Parents must have the right to smack their kids

Scotland’s ban on smacking is an assault on parental freedom.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
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Topics Politics UK

Scotland has banned smacking. MSPs decided this afternoon, by a majority of 84 to 29, to make it a criminal offence for parents to discipline their children with a slap. What a nasty, authoritarian decision. This is an outrageous intrusion into the sovereignty of the family and into parents’ freedom to decide for themselves how to raise their children. It is yet another expression of the PC middle classes’ arrogant presumption that they know better than the rest of us how children should be brought up and how households should be run. Anyone who believes in freedom and good parenting should oppose this meddling law.

The quinoa mums and blogging dads who make up the commentariat and the political elite have always looked with snobbish horror at parents who smack. Smacking offends their parenting-manual worldview, in which kids must always be surrounded in cotton wool and must be told every five minutes that they are wonderful individuals, whose self-esteem is the most important thing in the world. To these people discipline itself is bad news. They might occasionally use the naughty step against their offspring, but a clip round the ear? A smack on the bum? A stern word in the ear of the kid who plays up in public? No way. That’s fascism, right?

They look upon working-class, immigrant and religious families that tend to use traditional methods of discipline as criminal, effectively. And now, in Scotland, they will be criminal. The new law forbids even ‘reasonable’ physical force against children. It is called the ‘equal protection’ act because it will give children the same protection from ‘assault’ that adults enjoy. A mum isn’t allowed to walk into Asda and smack an adult who is doing their weekly shop, so why should she be allowed to smack her own kid during a trip to Asda? That’s the infantile thinking behind this insidious ban.

The elitist anti-smacking crusaders make a basic error. They think the smacking of children is assault, that it is an act of violence. It absolutely is not. Parents smack their children out of love, not hate; out of concern for their welfare, not as an attack on their welfare. Yes, some parents beat their children, often badly, and there are laws in place to deal with these acts of violence. But a clip, a tap, a smack or an occasional whack with a slipper are not acts of violence – they are acts of disciplinarian concern and love.

The idea that you aren’t allowed to smack adults and therefore you shouldn’t be allowed to smack children is ridiculous. Adults do many things with children that they would never do with adults. They clean their bums, send them to their room, block adult content from their computers, forbid them from wearing certain clothes. We do these things to children because they are dependants – they need guidance and socialisation and sometimes control. And smacking is, or should be, a perfectly acceptable part of that process.

The anti-smacking zealots and so-called parenting experts claim that kids who get smacked will come to think that violence is an acceptable response to difficult situations. Nonsense. I was smacked. Regularly. I needed it, too. Virtually everyone I knew in the immigrant, working-class community I grew up in was smacked. Did we become violent maniacs? Of course not. In fact, we came to a clear understanding of how one should behave. We learned self-control and respect. Our parents hit us because they loved us and wanted us to be properly socialised as boundary-respecting adults. And they were successful.

Parents should use whatever methods of discipline work best for them and their families. It ought to be none of the state’s business. Scotland is effectively disciplining its own citizens, its own adults, and that is a far more horrible thing than a kid occasionally getting a smack from a parent who loves him.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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Comments

Martin Power

9th October 2019 at 9:49 am

‘Parents should use whatever methods of discipline work best for them’ – What a truly dipstick statement to allow parents what suits them. I agree with mild chastisement but that statement alone is carte blanche

Willie Penwright

6th October 2019 at 9:11 am

Those who argue that ‘smacking’ is acceptable, though hitting isnt, need to define it more. A blow to the face or head can be a smack. Repeated ‘smacks’ can be serious assault. Do you really want the law, the courts and the police to be involved in what is or isn’t a ‘smack’? It is much simpler and better for society if the laws applicable to adults in this regard are also applicable to children. A blow is a blow.
Here is an Israeli officer ‘smacking’ soldiers for sheltering from Palestine children throwing stones. Israeli soldiers kill more children each year than any other army.
https://www.rt.com/news/470273-idf-officer-slaps-soldiers-video/

Jerry Owen

6th October 2019 at 10:21 am

A smack is open handed and is done with just enough force to shock a child. It’s a matter of common sense.
If a child runs into the road you catch it and smack it. It then knows running into the road is bad…you could potentially save it’s life in future .

