Attempts to “empower” children coupled with a lack of discipline in their lives are fuelling a raft of social ills from violence and anti-social behaviour to pre-teen alcoholism and underage pregnancy, the report suggested.

Its author psychologist Dr Aric Sigman said the problem spans the class divide, with young people from “aristocracy to underclass” urgently in need of a firm hand to guide them into adulthood.

He also called on politicians to act to restore adult authority.

He said: “Children of the spoilt generation are used to having their demands met by their parents and others in authority, and that in turn makes them unprepared for the realities of adult life. This has consequences in every area of society, from the classroom to the workplace, the streets to the criminal courts and rehabilitation clinics.

“Being spoilt is now classless - from aristocracy to underclass, children are now spoilt in ways that go far beyond materialism.

“This is partly the result of an inability to distinguish between being authoritative versus authoritarian, leaving concepts such as authority and boundaries blurred.

“And the consequences are measurable - Britain now has the highest rates of child depression, child-on-child murder, underage pregnancy, obesity, violent and anti-social behaviour and pre-teen alcoholism since records began.”

Measures introduced to protect children often have the opposite effect, undermining the powers of parents, teachers, police officers and other authority figures, he said.

Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, continued: “Authority is a basic health requirement in children’s lives. But, while children have become increasingly ‘empowered’ in terms of legislation and rights, far from being protected, they are actually suffering in ways that could never have been foreseen.”

“Parental permissiveness” was cited as a significant factor in the rising level of “parent battering” and abuse by children.

The report also pointed to a 44% rise over five years in attacks on policemen by children, toddlers becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards nursery school staff and a soaring number of false and malicious allegations made by pupils against teachers.

It laid some of the blame for the rise of the “spoilt generation” on “apologetic messaging” such as signs in shops asking teenagers not to be offended if they are asked for proof of age when they buy alcohol.

Another example was a leaflet handed out by Her Majesty’s Court Service which said: “To maintain a safe and secure environment, we would be grateful if you would not bring your knife into court in future.”

In his report, The Spoilt Generation, Dr Sigman called for changes in the law to reinstate adult authority and recommended the introduction of a mandatory “citizenship service” programme for young people.

“There is now an urgent moral and legal imperative incumbent upon legislators to help restore authority to children’s lives.

“Adults must be legally empowered to deal with both their own and other people’s children without the fear that they may be confronted or prosecuted for doing so,” he said.