Smack your child ? You are an Abuser

Do you smack your children? If so, you could soon be punished by law if lobbyists in EU have their way. (READ MORE). Let me pitch in. There is no excuse in this world that can justify assaulting a child in the name of discipline! Whatever the circumstances. I have three children and I have never laid a finger on one of them. This I am proud to say.

One reason for this post {apart from my long held views} is that I watched an extremely interesting debate on television the other day concerning making smacking a child a legally punishable offence and effectively outlawing it. The views expressed by the opposing sides were extremely interesting. On one side, a parenting expert who suggested that there are many other ways of disciplining children and the emphasis should be on promoting appropriate behaviour and on the other, a lawyer {who had no children} saying that he did not want to be dictated to by “big Government” and wanted the choice to smack if he wanted to! As background, the UK is apparently one of only four European countries who do not deem smacking as an offence. Calls by the EU to do this follows a total ban in France and the EU says the UK should fall in line with other European countries or face breaking EU law. At present, a parent is allowed to use force against their child “with reasonable constraint without leaving marks or scars”. A very open statement that I am sure is open to interpretation and challenge. It begs the question…Why would any sane person see smacking as an appropriate form of discipline?

As the show went on, viewers were invited to express their views via social media and some of the comments chosen to be shown state quite clearly what a huge issue this is. A selection :

” A love tap on the back of the legs is sometimes needed” { What on earth is a love tap?!!}

” I used to get a good clip around the ear as a youngster, never did me any harm!”

“Smacking is the ultimate boundary..it shows children limits of behaviour and what won’t be tolerated”

The host of this show, Piers Morgan, then went on to say that he smacked his sons but finds it hard to do the same to his daughter!! One can only imagine how his children and the ones subjected to the treatment described in the comments above see this.

One issue we must keep in mind here is that smacking is never a proactive, preventative measure. It is mostly done in a reactive, anger fuelled way in response to inappropriate behaviour by the child and often accompanied by loud voices and shouting. I was smacked frequently as a child. By my father with hand and belt and by my mother with her hand and anything she might have had in her hand at the time. Was this an appropriate response to anything I might have done? Hell no! All it did was violently close down the issue without resolving it or teaching me anything useful. Yes, I may have avoided doing that “thing” again in the future but I lived in constant fear of being assaulted and believe me, they were the type who lashed out and asked questions after. My fear came out in other ways.

Unfortunately, for most parents, smacking is the easy way to discipline children and we all know as humans, we often look for the easiest way to carry out a task. I do realise while writing this that many parents are overwhelmed, no parent is perfect and the world doesn’t always work the way we want to. However, when you bring a child into this world, you have the ultimate responsibility to create a safe, loving and fruitful environment for your child to learn and grow. If your issues are hindering that, find a solution. If you do not know how to parent, learn. However, subjecting your child to corporal punishment in the name of parenting or “tough love”is a cop-out and an excuse. It will produce an adult full of fear and one that is likely to continue the abuse with his or her own children.

I am of the firm belief that any parent can learn positive discipline techniques that are designed to foster growth and health of a child. It takes time, effort and education. It might mean spending less time watching TV or staring into a smartphone but taking this time and making this effort is essential. Your child will thank you for it. For more information on positive discipline, follow the links below.

Positive Discipline Part 1

Positive Discipline Part 2

Positive Discipline Part 3

3 Thoughts

  1. i was not just smacked, I was abused by my father.
    my teachers (in primary school) didn’t just smack, they beat you.
    i know things have changed since the 70’s… but what happened to me leaves a long lasting metal scar.

  2. I was spanked quite a few times growing up. My dad did most if it. He was in the military, 6’4 and quite intimidating to say the least. He didn’t use a belt, he reminded my brother and I that his hand was just fine. He even had a catch phrase “This is going to hurt you more than it’s going to hurt me”. Did I think of it as abuse? No. Did I become a parent who spanks their children? No. And for a number of reasons. When my oldest child was 5 or 6, I spanked her once. That was all it took for me to realize, I didn’t like it. What did spanking teach me as a child? Nothing positive. It taught me how to be better at not getting caught. I didn’t “learn” any lessons about my behavior and what was appropriate. I learned how to be better at not getting caught. As an adult, I think that using violence to “show” my child the error of their ways IS abusive. If they smart off and I respond with a pop to their mouth, that just doesn’t make sense to me in the scheme of things. Doing so would demonstrate to my kids that if someone does something they don’t like, putting their hands on them is an appropriate reaction. It most certainly IS NOT.

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