Grayling defending smacking

(1000 Posts)
seventiesgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 11:38:45

Never did him any harm apparently. The tory party are such a bunch of tossers. Whatever next?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 03-Feb-13 12:23:29

I know that it's heresy on MN to admit to smacking but why does it make someone a 'tosser' to be honest about an opinion that is still pretty mainstream? <dons flameproof suit...>

GrowSomeCress Sun 03-Feb-13 12:27:14

God hmm will never get why this forum is so overdramatic about smacking

balia Sun 03-Feb-13 12:30:59

Erm...because it's wrong to hit people?

FunnysInLaJardin Sun 03-Feb-13 12:32:20

I smack my DC if absolutely necessary, which is very infrequent. But I will do it. Oh and I'm not a tory either.

Porkster Sun 03-Feb-13 12:32:44

He sounds very ignorant and narrow minded in that article.

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 12:42:04

I get flamed her frequently for admiring slapping my DDs and not minding being slapped as a child.

It's a quick over and done with line in the sand. I very clear you have gone to far.

No one has ever suggested an effective alternative for limit pushing under 5s.

I know people swear by counting to 3, but what happens when they get to 3?

I'm sorry but I have friends with DCs where neither parents or children were happy because the child just pushed and pushed at their parents and the parents just stood their shouting and being ignored.

I had a DF who was really blush at her DDs antics.

Perhaps you can just pick them up and put them in their room, cot, naughty step, rather than a quick slap, but everyone is happier if there is a way of saying STOP!

I hate taking things off DCs, stopping them doing things, cutting their TV time. Long punishments cause resentment.

What child remembers why they can't watch TV, they are far too angry they are missing their favourite show.

Very good piece on punishments and using expectations, reasoning and action instead in " how to talk so teens will listen"

I just don't know how to use that kind of stuff with a very small child, mine are teens (well DD2 behaves like she is) and mostly very good.

ithaka Sun 03-Feb-13 12:49:28

'Never did him any harm'? Well, it seems to have turned him into a tory - I'm not sure I'm prepared to take that risk with my children.

seventiesgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 13:23:27

ithaka hahahaha!

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 13:35:48

Ithaka/seventies girl, nothing like an adult reasoned discussion is there?

FreelanceMama Sun 03-Feb-13 13:43:55

I got smacked when I was kid. It didn't harm me - it did harm my relationships with my parents though.

I remember being offended about it but not feeling physically hurt. But it didn't stop me doing the things that made them angry. It made me very good at finding ways of doing things I knew they wouldn't approve of without them finding out. Probably not the effect they were hoping for.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 13:46:02

I think hitting a child is a bit desperate. I've done it once out of desperation. Never again.

If ds misbehaves, punishment is instant.

For those who do hit, what do you do when they hit another kid? Do you tell them no hitting while you beat smack them?

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 13:48:02

o one has ever suggested an effective alternative for limit pushing under 5s

If you say so.

Porkster Sun 03-Feb-13 13:49:23

Hitting a child is crap parenting.

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 13:55:26

A working alternative, that's all I ask.

How do not smacking parents get a child to understand they have pushed carrying on doing/ or refusing to do something too far?

As for hitting other DCs my DDs instinctively knew the difference between discipline and fighting with their siblings or peers. It was never an issue.

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 14:04:46

Iggy what is your instant punishment.

Removing DD1 and sticking her in her travel cot was great for about a month, then she tried to climb out and it was too dangerous.
Stairs,please sit on the sofa or go to your room had much the same result, she started exploring any possible climbing opportunities.

Nothing to do with being in trouble, DD1 just climbed, but it did make withdrawing attention and turning your back on her very risky.

Thingiebob Sun 03-Feb-13 14:10:25

I agree with Porkster and iggly, hitting a child is crap. Hitting a toddler who is still small enough to be using a travel cot is shockingly lax parenting.

CheeryCherry Sun 03-Feb-13 14:11:43

I agree OP, another Tory tosser....they want smacking approved, hunting back, working families to suffer, gcses and A levels scrapped. It's all soooo depressing sad

GrowSomeCress Sun 03-Feb-13 14:29:27

I was smacked a couple of times as a child for major naughtiness - stopped me doing it and didn't it any way hurt my relationship with my parents grin

GrowSomeCress Sun 03-Feb-13 14:29:44

^ should be didn't in any way

HDee Sun 03-Feb-13 14:33:48

My mum used to take great pride laughing about the huge, red handprints she'd leave on me after hitting me with wet hands. She would tell people and I'd feel utter humiliation. She had no shame whatsoever. For years and years I'd flinch if she moved her hands near me. Smacking can never be right IMO.

GrowSomeCress Sun 03-Feb-13 14:40:01

Sorry about that HDee sad

But that doesn't mean all smacking has to be that way. I was smacked in a way that never left a physical mark - it doesn't tend to be that extreme.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 14:51:23

It depends. Ds is 3. So if he screams at me, I ignore him.
When he went through a hitting phase, he had timeout. he doesn't hit anymore (we were consistent with nursery).
I will take the toy he's playing with if he's doing something naughty.
I give him a warning. Eg he touched something - I said "this is a warning, if you touch again, I will take it away". So we take it away when he does. A few goes and he gets the message - he's testing the boundaries to see what he can and can't do.

It takes more thinking - I can see how smacking can be a quick win. But with my ds - I can also see that a lot of his behaviour stems from being over tired. It was worse when younger so going straight for a smack would be futile.

He's very strong willed BTW. But generally well behaved!

So you didn't answer my question - if your dd hits, how do you enforce that she shouldn't do it?

HumphreyCobbler Sun 03-Feb-13 14:51:52

I think lots of people who vote labour also approve of smacking. I am a tory who doesn't smack and my parents didn't smack me either. Didn't do me any harm, but rather disproves ithaka's hypothesis

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 14:53:47

Nothing to do with being in trouble, DD1 just climbed, but it did make withdrawing attention and turning your back on her very risky you snacked for climbing?

Both of mine are very physical and climbers. We've taught them where they can do it and how to do it safely. They don't do it at other peoples houses for example.

somuchslimmernow Sun 03-Feb-13 14:56:54

I will never understand why people think it is their right to hit a child but hit another adult and you quite rightly can get arrested for assault.

GrowSomeCress Sun 03-Feb-13 15:06:21

somuchslimmernow err there are lots of things people do to children that they wouldn't do to adults! Would you sit an adult in the naughty corner, or send them to their room, or make them brush their teeth?

Branleuse Sun 03-Feb-13 15:11:08

omg i occasionally smack my kids but i never considered it making them into a Tory. time to change

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 17:05:37

I don't think I ever smacked DD for climbing unless it was the 333 rd time I'd removed her from trying to mess with things on the book case.

if you don't occasionally smack, what do you do the 334 th time DC messes with the same thing.

Given a toddler who can't safely be put anywhere without finding something to climb or fiddle with.

I ran out of high and out of sight places to hide things, sometimes I need a no that she understood was final. That trying to pull out books, mess with cables or stand on the back of the sofa was not going to be tolerated today, tomorrow or ever.

DD2 simply needed to that down right disobedience wasn't going to be tolerated, but she was older and generally could be sent to her room to calm down. She was a much easier toddler she played with toys and didn't try to find ways to cause chaos the second your back was turned.

sunshine401 Sun 03-Feb-13 17:21:29

angry That is all.

AlienReflux Sun 03-Feb-13 17:26:55

You do it the 335th time star you can't be arsed, lets be honest.

Am rather shocked at how many people defending smacking on here.

There are lots of better ways of raising your children, mainly talking with them, and yes, having some boundaries, consequences, and punishments such as missing out on things.

I admit I did smack DD a handful of times, but DS I managed not to (my second child ?) It was always when I was at the end of my tether, and always both wrong and not helpful.

People who say it never did them any harm I'm not sure how you can really know that ? Maybe it did. Maybe it did me some harm, such as making it more likely I'd smack my own DC's. But still, I do take responsibility for it, which is why I stopped doing it (plus they grew up which helped !) Anyway as I said only a few times and always regretted.

