Smacking children 'causes long-term damage'
Smacking and other violent forms of discipline are likely to be harmful to the long-term development of children, a study into the effects of physical punishment has claimed.
Campaigners said the findings, based on a comprehensive analysis of two decades of research, showed it was time for the Government to yield to international pressure and finally ban smacking in Britain.
As well as making children more aggressive towards parents and siblings – and later in life towards their peers and spouses – the Canadian study found that physical sanctions can lead to increased levels of antisocial behaviour. Smacking can also cause depression, anxiety and drugs and alcohol abuse, the study claimed.
The findings come after the former Labour Education minister David Lammy reignited the debate over the issue when he claimed that many working-class parents were confused over the laws governing smacking. Mr Lammy admitted he had smacked his children and suggested that curbs on traditional discipline might have contributed towards the social breakdown witnessed during last summer's riots.
London Mayor Boris Johnson also called for clarification of the law to reassert parents' rights, claiming he was backed by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
But in an article published in today's Canadian Medical Association Journal, two leading childcare experts have argued that 20 years of evidence shows such an approach is counter productive. "Virtually without exception, these studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses," said Dr Joan Durrant, of the University of Manitoba, and Ron Ensom, of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. "Results consistently suggest that physical punishment has a direct causal effect on externalising behaviour, whether through a reflexive response to pain, modelling or coercive family processes."
The authors said a trial involving more than 500 families trained to use non-physical punishments found that problem behaviour declined.
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 3 What are your fingerprint words?
- 4 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Labour Party conference: Ed Balls to set out plan to freeze child benefit to balance books
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...