Asif Qadir

6th October 2019 at 11:36 am

This is no accident, babydoll.

https://youtu.be/qs5Zm2fFxjU

You have to go.

Asif Qadir

6th October 2019 at 1:11 pm

Actually we is rhe pussycat dolls, my babtcreep.

https://youtu.be/YNSxNsr4wmA

You is the babydoll. How you feel now?

Asif Qadir

6th October 2019 at 1:16 pm

Save ur breath for someone else, babydoll.

https://youtu.be/CozaPTqCC5Q

I know the score.

antoni orgill

5th October 2019 at 5:39 pm

what is all this stuff about greenness and child spanking?

Asif Qadir

5th October 2019 at 4:12 pm

Jerry Oven- Kraut.

You need to understand that this is going worldwide, so here is an SOS for you.

https://youtu.be/cvChjHcABPA

Anna Borrence

5th October 2019 at 4:16 pm

I troll the troll’s, babydoll. Ur not welcome here anymore.

Asif Qadir

6th October 2019 at 11:45 am

This is an international message.

https://youtu.be/_d5dPYHi17k

Here is my list of demands –

1) Answer your phone.

2) I need free and unfettered access to DumbAzPee and Doiley42. Especially DumbAzPee

Ven Oods

5th October 2019 at 3:53 pm

I suppose the outcome could be parents handing kids over to Sturgeon, saying that they’re not able to control them legally, so they’re now her problem. Of course, she’ll raise them to vote SNP. I wonder if that’s what’s behind it?

Willie Penwright

5th October 2019 at 9:04 am

Ireland banned smacking in 2015 and a good thing too. If the only way you can guide and steer a child to behave in a socially acceptable way is to hit out, then society must stop you.
If you love your child, or dog, or whatever/whoever you have the privilege to mind and protect, then violence is giving the wrong message. Violence is no longer acceptible as a way to get women to obey men – except in a certain violent religion – and it is not acceptable in the home.
I once saw a man strike a child in a supermarket (in Ireland before the law change) and there was outrage among the other customes so that the bully had to leave the shop. I’m sure that child is old enough now to strike out when he thinks its is justified.

Jerry Owen

5th October 2019 at 10:56 am

I’m not aware that this article suggests .. and let’s use the proper word ‘smacking’ is the only way to chastise a child.
Like most on this thread opposed to ‘smacking’ emotion is running so high that they can’t actually use the word ‘smack’ which is the central theme to BON’s article.

Anna Borrence

5th October 2019 at 12:29 pm

Jerry Oven-Kraut

You’ve forgone ur comment privilege’s here now. You’ve been a menace to everyone you’ve come across, and I won’t stand it.

Do you remember how you moaned about how your friends might be offended about here? Well, if you really like the site, then you’ll phark off. Because ur causing a scene by making you have to pluck off.

Asif Qadir

5th October 2019 at 12:37 pm

You’ve foregone ur comment privileges on here, Oven-loser…phark off.

Asif Qadir

5th October 2019 at 12:43 pm

You have no business being here anymore, you gutless, creepy ars ehole. Phuck off.

Anna Borrence

5th October 2019 at 3:34 pm

I troll the trolls, babydol.

You must be getting embarrassed to be here by now. Even a sociopath like you.

Willie Penwright

5th October 2019 at 10:27 pm

Okay, so we call hitting ‘smacking’ and it’s acceptable? If you have to use violence to guide your child, you’re out of control. If ‘smacking’ is not hitting but something lesser, would it be okay to smack women or servants or patients – catagories that have been struck in the past – or is it only for use on children who cannot protest?

