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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 12:57 GMT
Most parents hit children - NSPCC
NSPCC ad campaign
The TV campaign is to highlight parents taking it out on children
One in six parents of young children loses their temper with their child almost every other day, a survey by children's charity NSPCC suggests.

Six out of 10 parents of children aged up to four said they had hit their child and 48% of these admitted it was an overreaction, the survey indicated.

One thousand parents were surveyed as the charity launched a campaign to try to help parents keep their tempers.

By law, mild smacking is allowed under a "reasonable chastisement" defence.

However, any punishment which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts could result in a conviction for assault.

Take deep calm breaths; if you can put your child in a safe place; and take a little bit of time out if you can
Lucy Thorpe
NSPCC policy advisor

The campaign will feature across the media and includes a television advertisement.

It shows a number of people in everday situations taking their anger out on tube doors and in the gym, culminating with a mother hitting a child.

NSPCC policy adviser Lucy Thorpe said: "We want to make parents more aware that when they feel they are becoming angry that they may not be able to keep calm and that they may harm their child."

NSPCC ad campaign
In the campaign, people are seen slamming items in fits of temper

A build-up of stress can contribute to situations which can lead to hitting, she told BBC's Breakfast.

"There are physical signs and also things that may go through your mind.

"Your muscles may tense, you may feel 'I'm going to crack in a minute, I can't bear any more of this.'

"If you really do feel like that, then take deep calm breaths; if you can, put your child in a safe place; and take a little bit of time out if you can."

Parenting classes

The charity urged parents to learn more about parenting, but also for other people who know families with young children to offer support.

The NSPCC provides advice for parents on the alternatives to hitting through its helplines, its 38 family centres and a range of publications.

About 50,000 volunteers, called Partners in Campaigning, will promote anger management messages to parents in their local communities.

The partners will be sent promotion posters for supply to doctors surgeries, health centres and other community focal points.

The charity also called on the government to invest more in positive parenting programmes so that parents can learn about their child's behaviour and how they can respond to it.

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21 Jun 04 |  Politics

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