On smacking at seven

John and Elizabeth Newson were a husband and wife team of psychologists who undertook an extensive study of child development drawing on the experience of a number of families in the Nottingham area. They published the results of these ongoing studies in a series of books, the second of which is entitled Seven Years Old in the Urban Environment.

Among the many aspects of family life examined by the Newsons was child discipline. Given that the book was published in the 1960s, it is perhaps not surprising that many, if not most, of the mothers interviewed for the study were in favour of corporal punishment. What follows are some of their thoughts they shared with the researchers. The mothers were not identified by name in the book, but generally by their husband’s job.

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