Poppy Piway

4th October 2019 at 3:58 pm

When my daughter-in-law first became a part of our family we would often have long debates on the merits of acceptable ways of disciplining children. When my children were little I did smack them on the back of their legs but this was a rarity as more often than not, they had to do sit-ups or recite the Desiderata – I still recommend this!! My daughter-in-law was shocked and horrified at the smacking.
Her only child, my grandson, is now nearly 10 years old, and as I live thousands of miles away from them they recently visited me. It was during this visit that I learned that my daughter-in-law while supervising my grandson’s maths homework, smacked him so hard across the face that his nose started bleeding! I still end up crying when I think about this. Turns out my grandson’s maths was correct – not at all surprising in my opinion. My daughter-in-law is a lawyer who is as thick as two planks when it comes to common sense (and academic knowledge it seems) – ok, I admit my whole perception of her has changed…………and of my son too, I have to admit!
Parenting is one of the most rewarding and saddest experiences of our lives, I think, but I also believe that the state has no right to interfere in family life.

Jim Lawrie

6th October 2019 at 1:47 pm

What your daughter in law did was not based on instilling discipline, it was based on her perceived right to bend the boy to her will and the resort to violence was because she had not the reason to do so. A lot of adults and teachers are not taught that in their life they will come across children who are more intelligent than them. Such children still need you to be an adult.

Do they have a daughter and is she treated the same way?

Poppy Piway

9th October 2019 at 2:56 pm

You are absolutely correct. No, they only have one child, my grandson.

Linda Payne

4th October 2019 at 1:01 pm

I was beaten around the head for 13 years which has left me with personality problems, the bastard is still alive and I doubt whether a smacking ban would have stopped him; the worst thing is now I have mental problems he and the sisters have all rejected me like some damaged piece of shit who should be thrown away

Hana Jinks

4th October 2019 at 1:37 pm

I don’t know how you can survive on 200 quid a month. Is there some kind of Citizens Advice Bureau that you can visit there? From what you’ve told me before, it sounded as if you you had grounds for legal action against your sister, and perhaps they can point you in the right direction as far as being able to receive the free legal assistance that you need.

Poppy Piway

4th October 2019 at 4:01 pm

That is unbelievably sad and I really hope and pray that your circumstances improve. Have faith in prayer.

Jim Lawrie

7th October 2019 at 12:16 am

The hitting around the head leaves no visible marks and they know that.

adrian lord

4th October 2019 at 12:43 pm

In the 70s I spent a few years at a Scottish state primary school in a village in the Campsie Fells. Children were belted, not just smacked, which was excessive. But this is the pendulum going too far in the other direction.

John Millson

4th October 2019 at 10:46 am

An obviously unworkable law. Yes, for spontaneous slapping, whacking when necessary. No to corporal punishment, carried out by non-family members and probably ‘no’ for delayed, non-spontaneous whacking by parents, which can be cruel.
Recieved all the variations myself.

Tim Hare

4th October 2019 at 1:09 pm

When is it necessary?

Melissa Jackson

4th October 2019 at 2:00 pm

It’s necessary when it’s the only way to make your child understand they have to do what you tell them.

How can you handle extreme danger (say playing with matches) or tantrums being thrown to get their own way except by actively disciplining them?

Children need to learn to do what they are told, for their own good. Sometimes you just need to stop them right this second in a way they can’t ignore.

Jim Lawrie

7th October 2019 at 12:36 am

When a child tries to kick you on the shin it is not because they think it will be a pleasant experience for you. Nor is it something they have learned from others. They have to stopped and given a quick, hard smack.

david rawson

4th October 2019 at 10:32 am

I’m in 2 minds about smacking, on the one hand I can see with little kids sometimes it’s the only thing that works.

