The secret? Get ’em while they’re young.

It found that children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school when they are teenagers.

They are also more likely to do voluntary work and to want to go to university than those who have never been physically disciplined.

But the study also revealed that children who are smacked after the age of six were more likely to exhibit behavioural problems, such as being involved in fights.

Smacking is currently banned in 20 European countries, including Germany, Spain and the Netherlands…

Two years ago, Britain was criticised by the UN for failing to ban smacking in the home, after experts said it was a form of abuse.

How unlike the UN to frown on discipline. I have no parental anecdotes to share here, but can report that I received the helpful corrective slap well past the age of six and suffered no discernible ill effects. Except, perhaps, for the whole beta-male thing, which, er, would explain the lack of parental anecdotes. Exit question: What makes six the magic number? My guess is that that’s when kids finally become intelligent enough to follow verbal commands semi-consistently, but I have a feeling I’m about to be disabused of that notion in the comments rather strenuously.