Meglet Sun 03-Feb-13 17:34:30

I don't do it the 335th time if I'm late for work. Sometimes children are hell bent on not doing as they are told whatever you say or do.

I never smacked until mine were 4, I spent years hating smacking and never needing to do it. But once they started raising hell and stopping me getting things done no matter what parenting techniques I threw at them then I did start to use the odd smack.

Abitwobblynow Sun 03-Feb-13 17:36:11

If I said I had never smacked my children, I would be a cross-eyed liar.

But it really upset them, and they still talk about it today (they are teenagers). It was very seldom, but to hear them you would think I beat them like carpets confused

Want2bSupermum Sun 03-Feb-13 17:37:03

Every child is different and some might respond well to a smack while others wouldn't. My daughter doesn't need a smack because she is 18 months old and when she acts up there is a reason behind it. Normally she is tired, needs 1-1 time or a change in activity.

She has her tantrums, grabs my glasses, pulls my hair and hits me. I don't smack her because she has a senstive personality and I think it would destroy her. All she wants to do is please her mama and dada so we play that angle. I am 38 wks along with her little brother. Who knows how he is going to turn out. Smacking might work for him.

Hey Want2b - he's not even here yet - give him a chance !
And good luck with the birth, and with having two smile

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 17:40:19

If you do occasionally smack, what do you do when the DC does the naughty thing for the 334th time, even after you've smacked them iyswim? Where do you go if smacking doesn't work? A harder smack? A smack with an implement (as a child, it was "the wooden spoon")?

And what about the other authority figures in a child's life who can't smack but still have to administer discipline? I have taught children whose parents used smacking as a punishment and it makes life very difficult (and that is very definitely not an argument for a return of corporal punishment in schools; I would quit).

My god I have been tempted to smack DS many many times but only ever when I'm really angry and that means that I would not be doing it as an effective punishment. I am glad to say that I have always managed to find better ways of teaching him right from wrong.

EauRouge Sun 03-Feb-13 17:41:28

My dad is always defending smacking and saying it never did me any harm.

Maybe one day I'll tell him that I've seen several counsellors that all disagree with him sad

AlienReflux Sun 03-Feb-13 17:44:07

what do you do if they smack you back? hit them harder? cos you can?yes,your'e right, anyone that says they've never smacked IS a liar, I did it,ONCE, never again, the look of fear on my kids face made sure i never repeated it.

It's lazy and bullying parenting IMHO

inthewildernessbuild Sun 03-Feb-13 17:49:07

I've smacked my dd when she was four and I was at the end of my tether with her [atrocious] behaviour - things like screaming tantrums just before bed, ruining family outings. It has been totally unproductive, and guess what happened when she was older and at the end of her tether...yes, you are right, she would hit me. We've worked really hard at curing her bad behaviour in other ways, and they have worked much much better. I've hardly done it all for the last 6 years with any of my three children, once or twice with my twelve year old son when he repeatedly was mean to his younger brother. It was, I repeat, TOTALLY UNPRODUCTIVE, and anyone who wants to smack should just try kicking the wall instead if they want to release tension. And working out what is causing the bad behaviour in children.

I was smacked as a child, and while it didn't do me any harm it didn't improve my behaviour in at all, and I never understood how I was supposed to stop my younger siblings misbehaving when I wasn't allowed to smack them. It certainly wasn't an effective punishment for me.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 03-Feb-13 17:51:25

I started off being of the "nothing wrong as long as you don't batter them" but when I actually tried it (because older women urged me to, wanting their own smacking to be validated in the same way that alcoholics want you to validate their drinking by drinking as quickly as they do) I felt very uneasy with it and knew it wasn't for me.

Over the years I've realised that it's an issue of children respecting their own boundaries and expecting their physical boundaries to be respected. I can't teach them to respect their own and other people's physical boundaries and expect other people to respect them, if I'm confusing them with a message that says actually, not respecting their physical boundaries is OK if someone's really annoyed with them.

Messages need to be simple for younger children and once they get old enough to complicate them, hitting them would be unthinkable anyway.

inthewildernessbuild Sun 03-Feb-13 17:51:35

When you see someone else threatening to smack a toddler or indeed any child, you realise just how counterproductive and unpleasant it is. See the reaction of any child being smacked and it is rage and humiliation. Not learning.

AlienReflux Sun 03-Feb-13 17:53:57

Eaurouge sad

I had hoped that we as a species had evolved sufficiently to appreciate that hitting someone a third of the size of you as a punishment or in order to deter certain behaviours is an unnecessary and cruel method of control.

smacking is more often than not someting done in anger and as people reach the end of their tether. That is never a good way of disciplining a child. If you are smacking when you are not in this position the I think you need to take a good look at your morality and strongly examine why you are using violence to control your children.

marriedinwhite Sun 03-Feb-13 17:55:07

Well I've smacked mine occasionally and they have deserved it. Never pre-meditated, never to teach a lesson but the day that dd hit ds over the head with a soft toy she had filled with stones, yes she got a smack on the arm in the heat of the moment and she very much deserved it. DS was far more challenging and the third time he opened and left open the freezer door at three having been told quietly and gently twice not to do it and having the reasons explained - he got a smack (on the back of the hand) and I'm sure it hurt me more than it hurt him. It never happened again.

The young Grayling btw was the first tiny baby I ever held. It was at a drinks party in West London. He was a very nice baby with very nice parents - and had a similar quantity of hair to dad - even then. His dad was being most adoring and looked very sweet with a muslin over his shoulder.

So there - bunch of vipers!!!!

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 17:57:53

EauRouge - I echo what you're saying. Someone posted on another thread about this: those people who say it never did them any harm, it did - it turned them into the sort of person who thinks it's ok to hit children.

I never hit my kids. Or smack them. Or tap them. Never ever. Because it is horrible and it doesn't work.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 03-Feb-13 18:06:30

Yeah, that's the problem about being harmed as a child isn't it.

You don't know you have been.

CatherinaJTV Sun 03-Feb-13 18:11:58

I can understand a reflex reaction when you are at the end of your tether or your child has done something really stupid or dangerous (fully knowing that it is not going to teach the child anything but that the parents are at the end of their tether), but to advocate hitting a child as legitimate means to teach them something is absolutely pathetic.

SwedishEdith Sun 03-Feb-13 18:14:13

I could have written every word of Juggling's post. And I agree abitwobblynow - the eldest remembers it (and so do I from childhood although I'm sure my parents' smacking was well withing the "normal" range from that era) How does anyone know "it does know harm"?

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 18:23:13

DD was being supremely foul one day when she was about 9 and I slapped her once. She howled in hurt and outrage. For ages she kept carrying on about how I had never done that before.

Except that I had done it before, maybe 2 or 3 occasions when she was age 4-6. She had completely forgotten. So much for traumatised for life by a single incident.

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 18:26:05

ps: but agree Grayling is a plonker. He's not related to AC Grayling is he? That would boggle my mind.

Molepom Sun 03-Feb-13 18:26:28

In that case then Grayling wont mind if a few of us smacked HIM right across the face then.

WTF is someone appointed as Justice Secretary doing saying smacking is an acceptable way to 'send a message'? Really, really irresponsible.

marriedinwhite Sun 03-Feb-13 18:32:40

And I also remember the day when I came home from work and DS exploded in rage that he had got a bad mark because I had gone back to work. It was actually because he had not done his homework properly and I had sat with him, trying to encourage him for 40 minutes earlier in the week. Yes, I slapped him and yes, I still think he deserved that. He has been a demanding and difficult boy who has needed firm boundaries. Without the funds to send him to a hothouse for very clever boys that has meant he has been intellectually and physically challenged, I have no doubt whatsoever that he would have got in with the wrong crown and could be a budding great train robber. His father is convinced he will end up working for MI5.

The research suggests objectively that physical punishment works if it's hard enough. Taps and non-marking slaps objectively don't count.

