A chart attempting to explain why you should never spank your child has gone viral across social media.

The "comprehensive flowchart" asks the question "Should I spank my child?" then offers a pathway of answers for parents to follow.

It asks them whether the child in question is old enough to "understand reason".

If yes, then the parent should use reason.

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If no, then the graph says the child is also not old enough to understand why they are being spanked.

The 'comprehensive flowchart' has been widely shared on social media. Photo / Facebook
The 'comprehensive flowchart' has been widely shared on social media. Photo / Facebook

In either case, the ultimate answer provided by the chart is "stop hitting your child, a*****e".

The flowchart is not new but has recently been shared widely across multiple Facebook groups, where it generated lively discussion about whether or not physical punishment is an acceptable form of discipline.

While a lot of people agree with the chart, many shared instances where they believe a light spanking can be acceptable.

"I got hit every time I displayed any signs of homosexuality or nonconforming gender behavior [sic]. All it did was make me ashamed, secretive, isolated, and broken," one person commented.

"I got hit for doing normal kid stuff. All it did was make me afraid to speak out, take risks, and panic when faced with things I can't control. Hitting your kids does teach them. It just teaches them the wrong things," the Facebook user added.

"Hitting a child is always degrading and humiliating. I don't care how adults try to justify this violence. You rob a child of their autonomy. They can't defend themselves. On top of that, they are required to repress their anger while showing gratitude and respect in return. What an unholy emotional mix," another person said.

"I'm glad I got a gud [sic] smacking or a swift kick up the arse, or the belt at home when I misbehaved after mum and dad asked me nicely several times to stop doing whatever wrong I kept doing. I was a mischief little s**t - I admit it," another person commented.

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"I'm also glad that I got the strap at primary and intermediate school, and the cane at high school numerous times. That sort of punishment taught me respect for my elders, it made me reflect on my stupid actions, and to realise that the direction I was heading in, would be nothing but trouble as an adult after I left school. All those forms of punishment through each stage of my life, taught me 'boundaries' that I needed to know in order to show respect and consideration towards others," the Facebook user added.

"I'll give my kids a boot up the a** if they need one," someone else said.

"Spanking hurts and breaks connection instantly. It causes a break in trust, which hurts. It promotes sneakiness and thoughts of revenge. And, importantly, when a child is hurt, they go into the fight or flight mode and their thinking and their ability to learn, completely shut down," a Facebook user pointed out.

Smacking a child, or using "reasonable force" to discipline them, has been outlawed in New Zealand since 2007 but, judging by social media comments, the topic remains subject to much controversy.

READ MORE: Are parents still smacking their kids?