Spanking and corporal punishment has long been held as common place within Western society. As we have had access to more reseach on the brain and its interconnectedness to the rest of our bodies, we have been given a greater understanding of the way that violence and pain affects us on a psychological level. Nowadays, much research is saying that spanking can be incredibly damaging to a child's brain and ability to navigate the world later in a healthy way. Are there alternatives that we need to embrace that are healthier and create better relationships and good behavior?
A few key places I find this research very interesting and convincing:
Studies Are Showing It Doesn't Work: Spanking may reduce the appearance of bad behavior "because children are afraid of being hit," but over time, it is has been shown that spanking increases the likelihood of increased aggression in later childhood and adulthood.
If the behavior doesn't improve, parents may be drawn towards escalation in the hopes that if it hurts more the child will have a better response. This increases the intensity of the hitting and facilitates an increase in aggression and pain if the parent is spanking in anger.
We Took it out of Schools but not the Home: In 1975, the APA (Amercian Psychological Association) spoke out against corporal punishment in schools noting that it "instill[s] hostility, rage, and a sense of powerlessness without reducing the undesirable behavior." But they continued to condone it within the home, which, if that statement is true, it would be equally true no matter who enacts the punishment practice.
This article lists some interesting alternatives such as conditional spanking that is only used if other other discipline methods have been used to no avail or practicing having children "throw tantrums" without kicking, hitting, or yelling and instead practicing more healthy dialogue and facilitating understanding between parents/guardians and their children: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking.aspx