Spanking of children drops to 35pc of parents in 2017, according to long-term study

THE WASHINGTON POST – The proportion of parents who spank their children has declined from 50 per cent in 1993 to 35 per cent in 2017, according to a new report in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. In that 25-year span, University of Minnesota researchers surveyed 16,390 adults when they were age 35 and had at least one child two to 12-years-old.

The decline in spanking as punishment was slightly greater among men than women (dropping from 52 to 36 per cent among men, and from 48 to 35 per cent among women). Although the prevalence of spanking dropped 15 percentage points overall, it declined more among parents of two- to four-year-olds – from 60 per cent in 1993 to 39 per cent in 2017.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of spanking and other forms of corporal punishment to discipline children. While such punishments may put an immediate stop to bad behaviour, studies have shown an increased risk for long-term negative effects, including increased aggressive behaviour, anxiety and depression, the academy said.