To spank or not to spank? Experts say hands off!

The child abuse charges against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson have opened up a new debate on corporal punishment.

"People look up to them they're celebrities. They think they can get away with things, but they can't," said football fan Jonathan Portier.

Pictures of Peterson's 4-year-old son with marks and bruises is the new backdrop on the debate on spanking.

In a statement, Peterson said: "I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child."

He went on to admit he caused an unintentional injury.

"If you were  treated like that as a child, I'm sorry. I wish your parents would have known better. I wish we could have taught them before they got to that point," said Stacie LeBlanc executive director of the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center.

"Ninety-six percent of those kids are here because of skin findings, and it's really spankings and whoopings that went really bad. While that parent may not have intended to injure their child, they do," LeBlanc said.

Turner Sports Analyst Charles Barkley said he found the four 4-year-old's pictures disturbing. He added, "I'm from the South, whipping - we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances."

Jenni Watts Evans says when you talk about it as if it doesn't matter and it's acceptable, you feed a cultural norm that's hurting us. She says spanking is more likely to cross over into a different kind of abuse. It teaches children that might makes right.

"We want parents to understand first the way to become the most important role model is through relationships not through power and not through winning."

Peterson is being tried by public opinion before he ever faces charges in court. Experts say the allegations against him have given the subject of abuse a new light.

"It's a great opportunity for education and change. great opportunity for education and change. If only all parents could know other methods that really work they wouldn't wind up in these situations," LeBlanc said.

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