Personally I was beaten almost daily by my mother, and when I got to a big teenage lad, she used weapons ( pieces of wood etc ). She clearly had problems of her own. Bear in mind parents who beat or abuse their kids probably do far more damage on the mental health side of things – bullying is not about physical assault, it’s about control & degradation.

There is a world of difference between that and a slap at the back of the legs to calm and unruly child.

Christopher Tyson

4th October 2019 at 8:49 am

People are talking about the rights and wrongs of smacking but this is not really the point. You can disagree with something without seeking to ban it, you can even argue and campaign and propagandise to change opinion. The effects of smacking are inconclusive, so not only is this banning something that you disapprove of, but doing so on the basis of contentious arguments and evidence. There is also a dishonesty in conflating smacking with serious forms of assault or violence. Indeed anti-smacking campaigners would probably concede that a smack in a loving relationship is harmless, but they see this ban as a way to tackle more serious incidents, What we have is the playing out of the dominant ideologies of our time ‘what works’ and ‘the precautionary principle’, what counts is the protection of children, weak arguments, poor evidence and the overriding of parental authority and autonomy, are for these campaigners a means to a greater end. The logic of this there is no limit to state intervention in our lives, this is by stealth the re-introduction of the special guardian scheme that was recently quashed. I don’t think I’m giving anti-violence campaigners any ideas here, but these people never stop, there is always mission creep. Not so long ago the British Government was warming to the idea of psychological manipulation as a form of violence. The realm of violence can be expanded. Parent must discipline their children, if they don’t hit them they will use other methods, punishment and reward, in effect emotional manipulation. When campaigners move into the psychological and emotional realms , which they will, it will be game over in terms of parental autonomy. In case of misunderstanding, I’m not arguing for violence of any kind or for smacking, I’m arguing for the freedom of parents to discipline their children as they see fit, and to be trusted to do this, and I’m arguing against outside interference from people who are transforming their own prejudices and preferences into law, and imposing them on everyone else. Enshrined in law, there is no space for debate, discussion and nuance.

Eric B.

9th October 2019 at 6:34 pm

Well said. Thank you.

Winston Stanley

4th October 2019 at 7:11 am

I am not allowed to reply, I is banned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b21zIF3lAZo

Anna Bolick

4th October 2019 at 12:15 pm

It will come. They go for all of us.

Winston Stanley

4th October 2019 at 3:05 am

Mr Sober all the time

I am not going to make any dogmatic statement about the “rights and wrongs” of knocking about kids for their “transgressions”.

First I would want to see all the pervert priests and “teachers” arrested for their self-indulgent violence against the coming ppl. Attacking kids with tawses, bats and canes.

Men in positions of authority and responsibility taking out their sexual frustrations on kids.

Very often it is state violence dressed up as the perversity of priests and teachers. That has to be the deeper issue.

Kids are kids, their brains are not yet fully developed. Of course they are not the wisest ppl on the planet, what do you expect?

Schools are ridiculous, judging kids and appointing them their future place in society. The state uses the perverts and b stards to do that, social stratification.

No one should ever be allowed to smack about kids. Parents should always be well imformed of what the state and the “community” is doing to them. The state and the “community” should always be held to account for their conduct toward the kids of the parents.

If anyone should be knocked about, it is not the kids.

There is a massive reckoning going on about state and church power over kids and the violence and sexual assaults. Sadly it is likely never to get to the subject of the power of the capitalist state over the ppl and how they abuse us from cradle to grave.

The SNP sound like their heart is in the right place.

Winston Stanley

4th October 2019 at 4:23 am

This an absolutely gorgeous latest trance album, it proves that the very best trance these days dresses itself up as psy trance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGC81W_RiEw

Chris Greaves

4th October 2019 at 6:56 am

This is a very specific attack on teachers. As a teacher myself, I do not in any way recognise your comments whatsoever. In my experience (although judging by your post, I doubt you’ll accept it) teachers are often the only defence children have against domestic violence. I know first hand examples of many children who have been taken from abusive parents and put into protective homes because of teachers who flagged up their situations. There are times where schools don’t get it totally right, sometimes with disastrous consequences, but I absolutely guarantee that schools are protecting thousands upon thousands of children from the violence you ascribe directly to them.

