States (Xinhua) -- Spanking may be
increasingly harmful for children on a more global scale than
previously known, a University of Michigan (UM) study indicates.
The study used data collected by UNICEF in 62 countries, and
demonstrated that caregivers’ reports of spanking were related
to lower social development among 215,885 3 to 4-year-old
A parent or caregiver was asked in person if the child gets
along well with other children; if the child hits, kicks or
bites others; and if the child gets distracted easily.
The question about spanking concerned the physical discipline
used within the last month with the child or their sibling.
One-third of the respondents indicated they believed physical
punishment is necessary to bring up, raise or educate a child
Among the children studied, 43 percent were spanked, or
resided in a home where another child was spanked.
A child’s social development suffered in both cases in which
he or she was spanked or during times when a sibling had been
spanked, the study showed.
"It appears that in this sample ... spanking may do more harm
than good," said Garrett Pace, the study’s lead author and a
doctoral student of social work and sociology at UM.
Pace also noted that "reductions in corporal punishment might
do a great deal to reduce the burden of children’s mental health
and improve child development outcomes globally."
More effort to create policies that discourage spanking has
In fact, 54 countries have banned the use of corporal
punishment, which can only benefit children’s long term
well-being, Pace said.
Spanking is one of the most common forms of child discipline
used by parents worldwide.
The study has been released in the new online issue of
Child Abuse & Neglect.
Childhood spanking may
lead to adult mental health problem: study
CHICAGO United States (Xinhua) --
Children getting spanked may feel depressed,
attempt suicide, drink at moderate-to-heavy levels or use
illegal drugs when they grow up, a study of the University of
Michigan (UM) shows.
The study used data from the CDC-Kaiser ACE study, which
sampled more than 8,300 people aged from 19 to 97. Study
participants completed self-reports while seeking routine health
checks at an outpatient clinic.
They were asked about how often they were spanked in their
first 18 years, their household background and if an adult
inflicted physical abuse, say push, grab, slap or shove, or
emotional abuse, say insult or curse.
Nearly 55 percent of respondents reported being spanked.
Men were more likely to experience childhood spanking than
Compared to white respondents, minority respondents other
than Asians were more likely to report being spanked.
Those reporting exposure to spanking had increased odds of
depression and other mental health problems, the study showed.
Researchers note that as both spanking and physical abuse
involve the use of force and infliction of pain, as well as
being linked with similar mental health outcomes, it is
important to prevent not just child maltreatment, but also harsh
parenting before it occurs.
"This can be achieved by promoting evidence-based parenting
programs and policies designed to prevent early adversities, and
associated risk factors," said Shawna Lee, UM associate
professor of social work.
"Prevention should be a critical direction for public health
initiatives to take."
The study and its findings have been published in Child Abuse
and Neglect, a monthly social science journal covering child
United States professor
accused of spanking female student to resign
WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) --
Mahmoud Hamad, an associate professor
on political science at Drake University in the U.S. state of
Iowa, will be allowed to resign over accusation of threatening
to spank a female student, local media reported Friday.
An internal investigation by the university found Hamad, 42,
"physically, sexually and verbally intimidated female students
and did exploit the power differential that existed between him
and his female students," according to a FOX News report.
"Drake University is committed to the safety and well-being
of all students, and especially those who have the courage to
come forward with a complaint," Jared Bernstein, director of the
university’s public relations, told Fox News in a statement.
Nickey Jafari, 24, a graduate of the university, was the
first student to speak out about Hamad’s misconduct.
She wrote a Facebook post last year amid the #MeToo movement,
accusing that during a student trip to Egypt in 2011, Hamad, as
the group’s leader and instructor, "asked her to sit on his lap"
and she did twice.
The professor also reportedly asked Jafari to call him "Dad"
and threatened to "spank" her if she did not receive all A’s.
Investigators found Jafari’s claims "credible" and found the
professor "violated university policies through unwelcome
advances and unwelcome verbal and physical conduct and
intimidation aimed at female students because of their sex."
Hamad’s resignation will be effective June 1.
He is now placed on a leave of absence and "has no teaching
or academic responsibilities" at the college.
The university did not refer the case to the Des Moines
Majority of French says no
to "spanking law"
PARIS France (Xinhua) --
A minority of French, or about 30 percent,
supported banning the corporal punishment of children via
legislation, according to the results of a latest survey.
Only 27 percent of men and 33 percent of women showed support
for banning spanking or slapping children in France, according
to a survey conducted by Le Figaro, the result of which was
released on Friday.
The survey polled 1,050 French adults.
On March 4, the Council of Europe, an international
organization that defends human rights in Europe, ruled that
France is in violation of European rules regarding the use of
corporal punishment for children.
The council found France not in compliance with the Revised
European Social Charter, an agreement signed by 43 states in
Europe, on the grounds that "smacking" as punishment is not
"prohibited in a sufficiently clear, binding and precise manner
under French law or case-law."
The council made the ruling about two years after the British
charity Approach, a child protection organization, lodged a
complaint accusing France of violating the European Social
The complaint revived a debate over corporal punishment in
France, where smacking or spanking is nothing illegal except in
school or in prison, but the right of parents to correct their
Public opinion has been divided over the necessity to ban
violence against children through legislation, with the majority
of French adults fail to agree with the ruling of the Council of
Europe, several media reports have revealed.
Laurence Rossignol, France’s Secretary of State for the
family, said in an interview earlier that she does not think
legislation on banning corporal punishment of children is
Russia-Finland spat over
children’s rights deepens
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Moscow should undertake tough measures
against Finland to change Helsinki’s approach to the rights of
Russian families there, the Russian children’s rights
commissioner said Tuesday.
