Smacking  Only Brings Harm to the Child

Smacking Only Brings Harm to the Child

Already we all know that physical punishment could have many behavioural issues in children. Well, a new study by a group of researchers at the University of London found that smacking children would only do more harm.

The Researchers said that their review of 20 years showed that physical punishment was not effective in improving children’s behaviour. The Lancet published the study.

They found that smacking children led to worsening their behaviour over time. Lead Author Dr Anja Heilmann claimed that there was a definitive link between physical punishment and behavioural problems like aggression. She is a professor in UCL’s department of epidemiology and public health.

The professor said that physical punishment increased behavioural difficulties in children, irrespective of their age, sex, ethnicity or general parenting styles of their caregivers. Though a link between physical punishments was already known, it is the first time that smacking s known to have negative impacts.

Meanwhile, co-author Jillian van Turnhout pointed out that home should be a safe place for children. Stating that the law in some countries could make homes one of the most unsafe places for children, Turnhout said that countries need to take steps to ensure that all children have equal protection from all forms of harm, including physical punishment

The report also notes that 62 countries have already prohibited smacking, which the authors said other countries should follow.


The report notes that physical punishment in the first instance consistently increases in child behaviour problems over time. Secondly, they say that physical punishment is not associated with positive outcomes over time. In the third instance, the researchers say that punishment increased the risk of involvement with child protective services. The fourth is that the only evidence of children eliciting physical punishment is for externalising behaviour. Then they say that physical punishment predicts worsening behaviour over time in quasi-experimental studies. They also mention that associations between physical punishment and detrimental child outcomes are robust across child and parent characteristics. Finally, the researchers talked of evidence of a dose–response relationship. The researchers point out that the consistency of the findings showed that physical punishment only did harm to children. They noted that these could lead to behavioural issues like aggression, antisocial behaviour and violence.

Senior Author Professor Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin stated that no evidence to show that physical punishment was good for children. All the evidence until now only showed that it is harmful to the development and well-being of children.


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