I can only assume you are speaking of teaching in the historical sense, when corporal punishment was an accepted norm. Any teacher in the last 20 years who was proven to have hit a child has been struck off and arrested.

Jerry Owen

4th October 2019 at 7:22 am

Your post doesn’t address the article.

Tim Hare

3rd October 2019 at 11:08 pm

Calling it a smack is in itself an attempt to offload the guilt. Why not simply call it assault? If it is good for the children then give it its correct name unless you are trying to somehow make it less real.

Parents who need to resort to assaulting their children are bad parents. If they cannot find better ways of disciplining young children over whom they have tremendous power then they should not be parents.

“My parents smacked me and I turned out OK” Well OK is not the same as perfect and you may be a lot better if you had not been assaulted.

Jerry Owen

4th October 2019 at 7:27 am

Or he may have turned out worse is he hadn’t have been ‘smacked’ .. using the word assault doesn’t bolster your argument.
I remember being smacked as a child .. it was the suddenness and noise that shocked me , not the discomfort.
I learnt my lesson from my parents, and modified my behaviour accordingly.
Kids push boundaries , they need to know where they are.

Tim Hare

4th October 2019 at 10:00 am

“using the word assault doesn’t bolster your argument.” Using the word ‘smacked’ doesn’t bolster yours either – it is just a way of avoiding the reality of the violence.

You don’t need to use suddenness and noise either in order to change behaviour. There are many options which do not involve fear. A child should be afraid of the consequences of some of their behaviour and not the consequences of their parent’s reaction to their behaviour.

Kids do push boundaries but there are many ways to show them the limits without resorting to violence.

Jerry Owen

4th October 2019 at 11:21 am

Tim Hare
If you can’t see the difference between the words assault and a smack that’s your problem. This article is about smacking. We all know what a smack is.
Your use of the word assault of course deliberately vague , you know that .

Tim Hare

4th October 2019 at 1:04 pm

Assault by definition aims to physically cause pain. Smacking aims to cause pain. You can rationalise all you like but the intent is the same. Just because you claim that it is done out of a desire to teach does not make it any more right. When you aim to hurt someone it is assault whatever your reasons may be.

Jerry Owen

4th October 2019 at 2:30 pm

Tim Hare
Smacking is specific it is open handed, it is sharp and makes a sharp noise called .. a ‘slap’ . Short sharp shocks are witnessed in virtually all the animal kingdom , most visibly in cats and dogs. Slapping is genetic. it is very human, we slap as we know it is the least hurtful and as i said earlier the shock is the speed and noise, not the pain.
Slapping isn’t done to hurt but teach, if the aim was to hurt then a swift kick or punch to the head or belly would be far more effective. because we don’t use these measures actually shows that slapping is a considered and controlled punishment.
I have been in scraps in my youth as all boys have, and I never once slapped anybody as it is not an effective way to hurt, if I slapped I would lose the fight.
Punching hard wins a fight.
Clearly then slapping is not done to hurt or damage, just to shock.

James Hamilton

4th October 2019 at 1:34 pm

Probably because there’s a qualitative difference between assaulting someone, with the malicious intent to harm or humiliate them, and smacking a naughty child who just needs to be realise that their behaviour cannot persist. Its highly disingenuous and self-indulgent to insist that disciplinary smacking is a form of assault.

James Knight

3rd October 2019 at 7:51 pm

This is about criminalising parents not what is the best disciplinary strategy.
Is “calling the police” on your list of 10 ways to do things better? What then, put the kids in state care which has the worst record on abuse of children? How is making it police matter helping the children? The police should be dealing with knife crime, not getting involved in how to bring up children.

