To wonder if there is any compromise when parents disagree on smacking?

(297 Posts)
Waitrosesaysimessential Fri 08-Apr-16 18:59:12

Dh and I disagree on smacking - he is for it, I think it is pointless, and that there are better ways of managing behaviour. We have three under 5 and it is getting me down as we continually argue about it. We were both smacked as kids, and tbh I thought nothing of it until i had my own. I have had the urge to smack at times but restrained as i think it is quite cruel. I also dont understand how it is ok for me to smack my small child, while if i smacked an adult it would be assault! My dh says there is no evidence of harm, and says yelling is more harmful.

How do we compromise on this issue? He is adament our kids would behave better if i smacked them, instead of the current system of star chart and sent to room for bad behaviour. He has smacked our kids, never much but i find it horrible. I also feel it is kind of lazy, like he cannot be bothered to think of another punishment. His parents are all for smacking, and his ds did it to her own. My friends are all against, they see it as quite outdated and pointless.

Any ideas would be welcome as it is really putting a strain on us, despite years of discussion. Thank you

Yeahsure Fri 08-Apr-16 19:01:01

I don't know one single parent, nor have done over 18 years of parenting, who 'agree with' or actively use smacking as a punishment.

It belongs firmly in the past.

Yeahsure Fri 08-Apr-16 19:02:18

Disclaimer: I know parents who have smacked out of tiredness, anger, rubbish parenting moments, myself included on one occasion 16 years ago, but still don't agree with smacking and know that it is wrong on so many levels.

maybebabybee Fri 08-Apr-16 19:04:24

I agree with yeah. I know plenty who have momentarily lost their rag and felt dreadful afterwards. I know no one who actively decides to use smacking as a calculated punishment.

IthinkIamsinking Fri 08-Apr-16 19:04:48

YANBU. I was smacked as a kid and I still think about it. I particularly remember the fear and pain to this day. I didn't smack my kids and they have grown up to be lovely, polite teenagers. IMO smacking is lazy parenting. It is VERY divisive topic though. Not sure what to advise OP as I was a single parent. I agree with your view that it is deemed ok to smack a child but not an adult.

bloodymaria Fri 08-Apr-16 19:05:51

How on earth can using physical force against a child ever be condoned op? I really hope this isn't real.

IthinkIamsinking Fri 08-Apr-16 19:06:05

Agree with Yeah re: crap parenting moments etc etc
Smacking as an active part of discipline is awful.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 08-Apr-16 19:06:31

It is something I could never compromise on. As a person whose parents used smacking and much worse, I cannot abide violence of any sort. I have a very black and white view on this.

GreenMarkerPen Fri 08-Apr-16 19:07:09

sorry, it would be a dealbreaker for me. I was smacked as child and still remember the pain and humiliation. very strained relationship with my parents.

Birdsgottafly Fri 08-Apr-16 19:07:23

Ask him if he wants to be feared by his children and whether he wants them to behave in a good way, because they've been taught, empathy, consequence, kindness and thinking skills, or because they fear the punishment.

YoJesse Fri 08-Apr-16 19:10:33

I was not smacked as a child, my dh was a lot and hard. He respects the fact I'm totally anti smacking but I know it baffles him and often says 'that boy needs a smack.' I know he won't smack him behind my back because I'd find out. I think he can have his opinions but the anti smacking parent should have the final word on it.

Chillyegg Fri 08-Apr-16 19:12:45

I'm sorry but this would be a deal breaker for me also.
How can you say don't hit! Then smack your child. How can you say being aggressive then hit your child.
How can you say I love you but then when your kid annoys you smack them.
Smacking is awful it doesn't work and I think it's about some sort of weird emotional-physical outlet for the parent who'said stressed and tired. Those are my views .... <runs of thead>

MrsH1989 Fri 08-Apr-16 19:16:59

Actually, it does have an impact. My Mum hit us alot as young children and even years after she stopped we would flinch when she raised her hand to reach over us etc. I would be devastated if my children were scared of me which is how I felt about my mum for a long time. If my husband hit our children I would kick him out and demand supervised contact. I know some may see that as an overreaction but we both have strong views and have agreed that if any adult hit our children they would be lucky to even lay eyes on them again.

yorkshapudding Fri 08-Apr-16 19:18:21

Actually, he's wrong, there is a lot of evidence that physical chastisement is damaging to children and that it doesn't even have a positive impact on their behaviour. I can't link to it right now but the NSPCC did a report reviewing the evidence around smacking children in 2015 and it was pretty damning.

There are some things I won't compromise on. If my DH hit me, I'm sure everyone would agree that was unacceptable, regardless of whether it hurt or not or whether he felt my behaviour at the time was unreasonable. So why the hell would I agree, under any circumstances for him to hit our child, who is smaller and more vulnerable? It's a complete deal breaker for me.

MadamDeathstare Fri 08-Apr-16 19:22:14

I don't think you can compromise. You can't half smack someone. It would be better work together as a team to find other non-smacking alternatives to what you are doing now that both of you are comfortable with rather than argue about smacking.

