Children who are smacked by their parents are less intelligent than their classmates, a new study shows.
Youngsters who are spanked regularly could suffer a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, which makes them more fearful and easily startled.
Experts said both these symptoms are associated with a lower IQ.
Professor Murray Straus, from the University of New Hampshire in the US, studied 1,500 children and recorded how often they were smacked over a four-year period before testing their IQ. “All parents want smart children. This research shows that avoiding spanking and correcting bad behaviour in other ways can help that happen. Even small amounts of spanking can make a difference.”
Last year a group of MPs failed in their attempts to introduce a ban on spanking, but campaigners insist it’s a cruel way to punish children.