Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Should We Smack Our Children?

Should this take the place of smacking? Via

We've all had a moment when we've been attempting to sip a Cappuccino at a cafe in peace and quiet, or trying to enjoy our Singapore Slings upon an overseas flight when our palm starts twitching as some little brat is screaming their head off, and you think, for a second, "if that was my child..."

I like many believe in discipline but I also believe that there is a very fine line between discipline and abuse.

I guess we all need to take a step back and think about what the purpose of "smacking" a child is, in order to fully understand this debate.

 I think most would agree that discipline is a way of teaching a person right from wrong.

I guess, then, if we think of it this way, it's extremely important that we're not teaching our children that it's okay to go around and hit others, if you disagree with their point of view, or have different ideas about what is right and wrong.

This then leads me to my next point; what is 'okay' to use and where is 'okay' to smack a child?

By this I mean, is it okay to use your hand, but not a polyester black pipe? Is it okay to hit a child on the backside but not their face? Is it okay to use full force to produce a hand imprinted welt or just enough to bring about a little stinging sensation?

I guess it brings us back to the question, what is the purpose of discipline?

Is it to install fear in a child?

Is it an authoritative stance by a parent? 

I bought the topic up with a friend the other day over a coffee, both of who, are yet to be parents.

I was strongly for discipline, but in moderation and as a last resort, never with full force, and only ever on the backside, thigh or hand. I also believe that discipline must go hand in hand with verbal verification of what the child is doing wrong, so that they understand why they are being punished.

My friend on the other hand, bought up something that I guess I hadn't really thought about in the great debate. She said that she strongly believes in consistency as a way of disciplining children. By this she means that if a child is doing something wrong, then the parent must explain to the child what they are doing, and follow up with a consequence e.g. if you continue to behave in this way, then you will not be able to use technology for the next week. She strongly believed that if parents stuck to their word, and followed through on their consequences, then children would soon learn the boundaries, what acceptable behaviour and language is, and how to respect things and others, without having to physically reprimand a child.

This would only work however, if a parent is consistent, and follows through with their 'threats'. Children are smart, and will play on a parents weakness.

My friends point of view definitely opened up my eyes, and even made me question my own stance.

My sister, who is a childcare worker, also believes that it's a matter of teaching children to make the right choices. If a child is making a bad decision, then it's important to pull them up, ask them to explain their behaviour and to ask them what they think the consequences may be e.g. Parent - what do you think you were doing wrong? Child - running with a lolly pop in my mouth. Parent - why do you think that is bad? Child - I could hurt myself. Parent - what would be a good choice? Child - to walk instead.

That way children are identifying what is classifed as bad behaviour, having to think about the consequences and are then thinking about making better choices to replace this behaviour.

I guess we have to think about whether children really do learn anything from being physically punished. Once the stinging has worn off, do they even remember what they did wrong and why?

I guess it's hard to judge another persons parenting, and at the end of the day, the primary caregivers for the child are the ones who make the final decision, but what we really need to think carefully about is what we are trying to achieve by 'smacking' our children.

Personally, I think teaching a child right from wrong and how to act and behave in society requires consistency, explanations, setting examples in our own behaviour, following through on consequences, and if all else fails, the occasional smack to teach children that in the big wide world, there will be ramifications if you don't follow rules and regulations that are much worse then a slight sting to the leg.

If all else fails, you could always do a Homer Simpson! Via
What do you think?

Should we 'smack' children?

Where should be 'smack' children?

What's okay to use to 'smack' children?

What is the purpose of 'smacking' a child?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

1 comment:

Jess said...

The method we use for our 3 year old is similar to the method used by her family day care lady. The naughty corner. She absolutely hates the naughty corner. She has to stand in the corner, facing the wall, with no food, no drink, no toys and no tv. She has to be quiet. Once she's quiet she can come out, but when she comes out she has to explain to us, with our help of course, what she did wrong and why she ended up in the corner.

I believe this has given her a understanding of what is right and wrong.

We very rarely smack her, the corner is normally enough, but on rare occasions that she has been extremely naughty and the corner is not effective, she will get a smack on the bottom.

We try to instill in to her, that we are the parents and she is the child. She needs to listen to learn.

Smacking is fine, didn't do me any harm. But as you mentioned, there is a very fine line between smacking and abuse.