The reason Grayling shouldn't say it is that he is in government, whose official policy for twenty if not thirty years has been an evidence-based "smacking is bad".

Did he say it at a private party or something? No? Then he cocked up.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 18:39:43

What research says that? How would research like that even be conducted currently?

sydlexic Sun 03-Feb-13 18:40:22

Let's teach DC that if people don't do what you want then you hit them, what a lovely lesson to learn.

My labour voting parents believed in smacking, I vote Tory and don't.

ICBINEG Sun 03-Feb-13 18:43:30

I really don't get this issue....obviously smacking is wrong. That's why we teach our kids not to hit each other.

Equally obviously it is unnecessary. Every nursery worker up and down the country can keep at least 3 maybe more under 5s safe and within the rules of the nursery without hitting them. Every teacher can control groups of 30 plus without resorting to hitting.

If you genuinely can't work out your own method for discipline without violence then why not go ask a professional for some tips?

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 03-Feb-13 18:44:11

Interesting Horatia, which research is this, do you have any links?

I'd be interested as well, in the definition of the word "works" in this context. I presume it means that the child stops the behaviour that made the parent decide to hit the child? I'd also be interested in what age it "works" at.

I suppose it's very much about what you want for your child. In some cases, I'm sure hitting them regularly would achieve something you wanted so it would work, but I think lots of people don't necessarily want to achieve the thing hitting children might work for anyway, IYSWIM.

Hitting children in Victorian times worked because people wanted their DC's to be polite and respectful to adults and to go up chimneys in some cases. Persuading them to do that, would be much easier if you hit them really hard. Wanting your child to take responsibility for their own actions, is a very different sort of goal and might require a different thing to make it "work".

Iwillorderthefood Sun 03-Feb-13 18:45:57

It is hard though, there are a lot of times that a child may be stopped doing something but having a privilege taken away, or a favourite toy, or not be aloud to do something.

So how do you then teach that child to stand up for themself when a child at school uses the same tactic? We are having this very problem right now, in that a child tells DD she won't be her friend or won't do something with her, if DD doesn't do what the child wants.

Read first part if thread but DD in the bath and wants to come out so am rushing.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 18:50:52

star you've got to recognise surely that fiddling etc etc is what toddlers do. Sorry to patronise, but they are curious and want to learn. It's not about being naughty, it's about toddlers.

If you don't want them to fiddle, put it out of reach. Don't leave it there setting them up for a smack. Our living room is deliberately quite sparse for this reason. As long as it isn't dangerous, then you can distract them orshow them how to handle things safely.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 18:53:39

^ So much for traumatised for life by a single incident^

That's not really a good argument for smacking. There are things you shouldn't do to a child regardless of whether they'll remember.

Fanjounchained Sun 03-Feb-13 18:57:34

I personally don't smack and don't believe it's ever productive...I actually fell out with my Mum last week about this very thing after she smacked my 2yr old dd on the hand (as she keeps hitting her big brother !) Spoke to Mum, explained how I felt strongly about this and she apologised only to comment a few days later that DD "needed a skelp on the ar*e" as she was throwing a tantrum. I saw red at that point and spoke to her in a way that I have never done in my life before....was effin' and blinding and ended up telling her to f**k off if she didn't like my parenting style.

I can understand in certain circumstances why people would choose to smack (going to touch a fire or run out onto the road for example) and you're wanting a short, sharp shock but in most cases I don't see what it teaches a child. In life they will have to deal with people that are being cheeky, obnoxious, rude, argumentative and completely unreasonable - much like your average 3yr old ! - without resorting to hitting them. I think it's about teaching them about actions and consequences.

MiniTheMinx Sun 03-Feb-13 18:58:32

Everytime I see that bullish face of his I feel like slapping it.

Walnutcakelover Sun 03-Feb-13 19:00:41

Never have hit my dd, and never will, absoulately crap and cruel, don't care what anyone says.

FlickSticks Sun 03-Feb-13 19:03:57

I actually used to smack DD (7) occasionally when she really crossed the line but came up against some fierce criticism here on MN. I wouldn't back down at the time of the thread but afterwards I had a long think about it and haven't smacked since, that was about a year ago. I realised the smacking was more about me losing control than punishing DD.

Fanjounchained Sun 03-Feb-13 19:08:03

That's it in a nutshell *Flick".

Xenia Sun 03-Feb-13 19:11:17

I am very against. If yo believe hitting or smacking children teaches them something it can only be that the big hit the strong to get their way. If you believe that you also surely have to believe it would be fine for a husband to do the same to a wife. Why should the weakest be the only ones adults are authorised to use physical violence against?

In the UK the higher yours IQ and social class the less likely you will smack children.

It is also illegal in the UK if it leaves a mark and I hope children who are smacked will upload the footage to youtube to shame their parents.

I've smacked all of my dc and I vote Labour. I agree with other posters - mumsnet gets utterly crazy when smacking is mentioned.

MiniTheMinx Sun 03-Feb-13 19:15:20

For once I find myself in total agreement with Xenia.

marriedinwhite Sun 03-Feb-13 19:15:31

I agree - it's relative Xenia. But I'd rather a parent smacked a child to teach a boundary or two than allowed the child to lose all respect for boundaries, a la what happend in Pimlico a day or two ago.

marriedinwhite Sun 03-Feb-13 19:16:11

And are you saying that school teachers two generations ago didn't have high IQs?

noblegiraffe Sun 03-Feb-13 19:18:07

I was smacked quite regularly as a child, by a caring parent who was doing her best to raise polite, well-behaved children.

Far from not doing me any harm I believe that it has contributed to my fear of authority and terror of doing anything wrong that severely hinders me in any form of career progression.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Sun 03-Feb-13 19:22:15

Thing is - you really don't need to smack.

Frankly - they get 'consequences' for bad behaviours naturally without you needing to stoop to hitting - so long as you police the boundaries of what is acceptable.

I am so much bigger than my DC that I can implement 'stop STOP' without hitting. I've sat behind a tatrumming kid restraining their arms to stop them taking a chunk out me or themselves . No means no - and eventually that makes sense.

Februaryfun Sun 03-Feb-13 19:22:46

When someone tells me they smack their child I lose all respect for them

It's unnecessary and nasty. There are other strategies a thinking adult can a lot that encourage good behaviour.

"In the UK the higher yours IQ and social class the less likely you will smack children."

Nonsense. Tell them that at Eton.

My opinions - FWIW. For some children, smacking is effective. If you wish it to be a deterrent, the child has to know it will happen, and for the child to know that, it has to have happened at some point. In other words, once you have smacked, you rarely need to smack again, because the precedent exists.

For some children however, smacking is not effective and another way has to be found, since there is no point using a deterrent that doesn't deter.

My kids are now 22 and 16, and I smacked, when necessary, and luckily found it rarely necessary because they knew if I threatened it, they'd better stop or it would happen. And now, when they see small children being absolute shockers, they'll openly agree that a smack would do the trick nicely. And when I read out something atrocious and say 'why didn't YOU behave that way?' their reply is 'cos you'd have 'killed' us'. Now we all know I would not have 'killed' them, but it illustrates that the deterrent was effective.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Sun 03-Feb-13 19:28:39

I was smacked as a child. Memorably - thrashed with a leather belt by my babysitter shock . Even aged 6 I was thinking " this is more about you being scared that you screwed up and put me in danger, than about anything that I did wrong"

Pan Sun 03-Feb-13 19:30:01

This from balia four posts in."Erm...because it's wrong to hit people? "

Not sure how posters get beyond that.hmm

exoticfruits Sun 03-Feb-13 19:31:35

The fact that people can say 'it did me no harm' shows that it did. It is failure as a parent and shows the DC that those who are bigger and stronger can have their own way.

ArtemisiaGentileschisThumb Sun 03-Feb-13 19:31:37

I wouldn't smack my dog let alone my child. I just don't think inflicting pain, however brief, is a technique I want to use.

alemci Sun 03-Feb-13 19:37:45

I think I am inclined to agree with you Flouncy. I think sometimes people can be nasty to their children which may be worse than hitting them IYSWIM. Psychological bullying can be harmful as well.

