Melbourne, Feb 22 (ANI): In a survey conducted on parents and how they bring up their children, a majority said that it was okay for children to be smacked for misbehaviour.
The wide-ranging study of more than 1000 mums and dads across NSW concluded that although the majority of young parents were seen as over-protective, most working mothers would prefer more time with their offspring, citing "financial constraints" as the reason they were not at home on a full-time basis.
During their formative years, most children were disciplined by both parents - although just 12 percent reported that fathers were "mostly responsible" for keeping their sons and daughters in line.
The survey revealed that while 83 percent of respondents to the Galaxy poll believed it was okay for children to be smacked for misbehaviour, punishments such as washing a child's mouth out with soap or hitting with a wooden spoon were no longer acceptable.
Child psychologist Dr John Irvine said soap in the mouth to stop a child swearing was not the answer.
"Send the child to their room and tell them to swear as much as they want behind closed doors - and get it all out," the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying, and if that didn't work a light smack wasn't a crime.
The survey also revealed most children were given access to a mobile phone by the age of 13 but had to wait until they had turned 14 before they were allowed to have computers in their bedrooms, go to the movies unsupervised or meet friends at the local shopping centre, despite being allowed to walk to school unaccompanied from the age of 11.
Northern Suburbs couple Louise and Peter Humphreys gave their son Oliver, 11, a mobile phone for safety.
"My son travels quite a long way each day by bus, so we gave him a phone at 10 so we could be in contact if things went wrong - like missing the bus," Humphreys said.
Their child playing combat computer games at a young age was not ideal for the Humphreys but they spent 10 years in Singapore where such games were much more acceptable among pre-teen children.
"He was always going to friends' houses or his cousins and they were (playing them), so we gave in," Humphreys said.
Dr Irvine said parents could turn that scenario into an advantage.
"If they say they're old enough to play them, the deal is they prove it in their behaviour by showing no effects and no aggression," he said.
Older teenagers were also unlikely to be able to have a partner stay with them overnight: 71 per cent of parents said they would "definitely not" allow a daughter's boyfriend to sleep over in her bedroom while, with boys, 65 percent were opposed to an overnight stay by a girlfriend.
"At least not until they're in a permanent, hard-working relationship that reflects love and respect," Dr Irvine said on the subject of sleepovers.
But parents seemed less concerned about policing their children's film-viewing habits.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents admitted that they had allowed children aged between 11 and 13 to watch MA-rated movies, despite guidelines recommending viewing by people over the age of 15. (ANI)