The report cites half a dozen pieces of research that demonstrate pretty conclusively that children do better in terms of mental health and social adjustment when their fathers as well as their mothers are involved in their upbringing. Children are 40 per cent more likely to suffer mental health problems if they do not have contact with one parent. Girls are more likely to have healthy relationships with men – as you’d expect – if their fathers are part of their lives.
According to research from Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in the US State of Michigan, children smacked before the age of six perform better at school when they are teenagers. They are also more likely to do voluntary work and to want to go to university than their peers.
Professor Gunnoe interviewed 2,600 teenagers about being spanked. She found that when participants’ answers were compared with their behavior, such as academic success, optimism about the future, antisocial behavior, violence and bouts of depression, those who had been physically disciplined only between the ages of two and six performed best on all the positive measures.
No surprises in either case, really – it’s about being loved, feeling secure, and having clear boundaries.