Also I think sometimes parents want to be friends with their children. They are minors and you are in charge not them. Also why is it ok for them to hit you? or hurt teachers in the classroom.

marriedinwhite Sun 03-Feb-13 19:37:51

Agrees with *flouncymcflouncer*.

The belt Ann was a step too far, far too far and one I would never condone. A child should never had to live like that and never had to live in fear of a slap.

I don't condone physical punishment that is severe and I certainly don't condone physical punishment that is pre-meditated. That is why I don't for a second agree with Xenia that the higher the IQ the less likely it is to happen. Teachers for years condoned corporal punishment - not because it had an impact but because they enjoyed it and were too socially incompetent to deal with adults as equals; let alone children.

Premeditated punishment is disgusting regardless of class or IQ.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 19:39:08

I was smacked a lot as a child for all sorts of reasons and I found it humiliating, degrading and unfair, especially since it was frequently for things my younger siblings had done wrong.

I am against smacking children, but I have smacked the 4 of them a handful of times. So few times I can actually remember each one and feel guilty for having snapped- because that's what it is.

It is fatuous to say "it never did me any harm" because there's no control Grayling who was not smacked in childhood to compare with.

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 19:40:16

OK smacking is bad, but you lot still have not given me a working alternative for how to draw an ultimate line in the sand.

Several of you say you do smack in the end when the job just has to be done.

Taking toys off a child who doesn't give a monkeys about toys, who's whole environment is her toy box and her playground doesn't work. You can't live in an empty box. Believe me that's what is required to stop DD1 finding something to mess with.

Saying no toddlers or no music group to a 2-4 year old is pointless, they don't really care, It's mum who wants some human contact.

DD2 would have cared about her full day at nursery, but you don't pay £35 not to go.

By the time a child is 4 and doing every morning at pre-school they have to have know that somethings are not open for discussion. DD2 absolutely did because her sister had to get to school.

My two are 11 and 15 and they are delightful. DD1 is delightful by nature, despite her tendency to fiddle.

DD2 is delightful at school, utterly embarrassingly so. She pushes limits at home, but is quite happy to go to her room and calm down when she over does it. Now days she will even say sorry sometimes.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of smacking and I accept that morally it can't be the right answer. Practically here we've ended up with a happy, loving, peaceful house, where I never have to say no Ballet or I'm taking that lap top off you.

Yes, I still shout sometimes and I still haven't found the answer to getting help with house work, but as long as they still come up to me and DH on the sofa and demand a hug I don't care!

AmberSocks Sun 03-Feb-13 19:41:54

smacking is wrong,there is no way to justify it,you dont hit people,i dont care if it does no harm or lots,its wrong to hit.

ninjasquirrel Sun 03-Feb-13 19:42:45

alemci - no one is saying that it is ok for children to hit adults confused

As someone who was never smacked, the idea of doing it is so alien and bizarre. It's so obvious that it's unnecessary (as other people have said, nursery teachers manage fine...). Is there anyone who wasn't smacked themselves who suddenly decides that it's ok to hit their own children?

EauRouge Sun 03-Feb-13 19:44:16

"By the time a child is 4 and doing every morning at pre-school they have to have know that somethings are not open for discussion."

Maybe it's your expectations that need changing rather than the child's behaviour.

I don't have a problem with the odd smack. But I also don't have a problem with the odd smack for an adult who is being deliberately obnoxious.

MiniTheMinx Sun 03-Feb-13 19:49:28

I think we should all smack Grayling, he just has one of those " smack me" faces.

alemci Sun 03-Feb-13 19:49:31

I think it's ok and I think our society has become too liberal. I think there is a huge difference between belting your child and the odd slap. It is a difficult one .

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 19:49:54

My oldest was Mr Tricky and I'd have been beating him to within an inch of his life if I'd used smacking as a form of discipline. And he still wouldn't have done the things I needed him to do.

Things like dragging heels in the morning routine you turn into a game/ competition if you have several children. Or you simply take them to school in pyjamas. He only did that once, and put his clothes pretty sharpish in the car.

Not getting undressed for the bath (aged about 6). Asked him about 5 times, with increasing forcefulness/ impatience. Then picked him up and dumped him in the bath fully clothed. It was a lot harder for him to get his clothes off wet and he never did that again.

Not picking his own stuff up despite frequent reminders (ages 4-adulthood --he still effing does it--) put all lying around stuff into large binbag and redeposit in his room/ put in cupboard under stairs. He was always more inconvenienced than I was by it.

Not tidying his room/ having it like a pig-tip despite frequent requests- all superfluous stuff removed and put into attic/ thrown away depending on what it was. He was actually relieved when I did this (had to do about 4 times as he was growing up) and now uses this as a way of tidying.

etc It doesn't have to be pain to work.

The ONLY times I have smacked is for example when he jumped into a road in rush hour to avoid a cute spaniel on the pavement. Luckily there was nothing coming by at that precise moment or the immediate consequence could have been more than a sore leg...

alemci Sun 03-Feb-13 19:50:43

remember the Enid Blyton Faraway Tree with Dame Slap. Don't think that would go down too well these days.

MrsOakenshield Sun 03-Feb-13 19:53:16

gosh, I do wonder how my lovely PILs managed to bring up 4 children into decent human beings without smacking once - in fact, the next time I see MIL I shall ask her and let you know Startail, as there is obviously a way if you can be bothered. I wasn't smacked - I was spanked. Full on, back-of-a-hairbrush spanked. And I tell you know, much as I love my mum, as soon as I realized that this wasn't the norm, even amongst my peers (I'm in my 40s), my opinion of my parents as parents went straight downhill and remains there to this day.

I have a 3 year old and a number of the things Startail mentions work fine with her, particularly the threat of cancelling a planned activity like swimming - but even if they didn't I would never ever hit my child. I can't quite believe that you think hitting (please can we stop calling it smacking, it is hitting fair and square) is better than removing a material object (for example) for a specified period of time? Your moral compass leaves me boggled.

I can't search for the research as am on DH's work laptop and can't work out how to get an incognito window grin particularly since the search terms are as likely to bring up Fifty Shades as research papers. I first read about it in the Sunday paper last year or something and it really struck me. I will look again when I get on the PC I'm more familiar with (toddler nap and memory permitting).

I agree with the problem of the word "work" too. I don't want my children just to stop doing the naughty thing, I want them to know why they should stop, and modify future behaviour too.

I'm sure that if my DH smacked me every time I flick water at him from the bath I wouldn't flick water at him from the bath. But also I would fear him a wee bit, and respect him a wee bit less, and enjoy baths a wee bit less.

I overthink things. But what else does a child do in bed at night with nobody but the smacker to talk things over with?

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 19:57:37

I agree, the term 'smacking' is just used to make people who hit their kids feel less bad about what they do. It is hitting.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 20:00:11

I find your thinking odd star. You won't take something away but you will hit?


Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 20:02:39

Just to add the taking away thing only works for us if it is immediate. I wouldn't say no to things in the future as ds wouldn't understand it.

RSVP Sun 03-Feb-13 20:08:20

Once you include even occasional hitting in your parenting repertoire, then physical violence becomes an accepted form of behavior.

I think children register this and they become scared/intimidated/traumatised or go on and exert physical violence to others,most often their own kids, or both.

Conversely, if you have not been hit as a child by your parents then it's highly unlikely that you suddenly start to consider hitting as a legitimate form of behavior towards your own kids

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 20:12:39

Hmm I think there is a problem.

I think since smacking has been outlawed nothing has been put in it's place so an awful lot of children are growing up without discipline at all.As a generation we simply don't know how to discipline,nobody has taught us.

Smacking isn't ideal and before being a parent I always swore I'd never smack which I never did with my 2 eldest boys as they generally listen and you can reason with them.Dd however is a whole different kettle of fish as she's hard as nails.She went through a stage of pinching her brothers and I did tap her once to show her what it felt like as they simply would never strike back-she stopped.

