What rubbish! More likely the lack of it causes psychological problems. But the study noted below allows no causal inferences either way. It says that children who are smacked more are more badly behaved. It does not seemed to have entered the addled heads of the do-gooders who wrote the report that maybe the kids who are smacked more are smacked BECAUSE they are badly behaved. Ignoring the obvious is no problem if you have ideological blinkers on
Smacking and yelling at children is causing a rise in mental health problems, with three-year-olds suffering from depression and anxiety. At least one in seven children are affected by a mental illness. Some psychologists are reporting a 60 per cent increase in the number of youngsters displaying anxiety and social issues.
A study from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute has found that harsh discipline and parental stress is increasing the risk of mental health troubles in young children. Stressed parents lashing out at their kids are behind the growing problem. Study author and child psychologist Dr Jordana Bayer said constant smacking and yelling at a child was fuelling abusive behaviour. "We are not talking about a parent who smacks just once," she said. "Remember when parents smack or hit their child, they might learn to do that as well. When parents are stressed, it's more challenging to be relaxed and respond to their children in ways they would like to respond to them."
Researchers have been following more than 700 toddlers, aged between seven months and three years, to reveal the risks of parenting practices. Children subjected to physical punishment are more likely to kick, hit and bite others and become socially withdrawn. Parents who continue to smack their abusive children could be setting them on a path of alcohol and drug abuse, crime, unemployment and suicide.
Dr Kimberley O'Brien, of the Quirky Kids Clinic at Woollahra, Sydney, said stressed parents were placing too much pressure on their children. "We have seen a 60 per cent increase in demand for our child anxiety classes in the past six months," she said.
Mental health has become one of the nation's biggest health issues. Psychologists are seeing toddlers biting their nails, while older children are wetting the bed and pulling out their eyelashes as a result of anxiety. Despite a push by experts to ban smacking, some adults are still using the "traditional" method to discipline children. Childhood Foundation CEO Joe Tucci said hitting youngsters had become outdated.
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