If Scottish MSPs think they are the nanny that knows best, I suggest all real parents send them sacks full of soiled nappies to deal with. You wanna be the parent, clean up the shit as well…

James Knight

3rd October 2019 at 7:39 pm

Everything the SNP does is driven by one thing and one thing only: belief in their own moral superiority. Whether it be bans on fox hunting in England or bans on smacking in Scotland, it is all the same thing: empty posturing.

The really mind boggling thing is that we recently have had wide support for pardoning gay men for crimes which we now decided should not have been crimes. Now the nasty party, having just been slapped down over it’s named person brain-fart, wants to criminalise vast swathes of loving parents.

Chris Greaves

3rd October 2019 at 7:13 pm

This article is fundamentally wrong. Hitting a child (“in love” as the author suggests) merely teaches a child that violence is ok when someone is doing something you don’t think they should. There is never, ever, any justification for hitting a child. It is as unnecessary as it is medieval. Show me an example of where a parent hit a child and I will show you ten different ways that the situation could have been improved without resorting to violence. If nothing else, it is lazy parenting only advocated by those without morals.

Would you advocate kicking a dog? Whipping a horse? Punching your wife? Why would hitting a child be any more reasonable?! You’re peddling click bait and looking for a reaction – unfortunately the end result is that you give justification to an abhorrent practice. You should be ashamed.

Dominic Straiton

3rd October 2019 at 8:11 pm

Have you ever thought you might be wrong. All children are different. My biggest regret is not disciplining my children properly. I am pretty sure I was completely wrong .

Chris Greaves

4th October 2019 at 7:03 am

Your biggest regret is not hitting your own child? I find that statement very sad. No, I have not considered I am wrong in this instance (although in most things I am open to debate), on this point, I absolutely have 100% belief in my assertions. I have worked with children since I came to working age, I have never seen a single instance of a child being struck that helped a situation. It just has no benefit.

The child is left hurt, upset and in pain. If anything, it is lazy parenting. Why not discuss with your child why their action was wrong, then remove things that they enjoy…Xbox, phone, specific toys, choice at meal times, football training – it can be whatever will have an impact on the child. Conversely, making them do activities they do not enjoy – time out, visiting relatives, again…it can be whatever. Parents are often avoiding these consequences because they take effort and time and talking to a child…a smack is much quicker, but far less effective.

Give me an example where smacking a child is ok. Discipline is not hitting!

Christopher Tyson

3rd October 2019 at 9:10 pm

You say that hitting a child ‘merely teaches a child that violence is ok when someone is doing something you don’t think they should’. Even if you are correct in part, I’d take issue with the ‘merely’. In your last paragraph you talk about the treatment of dogs and horses, and actually as someone who has concerns about behaviourism I would accept that behaviourism is useful in the training and understanding of animals. But the idea that children will react in only one way and learn just one thing ‘that violence is ok when someone is doing something you don’t think they should’. For some people being hit might teach them that being hit is a bad and unpleasant thing and not something to which they would want to subject others. Being hit might teach children about the effectiveness of judicious violence or punishment, reasonable force, specific and appropriate. As a behaviourist you might argue that being hit might teach children that it’s bad to run across the road, pull pans off the cooker or hit their brothers and sisters. When you say that children will learn that ‘violence is ok when someone is doing something you don’t think they should’, that’s not always a bad lesson, particularly if you live in a tough neighbourhood, who wants their kid to grow up to be a psycho? But you wouldn’t want them to grow up to be the only pacifist in the school playground either. Those of us who went to school as late as the 1970s possibly 80s would have been on the receiving end of corporal punishment or the threat of it. Caribbean parents were well known for beating their children ‘if you go home and complain to your parents that the teacher beat you, your parents would beat you too’. The trend certainly in the UK has been moving away from this kind of punishment, there seems to be a pattern where ‘radicals’ jump on to a social issue that is already moving in a certain direction and then claim it as their own victory. Abuse, assault and violence is a totally different issue to smacking. Conflating smacking with violence is snobbish, misanthropic and an attack on adult autonomy, these campaigners simply do not trust people to use their own discretion, and have set themselves up to take this role for themselves. Sorry to use your post to make some wider points although I do think you are wrong about that particular statement.

