Modern parents are well-versed with this fact: physical punishment is bad for children and can only cause more behavioural problems over time.
This was driven home once again in a comprehensive study published by the reputed medical journal ‘Lancet’ on Monday. (June 28)
This study was conducted by an international group of scientists, who examined 69 studies involving physical punishment such as spanking, but excluded any behaviours that could be construed as child physical abuse. The studies were mostly from the USA, said a report in The Print.
Despite evidence to the contrary, parents have not stopped using the rod on the child since the researchers in this study have found that 63 per cent of children between the ages of 2 and 4 worldwide — approximately 250 million children — were regularly subjected to physical punishment by caregivers.
Going by this study, corporal punishment seems to be still around though there is 2006 UN statement urging countries to end all physical punishment against children. Moreover, 62 countries, including Italy and Japan, have banned the practice, pointed out The Print report.
In India, corporal punishment is banned in schools under Section 17 of the RTE Act, 2009. But as yet there are no laws against parents using physical punishment to discipline their children though there are laws against assault and cruelty to children. Corporal punishment all over the world is increasingly being seen as a form of violence.
Moreover, the study has highlighted what we know – that physical punishment is delinked to any positive outcomes for children. It only makes them experience feelings of being severely violated or a sense of neglect.
The impact of the negative outcomes for children increased with the frequency of physical punishment.
According to Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin and senior author of this study, there is no evidence to show that physical punishment is good for children.
All the evidence points towards the fact that physical punishment is harmful to children’s development and well-being, said this expert, ruing the utter futility of corporal punishment.