Spanking of children by their parents is a common form of corporal punishment used in families in the Western world.
It is normally done with one or more slaps on the child's buttocks with a bare hand, although, not uncommonly, various objects are used to spank children.
Research shows, however, that spanking, or indeed any form of corporal punishment, tends to have the opposite effect.
Children who are physically punished more often tend to obey parents less with time, and to develop more aggressive behaviors, including toward other children.
There are also a number of documented adverse physical, mental, and emotional effects of spanking and other forms of corporal punishment, including various physical injuries, increased anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior.
Spanking is a type of corporal punishment involving the act of striking the buttocks of another person to cause physical pain, generally with an open hand (more commonly referred to in some countries as slapping or smacking).
More severe forms of spanking, such as switching, paddling, belting, caning, whipping, and birching, involve the use of an implement instead of a hand.
Parents commonly spank children or adolescents in response to undesired behavior.
Boys are more frequently spanked than girls, both at home and in school.
Some countries have outlawed the spanking of children in every setting, including homes, schools, and penal institutions, but most allow it when done by a parent or guardian. Thus, the standard form of corporal punishment in US schools (use of a paddle) is often referred to as a spanking, whereas its pre-1997 English equivalent (strokes of the cane) would never have been so described.
The word "licks" is also a common term in West Indian countries, especially Trinidad and Tobago.