I found that a lot of the discipline techniques that show up in books weren't things I was comfortable doing - the naughty step for instance - they wouldn't have worked with my DC's personalities and definitely not with mine. I just had to try different things until I found things that worked for us.

pitterpatterrain Fri 08-Apr-16 19:22:22

I am not sure a compromise can be found between smacking and not smacking. A choice needs to be made.

I think my DH would smack by default if I wasn't against it but more through seeing it as within the range of normal: "that is how he was brought up / corporal punishment at school" (quite bad, non UK) rather than he has a strong belief that is it is somehow more effective.

When we have discussed it, he logically knows that hitting doesn't make sense, yet it seems that there are some circumstances where he doesn't know what to do as an alternative and so will say verbally "I'm going to smack you if...x,y,z" to DD (albeit rare). She is oblivious as it doesn't mean anything to her. I know he would never do it - it is hard i think for him to not react automatically when he is really stressed.

Waitrosesaysimessential Fri 08-Apr-16 19:23:11

Thank you very much for all of your replies. And Madam thanks for the mention of the report, I have just looked it up and will read it.

Agadooo Fri 08-Apr-16 19:23:43

Totally agree with Birds-definitely not, I would be devastated and furious if my husband smacked our kids. I don't really get what it teaches other than if someone does somethimg they've been told not to, you hit them- not a good life lesson and very mean and humiliating.

DingleberryFinn Fri 08-Apr-16 19:24:41

This article cites 11 reasons (more details on each in the text - www.bellybelly.com.au/child/11-reasons-why-smacking-is-ineffective-and-damaging/)

#1: There Is Absolutely No Evidence That Smacking Is Effective Smacking
#2: It Teaches Violence
#3: It Doesn’t Deal With The Root Cause Of The Behaviour S
#4 Your Child Will Learn To Avoid YOU, Not The Behaviour
#5: It Could Affect Your Relationship With Your Child
#6: Just Because It Was Done To You, Does Not Mean It Is Right - "Some would argue that the very fact you have grown into an adult who believes corporal punishment in an acceptable way to interact with your child, would prove that perhaps it did have a lasting effect (and it has caused harm)."
#7: It Exploits The Fact That You Are Bigger
#8: It Takes Control Away From Your Child - "If you hit your child, then you are taking control of his body without his consent, and therefore you teach that consent is not important."
#9: You Could Hurt Your Child (or get prosecuted under the Children's Act 2004 in the UK if you smack them "wrong")
#10: You Are Not Modelling A Healthy Way To Deal With Anger
#11: Where Can You Go From Smacking? - if smacking doesn't work, what then?

It's fundamentally wrong on so many levels. I absolutely could not raise my children with someone who thought it was okay to use violence and the threat of pain to punish them. It's not just the actual hitting, it's knowing you could be hit hanging over you. And what can you do, as a kid? If my employer hit me if I did something wrong at work, I'd get a new employer. You can't get new parents (unless you get prosecuted under the Childrens' Act for hitting them...)

Waitrosesaysimessential Fri 08-Apr-16 19:25:28

Sorry York, thank you for report! And think you are right Madam, thanks

Waitrosesaysimessential Fri 08-Apr-16 19:26:19

Thanks Dingle, that is very helpful

YoJesse Fri 08-Apr-16 19:29:01

It's weird that our partners who are pro smacking were smacked themselves.
Dh describes himself as being 'a little shit who deserved it' when he was a kid yet I don't think being smacked could have had a positive impact on him. Why do they want to continue the line of smacking? I don't get it.

QueenOfToast Fri 08-Apr-16 19:31:07

Good luck talking to your DH about this, I used to work with families providing support around behaviour issues and I have had many discussions with parents about smacking; I was always amazed at how many people were so keen to carry on doing something that wasn't working for them (and that they often claimed to feel guilty about afterwards). Anyway, my usual chat was along these lines.

Smacking children is an ineffective way to manage behaviour and at worst can be cruel and damaging. It teaches your children that ...

1. The "stronger" person gets to decide what's right.
2. Bigger people are supposed to hit smaller people.
3. Violence solves problems.
4. Something is wrong with them (because those who are supposed to protect them are hurting them).
5. It's better to lie and manipulate in order to avoid physical punishment.

Even if the above list doesn't resonate with your DH, it would be worth having a discussion with him about how he thinks that he will be able to manage the children's behaviour as they get older, bigger and stronger if the only way for him to manage it now is by the threat of violence or pain.

Maybe get a couple of parenting books from the library and have a look at them to think about some different ways of managing your children's behaviour. If you feel more in control and your husband sees your techniques working, he might be more inclined to try something different. I really like "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" and "The Parenting Puzzle".

Hope that helps.

UmbongoUnchained Fri 08-Apr-16 19:31:36

If anyone smacked my child id smack them into the ground.

GabiSolis Fri 08-Apr-16 19:35:57

Yes sorry OP, but there really is no compromise on this. Smacking is never okay and I think it would probably be a deal breaker for me, as it clearly is for others.

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