parenting, smacking, bad behaviour, punishment

A US study has found that many parents still smack their children as punishment for bad behaviour. The findings revealed that the practice is surprisingly common despite much public debate and also that many parents do it more than they say.  Although, the research also found that spanking children does not resolve problems or act as a deterrent in most cases.

The study, by the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was centred around 33 different familiesDuring the course of six days, the researchers say there were 41 occasions on which a child was smacked. These occurred in 15 different families. However, after about 75 per cent of the incidents, the child was misbehaving again within 10 minutes, the DailyMail revealed.

The lead researcher Dr George Holden said the results also showed that parents who shout a lot are more likely to hit their children. “Parents are hitting their children over trivial misdeeds and some of the mums are doing it a lot more than the self-report data has ever identified.”

He also added that it was evident this kind of punishment did not deter bad behaviour in the majority of cases: “It doesn’t work. But more than that, it can result in behavioural problems like aggression, or anxiety and depression.”