The Italian Almanac
Around one Italian parent in four spanks or slaps their children when they misbehave, a study by Save the Children reported. Some 2% of the parents polled confessed to resorting to corporal punishment "almost every day" while around 23% said it was a "monthly occurrence". The report was at the center of a convention organized by the global charity in Rome on parenting habits in Italy
Physical discipline was most common among parents of children between three and five, around 38% of whom said they spanked their children at least once per month.Parents of teens between 14 and 18 were the least prone to raise their hand, with just 8% saying it happened once every couple of weeks and less than 1% calling it a daily fact of life. Just 19% of parents said they "never hit their children" because they disapproved of physical methods of discipline compared to 57% who simply didn't think they were necessary.
Taking away favorite toys or imposing restrictions was the most popular punishment in Italy, with some seven out of ten parents saying that was more effective than a spanking. Around 21% said that forcing kids to perform unpleasant chores worked the best while around 31% said docking their allowance was enough to get results. Psychologists at the convention, however, argued that "no punishment is necessarily better than another, what matters most is that they're in proportion to the crime".
"Disciplinary action is only useful it makes children understand what they've done wrong," said Dr. Federico Bianchi. "That's the only useful message you can send through punishments". "A spanking by itself can mean 'don't do this'. But a spanking everyday doesn't mean anything".