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Smacking Kids ‘Makes Them Behave Worse,’ Experts Say

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Smacking kids as a form of punishment reportedly makes them ‘behave worse,’ according to experts. 

Professor Elizabeth Gershoff, from the University of Texas, argues that physical punishment can make kids end up developing behavioural difficulties, such as acting anti-social or being aggressive.

She explained: “There is no evidence that physical punishment is good for children.

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Smacking kids can make them ‘behave worse,’ experts say. Credit: Unsplash

“All the evidence indicates that physical punishment is harmful to children’s development and wellbeing.”

In the study, over 20 years of research was gathered, and it has found that smacking kids could constitute child physical abuse.

But many parents are convinced that spanking children who are misbehaving will help ‘teach them a lesson’.

Prof Gershoff said: “Parents hit their children because they think doing so will improve their behaviour.

“Unfortunately, for parents who hit, our research found clear and compelling evidence that physical punishment does not improve children’s behaviour and instead makes it worse.”

Dr Anja Heilmann, from the UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, also worked on the paper and believes that physical punishment is ‘harmful’ for everyone involved.

“Physical punishment is ineffective and harmful, and has no benefits for children and their families,” she said. “This could no be clearer from the evidence we present.”

According to the study, children who have experienced such punishment tend to be much more nervous in unfamiliar situations, act emotional, play on their own, and lack confidence.

In England, it is currently legal for a parent or carer to smack their child if it’s deemed a ‘reasonable punishment,’ according to section 58 of the Children Act 2004.

However, if it is considered too severe a punishment, it is then classed as illegal.

But obviously, there is the issue of whether or not people understand when they’re crossing the line of what’s classed as a ‘reasonable punishment’.

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