Slapping Children Makes Them 'More Aggressive Later In Life'
Spanking, yelling or shaking your child has long-term effects on their behavioural development and can lead to an aggressive nature later on in life, a study has revealed.
An intensive review of 20 years worth of research found that the more a child is physically disciplined or yelled at when they’re naughty, the more likely they will display similar aggressive behaviour when they become adults.
American researchers Dr Joan Durrant from the University of Manitoba and Ron Ensom from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, highlighted a study of 500 in particular, where it found children to be less likely to challenge adults if parents stopped using physical discipline.
The study authors added that the majority of studies they analysed found hitting a child greatly increased their chances of developing depression and mental problems when they grow up. This was also the case with delinquency and spousal assault.
Researchers claim that there are no positive consequences of physical punishment and by slapping children, parents may get them to do something in the immediate situation but it could result in side effects later on in their child's life.
“Virtually without exception, these studies found that physical punishment was associated with higher levels of aggression against parents, siblings, peers and spouses,” the authors of the study wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Phillip Noyes from the NSPCC, agrees with the findings and believes that smacking children is not the answer to effective discipline. He told The Huffington Post:
"We all accept that parents have to be in charge and that clear and consistent boundaries are essential for children and young people to have a secure and happy childhood.
"But evidence shows that smacking is not an effective form of punishment and sets a bad example, especially for children who have a troubled past as in this story line. It teaches children that violence is an answer and it undermines the trusting relationship between a child and their carer.
"Young people tell us it leaves them feeling frightened and confused but often doesn't actually deter them from repeating what they were smacked for.
"And for a minority of bad parents who go well beyond smacking and seriously harm their children, it is all too often used as an excuse to social services, the police and the courts.
"Smacking undermines the hard work of people working in child protection and leaves many confused about what they can and can't do."
Smacking is currently legal in the US, with certain restrictions varying from state to state, but is banned in 20 European countries including Germany and Spain.
Although smacking your child is not illegal in the UK, there are ‘reasonable chastisement’ rules that came into place in 2004 which means that any physical contact cannot leave a mark on the child's skin.