"Finland’s position toward Russian mothers would not change
unless the tough economic, political and judicial measures are
undertaken," Pavel Astakhov wrote in a special report sent to
President Vladimir Putin.
Astakhov, who was attending the 6th Congress of Children’s
Rights Commissioners in Kazan, called to "stop exporting"
Russian children abroad.
Finnish social services last week removed four children,
including a week-old newborn, from their Russian parents and has
since been denying the parents and diplomats access to the
youngsters, Russian media reported.
Finnish officials said the removal was undertaken to protect
the children from alleged abuse after a 6-year-old girl
complained in September that her father has spanked her.
On Monday, Astakhov described the Finnish approach to Russian
citizens "humiliating" and proposed to declare Finland "a zone
dangerous for Russian families with children."
Also Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Helsinki of
"provocative non-constructive behavior" following the refusal of
Finnish officials to meet with Russian diplomats over the fate
of the four Russian children.
"We do not see the Finnish authorities’ readiness for a
dialogue to secure the rights of children in the mixed or
Russian-speaking families," the ministry said in a statement,
adding that removing the children from their Russian parents has
become systematical in Finland.
Brazilians oppose bill
forbidding spanking of children
RIO DE JANEIRO Brazil (Xinhua) --
The majority of Brazilians oppose a
recent bill that forbids corporal punishments of children,
according to a survey published on Monday.
The bill, proposed by the Brazilian government two weeks ago,
prohibits all sorts of corporal punishments and other "cruel and
degrading treatment" of children.
It is now awaiting a vote in the Brazilian Congress.
Among 10,905 respondents, 54 percent are against the new
bill, while 36 percent in favor, and the remaining 10 percent
undecided, according to the Datafolha survey published by
Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
The survey has a margin or error of 3 percentage points.
The survey, conducted between July 20 and 22, also shows that
Brazilian women use physical punishments more often than men.
A total of 69 percent of mother respondents said they have
spanked their kids at least once, compared to 44 percent of
Some 72 percent of the respondents (74 percent of men and 69
percent of women) said they have suffered from some kind of
corporeal punishments in their childhood, and a total of 16
percent were subjected to frequent spanking.
becomes focus of debate in face of less obedient students
BEIJING China (Xinhua) --
Confucius, one of China’s greatest educators, who
lived about 2,500 years ago, might miss the good old days if he
was teaching in today’s schools.
He would be puzzled by the regulation issued by China’s
Ministry of Education late last month, which authorized class
teachers to criticize students for misbehavior.
"Isn’t it something taken for granted?" asked a netizen in a
post on China’s popular virtual community www.tianya.com on
Wang Dinghua, deputy director of the ministry’s basic
education department, told Xinhua the new regulation aimed to
firmly support teachers in managing increasingly rebellious
Most discussions about the regulation on the Internet focused
on whether teachers are losing once-unshakable authority.
China has a time-honored tradition of respect for teachers.
Students used to be perfectly obedient in the classroom.
For example, in a tale of the Song Dynasty (960-1276)
40-year-old Yang Shi, during a visit to his master Cheng Yi,
waited outside in the heavy snow, unwilling to wake his master
up from an afternoon nap.
It’s a different picture now.
Qiao Liang, a high school class teacher at Tianjin’s famed
Yaohua Secondary School, said students were much less
"Once a student slammed the door on me and walked away after
I pointed out his misbehavior," said the 26-year-old man.
But in the prestigious school the students’ behavior was
comparatively good , he said.
"I heard students in some schools played poker in class, or
threatened teachers when being criticized," he said.
Li Fengping, who has been a teacher for 20 years, said
students were more rebellious than ever.
"Most students have huge egos now. Even if they show respect,
they don’t really listen to your words," she said.
In such circumstances, more and more teachers ignored
behavior and attitude problems and were inclined to focus on
teaching, which is worrying education experts.
Xu Zhiyong, a Beijing Normal University expert specializing
in education policy, said:
"To point out students’ wrongdoing and help them correct it
is an essential part of education."
Parents agree. Guo Liyuan, mother of a 10-year-old boy, said
so long as teachers mean no harm, they had the right to
"If a teacher backs away from correcting students’ mistakes,
he’s not doing his job," she said.
"There is nothing new in the new regulation.
"The Education Law, which took effect in 1995, said the same
thing," said Xu.
"The ministry is merely reasserting teachers’ rights and
Not only the students but also parents have doubts about
Jie Yahua, the mother of a 14-year-old girl, said:
"We expect teachers to correct our kids, but the real problem
Her daughter was stalked by a boy from her class.
The mother kept it secret from her daughter’s class teacher
after she found out about it.
"I was afraid the teacher would not be able to handle it
"If so, it might have a negative impact on my daughter and
the boy," she said.
Parents now are paying as much attention to teachers’ skills
as they do to their own parenting.
Among the country’s 10 million teachers, not every one lives
up to the expectations of parents.
"As long as teachers use correct methods, we are more than
happy to cooperate," Guo Liyuan said.
But her boy was once spanked by a teacher.
Teachers are aware of current changes.
"We are very careful about the words we use for fear of
harming a student’s pride.
"We also tailor the necessary punishment according to
different students," said Qiao Liang.
"The ministry rule does not mean teachers have lost their
authority," Xu Zhiyong said.
"It just shows our society has progressed to regulate
teachers by laws and rules.
"They can not do whatever they like to students.
"The previous teacher-centered education has shifted to a
"Now, we respect and pay greater attention to the personality
"But this can not go to extremes in indulging their
Spanking and Child Development: We Know Enough Now
To Stop Hitting Our Children - Elizabeth T. Gershoff
More Harm Than Good: A Summary of Scientific Research on the
Intended and Unintended Effects of Corporal Punishment on
Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or
or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or