Study reveals 10 myths about smacking children that most people believe

People still believe smacking is good for you

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 22 September 2015 11:29 BST

Ten of the most common myths about smacking children have been revealed by researchers.

Since 2004, it has been illegal for parents to hit their children with “unreasonable force” - which is defined as a blow that leaves the child with a mark or one struck with an object such as a cane or a belt.

But some children’s charities, such as the NSPCC and the UN, want the government to go further and have called for an outright ban on the practice.

And new study by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has suggested the reason so many people still thinking parents have the right to use corporal punishment on their children is because they believe it is good for them in the long run.

Surveying 366 undergraduate students, they asked them whether they agreed with a series of statements about smacking - and compiled a list of the 10 most common myths that students still believe.

1. Corporal punishment used to discipline a child is harmless

2. Using corporal punishment occasionally to discipline a child does not cause damage to a child

3. Use of corporal punishment teaches a child responsibility and helps develop his/her character

4. It is unrealistic to think that parents should never use corporal punishment to discipline a child

5. Corporal punishment works better than other methods of discipline

6. Corporal punishment is used to discipline both boys and girls

7. Corporal punishment is the only thing that children understand

8. Without use of corporal punishment to discipline children, children become spoilt and will run wild

9. Corporal punishment teaches a child how to respect others

10. Corporal punishment should be used to discipline a child every single time a child misbehaves

According to a 2010 NSPCC report on smacking, the charity believes: “Any form of physical violence towards children is an infringement of the child’s rights as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

It said it was “regrettable” that smacking was not yet against the law as it is in 46 countries around the world.

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