Research shows it’s harmful to smack your child, so what should parents do instead?

Published: July 26, 2022 6.02am AES on The Conversation website.

Today, if a parent smacks a child mid-tantrum in the supermarket, they are likely to get looks of disapproval from other shoppers. Smacking is not as socially acceptable as it used to be.

Recent research shows only 15% of people aged 16-24 view physical discipline as necessary to properly raise children. This compares with 38% of people over 65.

But it still happens – and it is very harmful to children. So we need to help parents find alternative methods of discipline.

It is more common than you might think

In 2017, the royal commission into child sexual abuse recommended a national study on how common child abuse is in Australia. Early findings released last month revealed 61% of those aged 16-24 said they were physically hit for discipline four or more times during their childhood.

The research also found those who were hit had almost double the risk of depression and anxiety. This partly because those who had been smacked as a child may have also experienced other forms of mistreatment, such as harsh parental reactions, neglect or insufficient support.

So, what are the alternatives to smacking? Read the full article on The Conversation website.

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