Make spanking illegal: Report

A growing body of research suggests corporal punishment poses risks to children and should be...

A growing body of research suggests corporal punishment poses risks to children and should be abolished. (Shutterstock)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:14 PM ET

Spanking children should be illegal in Canada, say researchers.

In an analysis published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Joan Durrant and social worker Ron Ensom examined the shift in attitudes about corporal punishment over the past 20 years, and they say the evidence is clear: not only does spanking not work but it is also detrimental to children.

They cite a body of research that has been growing since 1990 linking physical punishment with higher levels of aggression, as well as a higher incidence of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol use. Recent findings suggest physical punishment may slow cognitive development and adversely affect academic achievement.

"No study has found physical punishment to have a long-term positive effect, and most studies

have found negative effects," Durrant and Ensom said.

Currently, parents in Canada have the right to use spanking as a punishment as long as the child is older than two and younger than 12, and there are no hits to the head or with objects.

But both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics are against it, the researchers said.

They are calling on doctors to send parents a "Never spank!" message, and educate them on using positive discipline methods.

The researchers also want Section 43 of the Criminal Code - the legal justification for spanking - removed.

"The evidence is clear and compelling -- physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development."


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