on non-hurtful constructive ways to redirect and manage your child's behavior" said Johnson. In a 2009 study, researchers found children who were regularly spanked had less gray matter in certain regions of their brains, which have been linked to depression, addiction, and other mental health disorders. Johnson says they work with parents to get to the root of the problem. "Find out what ways does your child respond positively. Catch them doing something good. When do you see them smiling?" said Johnson. However, many ABC 13 viewers we spoke to say they were spanked and they turned out just fine. "Sending them to their room, calling the 1 800 number no sir no ma'am. It doesn't work. Spanking is good, it lets them respect you and show them you mean business" said Rhunetta Woods. On Twitter, Jeff Deacon agreed saying "Many children have been spanked in the past...Look at this generation that's what's wrong no respect."