The smacking debate is probably a more modern debate. Historically smacking has always existed as a form of punishment for children. And I’m sure many of us were smacked as children, or knew children that were smacked. It was never anything unusual, just a disciplinary action. In my Dad’s day he was hit with rulers and canes at school so really we all got off quite light in comparison.
Obviously there are different forms of smacking. I’m talking about spanking bottoms and slapping hands as opposed to full on child beating which is truly horrific and should involve lengthy jail terms.
As a child my parents smacked me, and in all fairness to them it didn’t do me much harm and certainly kept me in check. My Mum used to smack our hands to stop us from touching items that were dangerous or breakable when we were truly little, or threaten us with a smack if we were misbehaving as we got older. The strange thing is that neither of my parents would ever lay a finger on any of their Grandchildren, and I know if I told my Mum I smacked my Son I’d be in serious trouble. Different standards with parenting when it comes to Grandchildren isn’t it?
Luckily I won’t ever be in trouble because I don’t believe in smacking. While I can perhaps see its uses to prevent repeat bad behaviour, it doesn’t really work for me and I couldn’t justify the guilt of hurting my child like that. I think sharp words or ignoring bad behaviour are more effective methods, and as he gets older I’m sure I’ll think of ways to discipline that will never involve me hurting my child. I think to smack often means you’ve lost control as a parent and the action speaks more about the parent than the child- but losing control is something I do understand because children do test the boundaries.
Even though I would never smack a child I’ve come to the notion that smacking is actually a natural response to being angry and therefore banning it is just ridiculous. It’s an instinct. The reason I’ve come to this conclusion? Even though I don’t smack my Son he has learnt to smack me. He hasn’t learnt to smack me through watching and learning it’s just an instinct he has when he’s angry at me because I’m not doing something he wants. In the same way he’ll hit his hands on the floor out of anger, he will smack. If this is a natural response in a child then who are we to say a parent can’t use this same response to get through to their child in the same way. (Ps if anyone knows how to stop my Son from smacking me I’d be much obliged for your response- ignoring is my current method). Apparently smacking violates a young person’s right, but until a child is 18 they are under the guidance and care of their parents and therefore it’s up to the parents and not the government to judge the method of parenting.
As parents we are watched wherever we go and judged by our parenting standards from people who don’t walk in our shoes. If another Mum wants to smack her child that is up to her, her child could be in one of those moods where they’re being really difficult to handle. But if another Mum is beating her child in front of me that’s a whole different ball game (try and stop me).
As it stands I think the current law suits the modern-day parenting system- no carer or any person other than the parents are allowed to smack. But if a child is ‘beaten’ that is considered an offence. I think to push forward with trying to ban parents from smacking just infringes on our rights as parents to choose how we decide to raise our children. I don’t think we need anymore ways to be told how we should or shouldn’t parent.