Don't spank your child when they're naughty: Physical punishment 'makes them more aggressive later in life'
Last week Labour MP David Lammy said summer riots due to parents being unable to use physical discipline
Smacking is banned in 20 European countries but still legal with some restrictions in the U.S and UK
Spanking or slapping your child if they misbehave could make them more aggressive with others later in life, scientists claim.
A review of 20 years worth of research found that the more often children were slapped, spanked or yelled at when they were naughty the more likely they were to display similar behaviour when they grew up.
Researchers Dr Joan Durrant from the
Univeristy of Manitoba and Ron Ensom of the Children's Hospital of
Eastern Ontario, wrote in the
Canadian Medical Association Journal: 'Virtually without exception,
these studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher
levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses.'
It comes just a week after Labour MP David Lammy said last summer's riots were a result of parents being unable to physically discipline their children for fear that social workers would take them away.
Calling for a return to the Victorian laws on discipline, the MP said it was easier for middle-class
parents to control their children as they could afford to pay for
private schools, which have tougher discipline than state schools, as
well as activities such as tennis lessons.
He said: 'Many of my constituents
came up to me after the riots and blamed the Labour Government, saying, “You guys stopped us being able to smack our children.”'
However, the authors of the latest review said spanking children could be counter-productive.
They pointed to one study of 500 families that found children were less likely to challenge adults when the parents were trained to stop punishing them physically.
They added that many of the studies found that raising a hand to a child increased their chances of developing mental health problems such as depression.
The authors noted that societies view of physical punishment had changed over the past 20 years and it was no longer considered the best way to deal with unruly children.
In the U.S a recent poll found most parents said they used 'time outs' or took away favourite toys as punishment. However, a fifth said they were 'very likely' to spank their children.
currently legal in the U.S with some restrictions which vary from state
to state. However, it is banned in 20
European countries, including Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
In Britain 'reasonable chastisement'
in the home is allowed however this was not allowed to 'leave a mark' on the skin from 2004. A recent poll found 71
per cent of parents would support a smacking ban.
The authors said doctors should help parents learn non-violent, effective approaches to discipline, as many don't understand what prompts a child's behaviour.
Dr Durrant told MyHealthNewsDaily: 'They (parents) are more likely to believe that their child is being defiant or intentionally bad, but in most cases, children are simply doing what is normal for their development.'
Techniques include recognising that
toddlers tend to say no to everything and ignoring them for 10 seconds when they act up before redirecting their behaviour. Another method is to lay down rules but also explain why they are used.