Smacking children reduces their emotional intelligence and makes their behaviour even worse, claims a new study.
7:00AM BST 28 Jul 2011
Researchers found that smacking kids, instead of using non-physical punishments such as time-outs, reduces their emotional intelligence and 'executive functioning ability' which allows us to think on the spot and modify our behaviour when necessary.
Continued corporal punishment could lead to poorer discipline among kids subjected to it, by lowering their executive functioning ability. While they may comply with rules in the short term to avoid getting beaten, in the long term they'll fail to take them on board or understand the reasons why the exist.
The study authors, from American and Canadian universities, warn this could lead to lower levels of self-control and poorer behaviour in the long term.
They monitored 63 kids from two private schools in West Africa, aged five and six. One of the schools used corporal punishment for offences ranging from forgetting a pencil to disrupting classes, while the other stuck to non-physical discipline for misdemeanours, such as verbal warnings and time-outs.
All the children came from the same area and had similar home backgrounds. Their parents were also in favour of corporal punishment, even if their kids' school didn't mete it out to them.