(CNN) Physical punishment does not appear to improve a child’s positive behavior or social competence over time, according to a review of 69 studies from the US, Canada, China, Colombia, Greece, Japan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Spanking can cause a child real harm, a review of global studies found.The review, published Monday in the journal Lancet, found physical punishment such as spanking is “harmful to children’s development and well-being,” said senior author Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor in human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Parents hit their children because they think doing so will improve their behavior,” Gershoff said. “Unfortunately for parents who hit, our research found clear and compelling evidence that physical punishment does not improve children’s behavior and instead makes it worse.”
Children acted out more after punishment
To measure the impact of spanking and other physical punishments that parents might typically choose to discipline a child, the review excluded verbal and “severe” types of physical punishment that would be characterized as child abuse.
Spanking can lead to relationship violence, study saysThat included such actions as “hitting a child with an object; hitting or slapping on the face, head or ears; throwing an object at a child; beating; hitting with a fist; punching; kicking; washing a child’s mouth out with soap; throwing down; choking; burning; scalding; and threatening with a knife or gun,” Gershoff said.