Now said dd came back from a sleepover vile this afternoon and has been hollered at and had going to sleepovers taken away.She still continued to carry on appallingly,ruined tea and said some horrible things to her brothers,simply wouldn't stop.Time out the lot.Dp and I fell out due to the stress.Personally I suspect a controlled tap on the bum would have stopped things instantly but instead we had an afternoon of hell.

Shouting and threatening are imvho as bad as smacking and sometimes worse ditto not carrying through and doing nothing.If you turn a blind eye children feel uncared for and can suffer from low self esteem.I have read How to Talk-it doesn't work with dd and I suspect a lot of other spirited children.If anybody knows what exactly is the right way to discipline which works with 100% success do share.

I think due to the above a lot of parents take the easy route and do nothing,I've seen it time and time again and find it shocking as to how much parents let go.My mil was the laziest parent out,never smacked or disciplined at all.My sil is one of the most screwed up people I know who went completely off the rails and has pretty much ruined her life.

I was smacked,yes I was resentful however I am in a strange way grateful that my parents cared enough to keep boundaries,brought us up well and now I'm a parent I totally get why they did it.Yes I don't smack as a rule but to be frank I don't think my way of doing things is better and in some ways are far less controlled or successful.I also think some of my punishments will cause waaaay more resentment.

Funnily enough dd asked what happened to me when I was in trouble so I told her,she thought I was lucky and asked why she couldn't have a smack to get it over with- parents can't know that saying re screwing your kids up-tis oh so true!

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 20:17:52

Polka, they all come back from "sleep"overs vile! The solution is a nap, not a slap.

greyvix Sun 03-Feb-13 20:18:40

I smacked DD1 a couple of times when I was still working out what good parenting was; I was brought up by parents who smacked. I have never smacked the other 3, and I am ashamed of my earlier actions. All 4 DCs, now adults, were brought up to know boundaries and to understand the difference between right and wrong. DD1 still remembers being smacked, though cannot remember what caused it. I also remember my shame, and the fact that it was my own loss of control.
If you are teaching your DCs that violence is wrong, what message are you giving them by hitting them? It is also ineffective. If it worked, you would only ever have to do it once.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 20:20:06

Sadly she couldn't have a nap as she had a shed load of homework to do and sorry being rude when I picked her up and vile on the waaaay home to her brother merited far more than a nap.She's 8 not 2.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 03-Feb-13 20:21:55

I'm not convinced this is a Tory issue,didnt a labor chap make some stupid comment about lack of smacking causing the riots the other year?

Either way its a shit way to disapline,but I have noticed on the many to smack or not threads that most people don't appear to get the differences between disapline and punishment.

I'm very much against smacking and rather confused about the phrase reasonable physical chastisement mainly because everybody who hits there kids describes it as reasonable even when it clearly isant when it ceases to be reasonable chastisement it becomes child abuse, I'm not sure I have ever come across a child abuser who actually admits they are.

But that aside,my kids are fairly well behaved in all settings my adult children did well at school live independently have good jobs,my younger children do well at school know how to nbehave in most settings and have never experanced other adults do the raised eyebrow thing that happens when your kids are being demons and your sat there oblivious to your angels. Yet they have never been smacked,I also don't use stuff that most people would describe as punishment routinely.

We distract and educate as to what behaviour I expect on a day to day basis politely reminding what the expectations are when required and it works for us its a very effective alternative from smacking and shouting.

cory Sun 03-Feb-13 20:23:51

The argument that there is no alternative seems a bit strange to me, having grown up in a country where smacking was already frowned on in the 60s and later became illegal.

I was never smacked, my parents were not smacked either, not even sure my grandmother was smacked and she was born in the 19th century. My nieces and nephews have not been smacked and my greatnephew is not smacked. We haven't turned out any delinquents so far.

I and my contemporaries didn't feel that there were no boundaries or that our parents were incapable of disciplining us; as I remember it, we had a great deal of respect for adults, and the same seems to apply to the younger generation. I don't think my parents or grandparents sat around waiting for somebody else to put alternative discipline in place: they used their own initiative.

I wasn't smacked as a child so I don't want to smack mine (6 & 4 yrs). One of the things I'm trying to teach them is not to hit (particularly each other) and I don't see how hitting them would help.

Abra1d Sun 03-Feb-13 20:25:16

OP, do you really believe that nobody in the Labour party has ever smacked a child?

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 20:27:04

Polka, she will always come back from sleepovers exhausted. They don't actually do any sleeping at them. I would be amazed if your DD had more than a couple of hours actual sleep. Let's just say it's best not to programme an afternoon of homework after one until they're oo...16 and can manage their own timetables.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 03-Feb-13 20:31:08

I'm gobsmacked that a parent on this thread actually needs the government to tell her how to disapline her child

Thingiebob Sun 03-Feb-13 20:35:21

Anyone who says they've never smacked is a liar


I've never smacked my three year old. I think hitting is crap. I was hit as a child and yes I do remember it vividly.

And I know a lot of middle class families that hit their children so think Xenia's suggestion that it is a lower class punishment is crud.

MummytoMog Sun 03-Feb-13 20:37:43

When I saw the title, I thought you meant A C Grayling. I'm disappointed. I was looking for an intelligent discussion of corporal punishment. Oh well. I'll go do the ironing instead.

catgirl1976 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:40:35

DS isn't old enough for this to be an issue for me

I'd like to think I won't smack, but I don't think I can rule out the fact there are situations where it could happen

I was very occasionally smacked and I can honestly say it hasn't harmed me or my relationship with my DM (My dad never smacked me. He did smack DSis once, when as a teen she called my mother a "fucking bitch, but that's the only time he's ever raised his hand to any of us)

I think verbal abuse can be a lot more damaging than a slap on the hand or leg. Telling DC that you wish they'd never been born, or that they are worthless/stupid/horrible or that you hate them - that's going to hurt and linger far more than a slap, yet some people get hysterically paranoid about hitting when it's not necessarily a very big deal.

ClimbingPenguin Sun 03-Feb-13 20:47:39

I honestly can't work out a situation that I think will warrant me smacking my child. Just where it does it come into your thought process?

Incidentally I was smacked as child (my brothers at time horribly so).

It's a tool of anger, of the smacker lashing out. That part I understand, not the 'discipline' angle. If DD is doing something I don't want her to, repeatably, I take it as cue to look at what I'm doing wrong, not blame it all on her. I admit she is only 3.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 20:48:40

Duchesses didn't programme needs must and the vileness started the minute she was picked up-totally unacceptable.If she can't go without being rude she's not going.

The fact is parenting is hard and we aren't all born with the patience of a saint akin to Mother Teresa.Effective parenting takes skill and teaching.The fact is many haven't been taught and prefer to take the easy route which results in the behaviour problems you see in schools.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 20:50:24

And what Solid said-even shouting that isn't abusive,is it better?Not so sure myself.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 03-Feb-13 20:51:31

I have NEVER smacked ds. How do you think teachers and T.A.s manage at schools; they are not allowed to touch children and somehow they can instill discipline (of course some teachers don't do this but the majority do).

XBenedict Sun 03-Feb-13 20:51:52

Why is anyone who says they have never smacked a liar? I have 3 children and I have NEVER smacked, tapped, hit whatever you want to call it any of them.

ConstantCraving Sun 03-Feb-13 20:52:06

I find the assumption that if you don't smack you must use verbal abuse bizarre. Both are wrong surely - would you not just treat your children as human beings - i.e. NO abuse - not verbal, physical, psychological or emotional.

Xenia Sun 03-Feb-13 20:52:40

I am very very anti smacking. It i9s not an excuse to say verbal abuse is worse. You could apply the same argument in those times in UK history and those countries currently on the planets where husbands have a legal right physically discipline a wife,. Just change your language to apply the word woman for child and the smackers will see the true evil of their thought and deed.

