Current Russian parents less likely to use corporal punishment

Study by Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM): current parents less likely to use corporal punishment on their children

And young parents (up to 24 years old) do not use corporal punishment at all.


According to a new study by VTsIOM, the main approaches to bringing up children among today’s parents involve giving instructions and raising awareness about moral issues. One in two parents of underage children will limit screen time for digital devices, as well as time spent watching TV and going out.

Corporal punishment in the form of smacking, spanking or slapping was used by 13 per cent of respondents; 7 per cent of people said they used a belt. However, young parents (18–24 years old) maintained that they did not use such methods.

There has been a gradual move away from physical approaches to upbringing towards discussing, convincing and setting boundaries. Parenting models are becoming more humane and democratic. There is an understanding that violent methods prevent trusting relationships with children from being established.

According to the study: “The intergenerational phenomenon of passing down one’s own experiences of upbringing within the family still remains relatively strong. If a person has experienced a particular parenting method as a child, they are more likely to use it with their children. For example, people who were punished with a belt are 3.5 times more likely to use it on their own children.”

Aleksandr Spivak is chair of the board at the National Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He said that the National Institute for Child Welfare conducted a study on the same topic in January 2019. It found that 23 per cent of participants who were parents said they used a belt, and 43 per cent smacked or slapped their children.

These studies cannot be compared directly, as the wording of the questions and the measurement scales are not completely equivalent. However, the substantive conclusions are similar: discussions focussed on moral issues predominate, and young parents are more humane.

“People’s attitudes and parenting methods are stable and reproducible across new generations. That said, changes in social consciousness that tend to improve our approaches to bringing up children are still being determined, albeit quite slowly. Discussions about moral issues are the most frequently occurring change, followed by restrictions on internet use, devices and television, and being sent to the sin bin. Belts and gentle spanking or slapping are declared less frequently. Young parents with underage children are more humane, while the older generation is more prone to a harsh approach,” Spivak said.


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