German parents go off corporal punishment

Wed Apr 8, 2009 2:24pm EDT
 
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - German parents almost never slap or spank their children anymore, according to a study published on Wednesday that showed they have almost completely rejected forms of corporal punishment.

"Violence against children is out," said the government's Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen at a news conference on the new study. "There's almost no corporal punishment anymore."

While most German parents once believed that "a good spank never hurt anyone," only a small 23-percent minority now support that approach, according to the study of 2,222 people conducted by pollster Renate Koecher of the Allensbach Institute.

Even though Germans were once renowned for their stern child-rearing, that has completely changed, von der Leyen said.

German parents nowadays prefer to use dialogue rather than physical punishment to correct wayward children, while traditional virtues such as strict punctuality, orderliness and discipline are no longer considered as important.

(Reporting by Franziska Scheven, editing by Paul Casciato)