Either they do it when they lose their temper and wish they had not in which case clearly they must be wrong or they do it later as some kid of calm thought that to exert physical force on a child is acceptable.

Let us be very very clear - it is very often illegal in the UK to smack a child. If any mark is left you break the law and mother mumsnetters may well report you and hopefully your children will. If no mark is left it won't have worked as it won';t be hard enough to cause pain. If you have devised a method or tool to cause the child pain without leaving a mark then you need psychiatric help.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:54:55

At best, it's ineffective. At worst, it's damaging.
It is possible to parent without smacking. How can you discipline using hitting, but teach a child it is wrong to hit? You can't. Ultimately, they will copy you.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:55:42

SGB - the examples you use are awful too. I wouldn't say any of those things to ds.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:56:34

I don't think it's especially a tory issue, though?

pointythings Sun 03-Feb-13 20:57:30

Frankly - they get 'consequences' for bad behaviours naturally without you needing to stoop to hitting - so long as you police the boundaries of what is acceptable.


I'm sorry, but it's perfectly possible to set boundaries and consequences for a lively toddler without resorting to smacking. Put fragile/dangerous things out of reach - if that means having a barrier across the kitchen door, so be it. If that means putting certain things in storage for a few years, so be it. If that means taking the time to minimise the opportunities for bad behaviour (by planning snacks/naps to avoid the fatigue/hunger which often triggers behaviours) so be it. If it means repeating the lesson over and over - because that is often necessary with toddlers - so be it.

It's also about picking your battles - does it really matter what insane outfit your toddler goes to nursery in, as long as it's appropriate to the weather?

It's perfectly possible to raise disciplined, well-behaved children without smacking. It's just the harder route to take. And frankly I don't care if you smacking advocates are offended by this last.

Snowkey Sun 03-Feb-13 20:58:34

Smacking is crap, lazy, out of control parenting.

MrsOakenshield Sun 03-Feb-13 20:58:47

but it isn't an either / or between verbal abuse and hitting, is it? Both are equally bad. I don't hit but I don't say dreadful things to DD either, though I can shout and I hate it and always apologise and talk to DD about it. Her behaviour has got pretty challenging in the last couple of weeks and I need to work on how best to deal with it, but hitting and verbal abuse are not on the list.

I agree that it can't help setting children up for the wider world where hitting as a form of discipline or punishment will never be on the agenda.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:01:16

The point about verbal abuse is irrelevant, of course you shouldn't verbally abuse, but a shout of 'hey, don't do that!' is not verbal abuse.

If you are saying the things SGB suggests OR hitting, you've lost control. But a raised voice alone does not equal verbal abuse.

Hitting is hitting and it is wrong. The fact that verbal abuse is also wrong doesn't make hitting kids less wrong.

Startail Sun 03-Feb-13 21:02:27

I guess I have no patience with prolonged resentment, winging, sulking and being "vile" all afternoon. I like to just get on.

I don't think I could physically have got DD2 into the car in her PJs, certainly not without levels of force that I wouldn't want to use.

She is the most socially aware child I have ever met, she would have been mortally embarrassed from about 2.

ballstoit Sun 03-Feb-13 21:03:03

Star You know what, I deal with my children by teaching them the behaviour I want and helping them not to behave in ways that are dangerous or harm or upset other people.

My children wouldn't get to 334 times of doing something I didn't want them to because I would look at why they were behaving that way and sort it. So, to take your sofa example;
- maybe they're climbing because it's a normal way for them to practise and develop their gross motor if I don't want them to climb on the sofa, I'll need to find something that they can climb.

- maybe they're climbing because it gets my attention (334 times of being told no, is 334 lots of attention and if there's no positive attention available, they'll go for being told off or smacked rather than get no attention) I'll up the amount of time I spend with them playing and having fun (which will take up the same amount of my time, as telling them off 334 times anyway)

- maybe they're climbing because they have energy to burn...we'll go for a run round the park

- maybe they're bored (which if they're not allowed to explore, they're likely to be) I need to distract them with interesting activities.

So, what I'm trying to say is...I choose to teach my child how to behave my showing them (which I won't be if I smack fact I'll be doing the complete opposite of modelling wanted behaviour), telling them and helping hem to do what they want, and giving them lots of positive attention when they're behaving well. This works because you both enjoy the time you spend together, and there's not a lot of normal, age expected behaviour naughtiness.

Or I could make use of my adult reasoning, planning and logical thinking telling them off 334 times, before losing my temper and whacking them.

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:04:29

ffs can we for once NOT have the "any parent who says they haven't is a liar"

No, they aren't. Mine are 10 and 8 and I have never laid a finger on either of them. And oddly enough, unlike ALL children of smackers, they haven't spent their childhood falling over each other to run in front of buses/stick their hands in the toaster either hmm

And "didn't do me any harm". Bit it did. You think it's OK to solve your problems by hitting people. But only people who are much smaller than you.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:04:48

Hmmm I was a teacher with very good discipline believe me it is different in a school situation as you have peer pressure and children will often listen to a stern teacher more than a parent.

I don't smack to discipline bar the pinching incident which was totally the right thing to do however I will be honest and say to be frank I look back at my controlled smacks as a child and compare them to how dp and I discipline dd (who is exactly the same as me)and I think there is a whole lot more stress involved, I'm also not convinced it is better.

I think a lot of parents don't smack but don't know what to do instead so do nothing which is very damaging imvho. At some point you can't turn a blind anymore and I think if you leave it too late to acknowledge and confront bad behaviour you're stuffed.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:07:54

But polkadot - the parents you describe are not failing because they don't smack. They are failing (according to you) because they do nothing! The two are not linked.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:10:34

And clearly going by behaviour in schools there are a lot of parents who don't know what to do,tolerate shite behaviour and do nothing.

Doing nothing is shite,lazy parenting too imvho.

Interested to hear the 100% fail safe discipline measures others use. I suspect if anybody could come up with one they'd make a fortune.

Parenting classes are what is needed and lots off them for all classes as some of the mc parenting I've seen is the worst of the lot.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:10:43

'I guess I have no patience' yep, it sounds like it.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:09

An embarassed 2 year old?! Wow you must have worked hard at teaching her to be humiliated via smacking.

There's no resentment if you remove something immediately. DS snatches a toy? Toy gets taken. In your case, I'd hit ds and let him still play with the toy.

It's not about removing something every time - only when it's relevant.

People have said that smacking made them feel humiliated. That's what you've done to your daughters. Made them feel small and powerless. You call it socially aware? No, you have made them learn that mummy is right simply because they'll get smacked otherwise.


Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:33

No wonder you get flamed star.

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:46

Smackers often do show themselves up on these threads with comments like that one. They lack imagination to the point where they assume that discipline in a non-hitting family must mean "a vacuum where smacking ought to be".

Sad, depressing, but thankfully on the way out. Most of you smackers are already breaking the law and the rest of you are on borrowed time. Children are the only people in our society who can legally be hit (apart from boxers) and it won't be the case for much longer. Better get your names down for some basic parenting classes...

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:48

They are linked.I was raised in the 70s when smacking was common and behaviour better.Smacking has been removed and nothing has been put in it's place.

Parents don't know what to do.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:13:24

don't think I could physically have got DD2 into the car in her PJs, certainly not without levels of force that I wouldn't want to use

You did use force. You smacked.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:13:41

No - smacking has "been removed" because it is wrong!
When you say nothing has been put in its place - what do you mean? I'm intrigued. Are you suggesting smacking was the answer to all society's ills? Unruly teens - what, there were none of these in the 70s? Really?

Shaky Sun 03-Feb-13 21:13:41

My ds is 3 and I have never smacked him.

My parents smacked me regularly as a child. I can remember one occasion when I had scraped "I hate my sister" with a pin on a wooden desk in my bedroom. My dad came into the room with his slipper behind his back and said he had seen it and knew I ad written it because I was the only one who could write. I am the eldest child. He whacked me so hard on my thigh with his slipper that I couldn't go to school the next day because I had a massive bruise and had PE so the teacher would have seen.

