Julie Morgan AM for Cardiff North
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Julie Morgan AM for Cardiff North

Survey shows attitudes to physical punishment changing

There has been a significant reduction in the number of parents of young children in Wales who said they smack their children to manage their behaviour, according to new research published by the Welsh Government today (July 11, 2018).

Only a minority of parents said they are comfortable with the idea of physically punishing their child now, according to the research – you can download a PDF of the results here: gov.wales/parental-attitudes-towards-managing-young-childrens-behaviour

Attitudes are changing in Wales

Julie Morgan welcomed the Welsh Government parental attitudes research saying: "This gives us concrete proof that public attitudes to the physical punishment of children are changing for the better in Wales.

"It is becoming more and more obvious to parents that hitting children doesn't work and it doesn't help them learn – we know that if they are hit, children remember the smack and not what they did wrong.

"I'm really pleased that parents and carers are becoming more confident in using a range of other strategies to teach children right from wrong.

"It's obvious that most people now find the prospect of physically harming children unacceptable in the modern age. I look forward to the Welsh Government's legislation on this to clarify the law in Wales," she said.

Research findings

  • The 'Parental Attitudes Towards Managing Young Children's Behaviour 2017' research found 11% of parents with young children reported they had smacked their children in the last 6 months as a way of managing their behaviour. This figure has halved from 22% in 2015.
  • The research shows 81% of parents disagreed that "it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child", a significant increase from 71% in 2015.

  • The number of parents who reported they may smack a child under certain circumstances has fallen from 44% to 31%. Within this, only 5% reported they are comfortable with the idea and would do it when necessary, with a further 26% not liking the idea but saying they will if nothing else works.

Read more on this topic

The Guardian: 'Some parents call it a loving smack, I call it violence' by Susanna Rustin