Mother Charged After Using Wooden Spoon to Discipline Daughter, 9

Prosecutors in Perth, Australia, have charged a mother with common assault after she hit her daughter with a wooden spoon on the buttocks hard enough that it caused a bruise when disciplining the girl.

According to WAToday, the woman, 35, struck her nine-year-old child after she defied an instruction not to remove hamburger meat, which contained worming tablets and was intended for the family's pet dog, from the fridge.

The girl, who has behavioral issues including ADHD, ate the meat. The court also heard that the mother had been a victim of domestic violence, which the girl had witnessed.

The mother's lawyer, Stephen Preece, called the wooden spoon incident "a moment of frustration." The judge at Perth Magistrates Court gave her a suspended $525 fine and a spent conviction for using more force than necessary.

Recent research published in the journal JAMA Network Open found a link between slapping and hitting children and antisocial behavior in adulthood. In the U.S., as many as 80 percent will have been spanked by the time they start kindergarten.

The study collected data on 36,309 U.S. adults between April 2012 to June 2013. Its authors found that 47.3 percent of antisocial behavior in the U.S. could be linked to physical discipline and/or maltreatment in childhood.

Another study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, authored by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, found a correlation between children who are hit or spanked and the physical abuse of romantic partners in adulthood.

Researchers followed 758 Texas high school students from when they were in the 9th and 10th grade to the ages of 19 and 20 years old.

A one-unit increase in corporal punishment was associated with a 29 percent increase in perpetrating dating violence, results which stayed the same even when accounting for those who had suffered child abuse.

In March last year, Arkansas students who walked out of their high schools in protest against gun violence against children were beaten with a wooden paddle by teachers as punishment.

In some school districts of Arkansas, corporal punishment of schoolchildren by teachers is legal, though only with the express permission of parents. Often, a wooden paddle is used to beat the legs or backsides of rule-breaking students.

Arkansas is not the only state that allows this practice in its education system. In October last year, an Oklahoma school principal who spanked two students with a wooden paddle so hard they bruised severely faced police charges over the incident, in which he allegedly used "excessive force."

Australia Perth wooden spoon mother beat daughter
The magistrate court in Perth, Australia, where a mother was found to have used unnecessary force in hitting her daughter with a wooden spoon to discipline her. Google Street View