My mum used to wear those wedge heeled shoes that were back in fashion a few years ago, I can remember being hit by the heels of those too many times.

The last time my mum hit me I was 17, she found my oral contraceptive pill in my bag. I had gone to family planning and got sorted before having sex, I thought I was being responsible.... When my mum found out she went APESHIT, saying I wouldn't need it unless I had had sex. When I said I did need it she slapped me and called me a slut!!! shock

I wish I had been able to talk to her and ask her advice before having to take myself to the clinic on my own.

I'm sure she would be mortified if she ever read this as she thinks that she is a perfect parent.

I don't want my son to have memories like this sad

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:14:06

Grabbing and dragging aren't preferable either.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:14:34

They are linked.I was raised in the 70s when smacking was common and behaviour better

Evidence please.

EauRouge Sun 03-Feb-13 21:15:17

It isn't smacking or nothing though confused There are lots of other ways to discipline your children. Ballstoit wrote an excellent post just a few posts earlier with some ideas. Parenting classes might help parents to see that there are other ways to teach your children the appropriate way to behave. But it is certainly not smacking or nothing.

Shaky Sun 03-Feb-13 21:15:38

Sorry x posted with loads of you. That took ages to type.

No I am not a liar, I really have not smacked my ds

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:16:00

For every child that was smacked and has grown to say "it didn't do me any harm", I have heard a tale along the lines of "it harmed me, because..."

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:18:43

Many parents do know what to do. If you don't, polkadot, ask them or go n a course.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:19:13

C&p'd from the NSPCC website:

"Parents may believe there are occasions when only a smack will work. For example, your child is very disobedient; your toddler runs into the road; or one of your children bites a playmate. It can be tempting to think a smack sorts out these incidents quickly, but it does nothing to teach your child about how you want them to behave.

Instead, it:

gives a bad example of how to handle strong emotions
may lead your child to hit or bully others
may encourage your child to lie, or hide feelings, to avoid smacking
can make defiant behaviour worse, so discipline gets even harder
leads to a resentful and angry child, damaging family relationships if it goes on for a long time."

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:19:30

No Cat I'm suggesting parents are confused,frustrated and bewildered.I know because I've had them sat in front of me saying that.Yes smacking children isn't preferable however doing nothing is worse behaviour wise. As a society we removed smacking and haven't taught parents what to do in it's place so they try 101 things often with zero consistency,stress and frustration. Some do nothing preferring to believe their little darlings are perfect because it's easier.

WickWackThurso Sun 03-Feb-13 21:19:52

I read this somewhere:

When an adult hits an adult it is called assault
When a child hits an adult it is called defiance
When an adult hits a child it is called discipline

Hitting is hitting is hitting - it is wrong, always, to physically, emotional, verbally or otherwise abuse someone else - particular those who are vulnerable and depend on you.

If you honestly cannot think of any other way of parenting your child than assaulting them, then you owe it to them and yourself to seek help, advice and support.

If physical punishments worked, then why is it not ok for your boss to hit you? Or for your child to be hit by their teacher? It is not ok, because it is not ok.

I have never, ever, and will never, ever hit my children. I was smacked, hard, as a child. I remember the pain, hurt and complete bewilderment/feeling of injustice. I work in child protection now and see, hear and read the most awful things about physical punishments - I think it is very hard for there to be a line of what is "acceptable" and what isn't - much better to say none, end of.

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:20:52

it's the ones who maintain that it did them no harm who manifest the most damage tbh. Their moral compass is all fucked up. They think it's fine to hit people smaller and weaker than themselves in order to force compliance.

People who know it did them harm tend to have done a bit more work on their personal development and have cottoned on that it might be an idea not to hit their own children.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:21:53

"Yes smacking children isn't preferable however doing nothing is worse behaviour wise."

Well - I'm not sure that it is worse tbh.
Worse for who?
A parent who literally does nothing when their child misbehaves clearly has many issues to address. But I really don't think that introducing smacking is going to help - if they are genuinely doing "nothing" (and I am not sure there are many of these, I've never met one!) then their lives are likely to be so chaotic introducing physical violence as well is going to be the last thing they need!

FlickSticks Sun 03-Feb-13 21:21:55

I don't smack (anymore) but I remember being smacked on occasion as a child. I think about 3 times in all, I remember every time and never did what I had been smacked for again. I don't think it harmed me, in fact I think my parents were right to but the difficulty is where do you draw the line? There will always be people who go to far and attack their DC, or smack in fits of anger because hey are in a bad mood, or smack for silly reasons, or smack too hard, this is why I feel it's better just to not smack at all.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:09

Cannot believe some of what just read? It's just madness. Apologies to whoever said this (as in, am so not flaming an individual here or singling anyone out but just saw it down thread after a few others) but just using it as a pretty good EG:

"DS was far more challenging and the third time he opened and left open the freezer door at three having been told quietly and gently twice not to do it and having the reasons explained - he got a smack (on the back of the hand)"

HITTING a THREE year old for opening a freezer door? Erm, safety locks anyone? Bloody improvement on physically and deliberately hurting your child (although DO get that putting child locks on things might be a bit more effort for some people if they have "I'll HIT you" in their back pocket"?

The only time I ever hit one of my DS's was in extreme circs, and was a gut reaction to utterly atrocious behaviour. I was more sickened than can find words for at what I did. So with 3 DS's adding up to 50 individual years of parenting, other than that mad lash-out, I never ever hit my kids. And guess what? They are generally well-behaved, they love & respect me (as I do them?), and ESP. when they were younger would often have people overtly comment on how well-behaved and how well-mannered they were.

It achieves NOTHING, but I will agree it a bloody easier, quicker & lazier option than actually full-on proper parenting where you stick with absolute love & above boundaries - boundaries that you enforce no matter HOW long it takes and with utter perseverance (IE the opposite and way more time and care consuming than a wallop). I think I even read one re hitting a 13month old?? That is child abuse plain & simple, not 'smacking'.

And to anyone who rolls out the 'it did me no harm yada yada' - yes it did. It turned YOU into someone who doesn't see it for what it is as it's normalised for you. Those of us who WERE smacked/beaten but learnt from it how horrific it is for a child's self-esteem & their respect (RESPECT, not FEAR), both KNOW how damaging it was for us AND resolved to NEVER inflict that indignity and humiliation on OUR DC's - even if it DOES take WAY more time and effort than the parents I see threatening their kid with a wallop at Supermarket/wherever. And before anyone even thinks of flameing me for stating the bloody obvious above, please check out my other posts - in particular one I had to start desperately urgently on Friday as my terminally ill Mamma suddenly deteriorated rapidly. Cos d'you know what? As well as remembering all her good bits, I also remember the slaps/how they made me feel/the problems it led to. Trust me, if you want to smack, 'tap' (lol at the minimising 'tap' sh*t), or wallop your kid, they WILL be damaged by it &/or hate you for it.

So would strongly advise you roll the tape forward, see how they will likely see you (ESP. when they have their own DC's), and maybe invest more time in parenting - with ALL the effort and time that takes - and less quick 'fix' wallops. Know am still in shock re my own Ma and the shocking state she is now and the fact that she is going to die in next 2-3 days, but don't think is a single word above that still wouldn't written even if WASN'T in deep shock, trauma, and loss. And - above all else - guess what? Yep, CARING for my DC's throughout this.

Cat98 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:15

I am really pleased to see so many posts against smacking. I'm sure the last time this came up on MN and I saw it the split was about 50-50

ballstoit Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:47

Thanks Eau, I teach parenting classes so am lucky enough to work with parents and help them find different ways of getting the behaviour they want from their children.

Most don't want to smack, but that's what they experienced and they don't know what to do instead, other than the naughty step.

RaisinBoys Sun 03-Feb-13 21:26:05

Let's call it what it is - it's hitting. Smacking is a construct to make those doing the hitting feel less like they are doing something wrong.

I was hit. It didn't work and if it did, surely you would only have to do it once.

Being hit damaged the relationship I had with my parents and to this day it has never been repaired.

