THREE in five parents in Ireland have slapped their children.
However three quarters of adults do not believe it is an effective method of discipline and 57pc would support a total ban.
A new survey by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Childrens Rights Alliance highlights the changing attitudes to corporal punishment They are calling on the government to follow the example of 16 other EU countries by making it illegal to slap children.
The survey found that only one pc of parents slapped children frequently. Other methods of discipline such as withdrawal of privileges, toys and games were more popular as were timeouts for small children and grounding for older ones.
ISPCC director of services Caroline O'Sullivan said international research was overwhelming that slapping children was harmful to their physical, emotional and mental well being.
There was absolutely no evidence of it being beneficial in any way, she said.
Tanya Ward of the Children's Rights Alliance said that in countries where a ban was introduced it did not result in the courts being clogged with cases as parents tended to self police.
The government had dragged its heels on this saying a ban was not necessary, but in other countries it had been very effective.