Physical punishment explored: what do children think?
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A considerable body of knowledge has emerged over recent decades revealing the developmental outcomes associated with the physical punishment of children. However, researchers have only just begun to investigate what children think about physical punishment. The present study explored children’s assessments of parents’ motives for using physical punishment, as well as its fairness, justness and outcomes. The findings indicate that while children think physical punishment can be effective, they do not think it is the best way to teach children or that it is necessary in order for them to learn. They also think it has negative emotional consequences for children and parents and that it is morally wrong. Surprisingly, there were few indications that children’s thinking about these dimensions changes with age. These findings have implications for parent education and raise interesting questions for future research.