Spanks damage kids
Children who are spanked are more likely to defy their parents, behave anti-socially and experience increased aggression and mental health problems. Those are the findings of a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking carried out by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at five decades of research involving more than 160000 children.Spanking was defined as an "open-handed hit on the behind or extremities"."We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance," said Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin.Co-author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, of Michigan, said: "The upshot is that spanking increases the likelihood of a wide variety of undesired outcomes for children."According to the SA Human Rights Commission, there is widespread acceptance of physical abuse of children in homes and at schools, and many children are subjected to corporal punishment.A national survey found that 57% of South African parents with children who are under 18 reported smacking their children at some point, and 33% reported using a belt or object.Even though corporal punishment in school is outlawed, 12.4% of children reportedly experience physical discipline by teachers.The SAHRC has called on the government to put an end to corporal punishment at home, recommending that cabinet criminalise physical discipline.The new research findings contradict a 2010 study by researchers Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which found that youngsters smacked up to the age of six did better at school and were more optimistic about their lives than those never hit by their parents.Up to 80% of parents around the world spank their children, according to a 2014 Unicef report.