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    Over the past week, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been accused of abusing two of his sons. He was charged with beating his 4-year-old child with a switch and leaving another 4-year-old with a scarred head. While much of the drama has surrounded the NFL and the Vikings over their handling of the case, the news has also shined a light on the act itself. The star football player has essentially become the face of corporal punishment.

    Corporal punishment, and spanking in particular, has been a hot debate in the parenting community for generations. Those who practice it swear it works. Those who abstain strongly discredit its effectiveness. But what effects does it really have? We've looked to recent research and published studies to really determine how spanking impacts children.

    Take a look at these 12 scientific facts about corporal punishment and decide for yourself:

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    Girls, girls, girls! Of course we know about their passion for all things princess (apologies for the mostly true stereotype) and their flair for the dramatic (again, apologies), but girls are unique in fascinating ways.

    Turns out girls have some advantages straight out of the womb ... and some that pop up in adolescence. Other characteristics really do make them vulnerable to topsy-turvey teenage years. 

    Here are 12 facts about girls that may surprise you.

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    As parents, when you're considering making the jump from two kids to three, one specific thought will enter your mind: Middle Child Syndrome. You'll have your oldest and first, then you'll have your newborn, and your middle child will be placed in the dreaded in-betweener spot. But fear not, because as scary as the "middle child" label may be, they're far from being the "forgotten child."

    From their personality traits to their success later in life, birth order can play a big role in a child's development. And scientists have spent significant time looking at just what it means to be a middle child.

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    Here's some news for you: children are expensive. Groundbreaking, right? But from the moment they enter the world, and actually long before it, there are medical expenses, living costs, and emergencies that can deplete your checking account faster than you can imagine. So the smartest strategy is to get the most bang for your buck. From child care to available doctors, every state varies in how it approaches its newest members of the population. So WalletHub did the work for you and compiled the rankings of 2014's best and worst states to have your baby.

    They created a "budget" -- which includes hospital and delivery charges, infant care costs, cost of living, tax, milk costs, and average annual wages for nurses and pediatricians -- and used it to rank the states.

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    Just like the old nursery rhyme suggests ... "snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of," while little girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice" ... boys and girls are definitely very different. We're by no means suggesting that those things are true (seriously, who would use a puppy dog tail to make a boy?), we're just pointing out that even way back in the days of yore (or whenever that nursery rhyme was written), people have known that boys and girls got different things going on inside. We're not talking about things like feelings, peeing standing up or preferring dolls to trucks, we're talking about things like who the real geniuses are and who makes better drivers. (The answers to those two might surprise you -- see #1 and #7!)

    And it's not just a matter of opinion. It's fact.

    Here, 13 fascinating facts about little boys.

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    It was just last year that Miley Cyrus started a worldwide media frenzy with her twerking debut at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. And on this year's show, she once again made headlines, but for a completely different reason. When Jimmy Fallon announced that Miley's "Wrecking Ball" had won Video of the Year, she passed on making an acceptance speech. Instead, Miley sent Jesse, a former homeless teen, to deliver an emotional speech about the rising issue of youth homelessness.

    Studies have shown that there are over 1.6 million homeless youths in the country today. They're children who have left home, were removed from homes, or who have been kicked out by guardians. And Jesse's story is one of many. Take a look at his powerful statements:

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    By now most moms have heard the phrase "breast is best." The virtues of breastfeeding are renowned the world over. But even in a country where more than 79 percent of babies have moms who start out breastfeeding, it turns out there's plenty nursing mothers don't know about breastfeeding.

    Take the science on how breastfeeding affects boys ... as opposed to girls. Or what nursing a newborn will do to your sleep (no, really, this one will shock you!). For some fun nursing trivia (you know, if you're ever caught in that sort of game), get a load of these eight surprising facts about breastfeeding:

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    So, your mom and in-laws have taken over your wedding planning and are threatening to turn it into a three-ring circus? Instead of cursing them beneath your breath and fighting them every step of the (chocolate waterfall) way, a new study suggests you should probably be grateful to them for turning your intimate affair into one filled with 300-plus guests whom you wouldn't know if you passed them on the street.

    According to a report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, couples who have a large, formal wedding are more likely to be happy together later on in life. The authors of the study tracked 418 couples for five years from the date they tied the knot. After half a decade, it was discovered those who threw big weddings perceived themselves to be "happy" and thought less about splitting up when times got tough. Are you ordering 100 more invitations and going for the lobster?

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    Yes, motherhood is a feat unto itself. But sometimes we just have to marvel at moms who accomplish stunts so far from the norm, it's astonishing their stories are true. If you've ever wondered how old a mom can be to give birth, how many babies one mom can have, how long labor can last, or hear some other unbelievable stories from the extreme horizons of parenthood, get a load of these world record-breaking moms below. They will alter everything you thought you knew about what's humanly possible, for moms or otherwise.

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    I live in New York City, and with a growing family, my husband and I fantasize regularly about moving to the country -- this amazing, mythic place where our daughter could go to bed listening to crickets rather than car horns, play in the grass rather than on hard asphalt… ahhh. And yet, here we sit, in our crumby, cramped apartment. It turns out we may subconsciously know what's good for us: A lot of science says there are many advantages to raising kids in the city. Here are seven reasons that make me glad I'm raising a city kid.

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