Wednesday, August 4

A new study confirms that hitting children does not prevent behavior problems


63% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 are subjected to physical punishment.

63% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 are subjected to physical punishment.
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A conclusive narrative review has found that physical punishment to kids not effective in preventing behavior problems in children nor to promote positive results and instead predicts an increase in behavior problems and other poor outcomes over time. The study has been carried out by an international group of scientists, including a researcher from the University of Texas, in the United States, and published ‘The Lancet‘.

In many parts of the world, caregivers use the physical punishment in response to misbehavior de children: 63% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 worldwide – approximately 250 million children – are regularly subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers. Sixty-two countries have banned this practice, which is increasingly seen as a form of violence.

The team examined studies of physical punishment, such as spanking, and excluded any behavior that could constitute child physical abuse. The researchers found abundant evidence supporting the statement of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which recommends that countries end all forms of physical punishment against children.

“There is no evidence that corporal punishment is good for children,” he says. Elizabeth Gershoff, centennial teacher Amy Johnson McLaughlin of Human Development and Family Sciences of the University of Texas and main author of the work. All the evidence indicates that physical punishment is detrimental to the development and well-being of children. ”

The review analyzed 69 studies, most of which were from the United States, with eight from other countries. Scientists found that corporal punishment was not associated with any positive outcomes for children and the risk of children experiencing serious violence or neglect increased.

The document notes that negative outcomes associated with physical punishment, such as behavior problems, occurred regardless of the sex, race or ethnicity of the child and the general parenting styles of the caregivers. The authors also found evidence that the magnitude of negative outcomes for children increased the more frequently corporal punishment was used.

Parents hit their children because they believe that doing so will improve their behavior Gershoff points out. Unfortunately for parents who hit, our research found clear and compelling evidence that corporal punishment does not improve children’s behavior and, on the contrary, makes it worse. ”

It is a public health problem says Anja Heilmann, lead author of the paper and associate professor at University College London. Given the strong evidence that corporal punishment has the potential to harm children, policy makers have a responsibility to protect children and to legislate to end the use of corporal punishment in all settings. ”


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