Smack­ing Kids ‘Does More Harm Than Good’

And leads to men­tal health prob­lems and worse be­hav­iour

Fiji Sun - - Sun Spectrum - Source: Daily Mail Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

It was a long held be­lief that smack­ing a naughty child was a par­ent’s pre­rog­a­tive to keep them in line and teach them right from wrong. But now half a cen­tury of re­search has found the now con­tro­ver­sial past time ac­tu­ally does more harm than good. The more chil­dren are phys­i­cally chas­tised, the more likely they are to defy their par­ents, sci­en­tists have found. They are also more prone to men­tal health prob­lems, ag­gres­sive out­bursts, cog­ni­tive dif­fi­cul­ties and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, ac­cord­ing to the study. Spank­ing - or cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment - is usu­ally de­fined as hit­ting a child with an open hand with­out caus­ing phys­i­cal in­jury.

Pro­fes­sors El­iz­a­beth Ger­shoff, from the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin and An­drew Gro­gan-Kay­lor, at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan an­a­lysed 50 years of re­search in­volv­ing more than 160,000 chil­dren. They found chil­dren who were smacked as five-yearolds were slightly more likely to be ag­gres­sive and break rules later in pri­mary school. “The up­shot of the study is that spank­ing in­creases the like­li­hood of a wide va­ri­ety of un­de­sired out­comes for chil­dren,” said Pro­fes­sor Gro­gan-Kay­lor. “Spank­ing thus does the op­po­site of what par­ents usu­ally want it to do.” De­spite mount­ing ev­i­dence on the harms tied to it, it is ‘still a very typ­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence’ for chil­dren, stud­ies have found. Chil­dren mis­be­haved more and were more ag­gres­sive when they had been smacked by their par­ents, they found. Those who are spanked were more prone to act out and could be more dis­tracted in the class­room, they found. The re­searchers also in­ves­ti­gated cases of adults who were spanked as chil­dren and found the more they were smacked, the more likely they were to ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal health prob­lems.

Spank­ing a child can have the op­po­site out­come to what par­ents in­tend.

The more the chil­dren are chas­tised, the more likely they are to defy their par­ents.

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