Smacking makes children more likely to be aggressive and anti-social, research has found.
Children who were smacked at the age of one were more aggressive and their cognitive skills were less well developed than those who were just told off.
Another study found that children aged between five and 16 who were smacked often were two to three times more likely to demonstrate anti-social behaviour.
Lots of parents maintain it is their right to smack their children and in Britain mild smacking is allowed.
There have been calls for a total ban on smacking but last year a group of MPs failed to get a ban through Parliament.
Research carried out in America has concluded that smacking young children can have an effect on their behaviour and development.
One study looked at 2,500 families with children aged between one and three.
The families recorded how often the kids were smacked and also measured their behaviour and mental skills.
The study found that children who were spanked more often when they were a year old were more likely to behave aggressively at the age of two and had worse cognitive skills at the age of three.
Dr Lisa Berlin, research scientist at the Centre for Child and Family Policy at Duke University in North Carolina, told the Telegraph: "Our findings clearly indicate that spanking affects children's development."
Apparently just telling the child off did not affect aggression levels or their thinking skills.
The study was published in journal Child Development, along with another study which looked at long-term effects of physical punishment as children became teenagers.
This found that children were more likely to have behavioural problems when smacking continued longer.
But in families where the physical punishment continued the children were more likely to have behavioural problems than those who never spanked them or who stopped spanking them when they were still young.
They were more likely to get into fights and get into trouble at school.
But if smacking stopped by the age of nine, the child was no more likely to behave in an anti-social way.
So what do you think? Is it okay to smack your child? And if so, at what age should you stop?
Source: The Telegraph
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