Tim Hare

3rd October 2019 at 11:27 pm

Violence is inflicting pain on another person’s body. What is the point of it if not to inflict pain? Assaulting children has the same rationale. Inflicting pain on them to try and change their behaviour.

Violence is never the answer to any problem. There are much more reasonable ways to teach behaviour. Kids who are assaulted when they do things they they do not know are wrong grow up in fear and trepidation of always doing the wrong thing. They live very stilted lives because they doubt their own ability to explore their world without fear of violence.

Chris Greaves

4th October 2019 at 7:14 am

No apology needed, you raise points I still fundamentally disagree with, but there is nothing wrong with debate! I hesitate to say I’ve jumped on any bandwagon, I’ve been a teacher all my life and worked with children directly. I do feel I have picked up some skills with understanding child development and child psychology to an extent, and I would still argue that hitting a child serves no purpose. It doesn’t reinforce a point to any greater extent that other sanctions can, but does have negative consequences that those sanctions don’t.

I’ll refer you to my above post about the laziness of this approach, but will also mention that hitting is not always the worst approach…just almost always. I’m not saying that anyone who hit their child is morally bankrupt, or even wrong to do so, that would be presumptuous and arrogant. I am arguing that most of the time, hitting causes significant harm. How to police the good from the bad? Impossible. It’s got to be the case that hitting another person, adult or child, is either wrong or it’s ok…I personally feel that hitting is wrong, it reinforces lazy ways of parenting, all to often it is done because of a parent’s frustration rather than any real desire to help their child. On this view, I doubt there is any way you can change my mind.

I absolutely back a complete ban on smacking children.

Carolyn Monaghan

3rd October 2019 at 10:26 pm

I think a whack with a slipper might be a bit beyond the pale. But actually, I think smacking taught me that it was okay for my mother, who was a special being with special powers, to smack me, or to tell me when to go to bed, or make me do my homework. I didn’t think then, and don’t now, that other people should be allowed to smack me, or that I should be allowed to smack others, because those others were outside of the relationship between a good (not perfect) parent and child, where Mum can do anything and while I might not have liked some of it, I trusted it and felt safe.

Jerry Owen

3rd October 2019 at 10:46 pm

Brendan never used the word ” hit ” you did . You therefore are arguing against yourself .

Jerry Owen

3rd October 2019 at 10:47 pm

In response to C Tyson

Hana Jinks

4th October 2019 at 1:45 pm

Discipline and abuse are two very different things. Spare the rod, and spoil the child.

Jerry Owen

4th October 2019 at 2:33 pm

Chris Greaves
You use every word except ‘smacking’ which is what this article is about !

Eric B.

9th October 2019 at 6:38 pm

So would you ban electric fences for livestock and pets, too? Obviously there are unnecessary and inappropriate excesses (not that government has a legitimate right to micro-manage all those limits), but your argument seems to be that all forms of inflicting pain on children and animals for the sake of training or discipline are completely wrong. By that standard, electric fences would be out, too, right?

Eric B.

9th October 2019 at 6:53 pm

Even if there are better ways to discipline children, the same could be said about ways of feeding children. Objective science, to whatever degree there is such a thing, is clearer about the inferiority of particular ways of feeding than it is about the inferiority of particular ways of disciplining children, right? (Or if the evidence is so clear and compelling, why do so many people fail to recognize it?) And yet parents are still given liberty in choosing how to feed their children. Even if what you say about there always being better ways to discipline is true, how do you justify imposing your beliefs on other families? And where does this sort of micro-management of private homes and families end? In other words, are you not asserting a principle with the unlimited power to destroy the autonomy of the family?

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