If you hit a child you have lost control. It's about you and not them.

What awful, wicked, evil deed can be done by a 2,3,4...8 year old that warrants them being hit by their principal care giver? Being hit by the same hand that in turn is supposed to offer comfort, love and care?

I don't get it. I never have. I never will.

I have never hit my 9 year old DS (and believe me he is no angel). There are plenty of other sanctions that we impose that work well startail.

Incidentally my parents in law brought up 3 strapping, law abiding, delightful chaps without ever hitting them once.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:26:49

Oh I have no evidence it's common sense.Behaviour is appalling now,children are depressed and you see so much utter crap parenting-hollering,ignoring,dragging,placating,rewarding with materialistic goods,rewarding crap behaviour full stop......

In the old days kids got a clobber,yes it was wrong but kids behaved because they were scared not too.Most loved their parents it was just the way it was.That time has gone thankfully but now the fear has gone so has the discipline as parents don't know what to do.

I find the How to Talk very effective however I have had to research it,keep dipping into it and it's quite dry.Sometimes my personality doesn't lend to it as when dd has been a monster calming telling her how bad she is making me feel isn't actually possible-so sue me! Many,many parents don't have the time or inclination to look out effective discipline methods.

Parenting classes are needed desperately by the vast majority of parents imvho.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:27:17

Polkadot what you are saying makes no sense. Are you seriously suggesting that all these amazing potentially consistent parents have morphed into inconsistent parents because they can't hit? That's bollocks. If they were going to be consistent with hitting in their repertoire they can be consistent without it. My parents hit me. They were utterly inconsistent over when they would do it. Usually depended what mood THEY were in when I did something.

cheddarcheeselover Sun 03-Feb-13 21:28:04

I was smacked. I have never and will never smack my DC. it's wrong. Giving birth to someone does not give you the right to inflict pain on them.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:28:37

Oh I have no evidence it's common sense

Sorry but that's bullshit IMO.

You think you need to hit to get decent behaviour?

We used to have the cane in schools. Bring that back shall we?

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:29:23

Oh and Cat many very middle class parents simply do nothing.Some of the worst behaviour I witnessed was in the poshest school in taught in.

It has been proved that not disciplining or giving effective boundaries can lead to depression and insecurity in children.They just think parents don't care.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:29:57

Iggly you clearly haven't read my post so I won't bother reading yours.

XBenedict Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:16

Ballstoit wrote a very good post, no smacking, verbal abuse. Insightful parenting IMO smile

EauRouge Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:21

Behaviour may be 'worse' now (in some people's opinions) but there are a lot more things that have changed than just parents not smacking their children any more. I'm not sure you can link the two with any certainty.

AllDirections Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:32

Personally I suspect a controlled tap on the bum would have stopped things instantly but instead we had an afternoon of hell.

^ I've often wondered about this too. ^

I don't think that parents who smack use smacking as a first option but more as an option in extreme circumstances for children who don't respond to any other methods of managing bahaviour. And smacking isn't about teaching children, it's about stopping a particular behaviour immediately.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:41

Yellow not all parents smacked like that.

Shaky Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:56

My dp recently said to ds "if you hit me, I will hit you back"

I replied "if you hit him you will be living on your own" angry

He hasn't threatened it since

alemci Sun 03-Feb-13 21:32:24

I do think it was more acceptable in the 70's. I remember a lady who took me to school saying she would smack me if I didn't blah blah blah. She didn't hit me but I remember thinking what a cheek. She wasn't my parent.

I also argued with my grandmother (again her saying grandad would hit me) don't think he did and me saying 'well, he's not my father and she retorted he doesn't have to be your father".

If it should be banned then there must be some form of discipline as someone else on this thread stated. No discipline isn't good parenting either.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:32:54

You're saying it's common sense - that smacking was why children were better behaved. How do you know? You don't.

We dont have feral children running wild.

I reckon most of us do a good job with the poor parenting being the minority of cases.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:19

Right so there are no behaviour problems and we're all doing a good job-really???

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:21


it's the ones who maintain that it did them no harm who manifest the most damage tbh. Their moral compass is all fucked up. They think it's fine to hit people smaller and weaker than themselves in order to force compliance.

People who know it did them harm tend to have done a bit more work on their personal development and have cottoned on that it might be an idea not to hit their own children.


PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:37:24

No some of us know it did us no harm however don't think it is the right thing to do and are sometimes bewildered in many a parenting situation as the tools haven't been taught.

Parenting classes are what is needed not hysteria and pretending that bad behaviour doesn't exist.

FunnysInLaJardin Sun 03-Feb-13 21:37:24

it is not hitting. If I hit someone I would do it with my fist and they would feel it. If I ever smack my DC I do it after plenty of warning when they have been really naughty time after time and then only with my fingers or an open hand on their legs. It is the last resort and they know it.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:39:48

Polkadot - you don't know how most people hit their kids. You only know your family. I only know mine. I'm just saying mine hit unpredictably. You have no evidence to draw on to claim my parents' way wasn't the norm.

You post as though you know how families are behind closed doors. But unless you've done extensive research, you are just making it up.

To be honest, anyone who resorts to 'it's common sense' has lost the argument.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:40:16

Read my post. I said most of us are doing fine.

Do you think most children are well behaved?

Or do you think most children are out of control?

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:40:20

It absolutely is hitting. Punching, slapping.. they are all forms of hitting.

You may not like it (I don't like it either, that's why I don't do it) but you don't get to annexe bits of the English language and warp them so that you don't have to face up to the fact that you are hitting a child.

It pisses me off when smackers try to dilute their behaviour by saying "just a tap" and "it's not really hitting". It is. If that bothers you, good. That's your conscience telling you it's wrong.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 21:41:19

Definition of hit: come into contact with forcefully, to strike.

If you use your fist it is a punch.

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:42:13

I have managed to teach children from age 2 to 18 and have excellent classroom discipline, obviously without smacking. I have never smacked DS (age 4) and I assume I won't ever smack DD (17 mo). I think the two are related; I am very confident in my behaviour management at school and at home and I've had lots and lots of practice at dealing with people who want to do things that I think aren't appropriate!

I think it's entirely down to having realistic expectations, creating the right environment and having very very clear boundaries. DS only ever goes on the naughty step for violence. He understands that any toys that don't get tidied up will go in the bin (I've only ever had to do that once) and that if he dicks about at bedtime then he won't get read to.

I don't have to smack because I am confident in how I manage my DC's behaviour but this is primarily because it's what I do all day, every day. I agree that there are some people who don't get this sort of practice and therefore aren't confident in dealing with their children's behaviour and that probably the only solution is parenting classes. It's a shame that there is such a stigma attached to them.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:42:29

I think far too many are not doing fine,far from it.Bad behaviour manifests itself in all sorts if ways in teenage years,kids don't need an asbo to be badly behaved,ill disciplined and not reaching their full potential.

balia Sun 03-Feb-13 21:42:43

Hitting is wrong.
Verbal abuse is wrong.
Total lack of discipline/parenting/teaching is also wrong.

There are classes/resources/support to help people avoid the above. I am not suggesting it is easy.

I'm a teacher. I wouldn't hit your children whatever they did. I keep order in my classroom in other ways. And I have the support of the school when doing so.

I'm a mother. I wouldn't hit my children whatever they did. I have managed (with DH and my wonderful wider family) to pretty much keep things in order at home.

I am a step mother. I wouldn't hit my DH's child whatever he did. There have been difficult times and we have dealt with them. DH and I have supported one another.

It is not OK to hit children. If you want an instant quick fix solution to every problem you are going to be disappointed, whether you lash out or not. It is a long-term job. Sometimes you have to sit back and think, right, what am I teaching these children. That it is OK to hit? That it is OK to hit someone smaller than you? That it is OK to hit someone who is overtired/whiney/bratty/resentful/vile/scared you/asking for it/didn't listen last time/pushes boundaries/gets on your nerves/would take too long to sort out by another method...


Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:44:13

Yes but do you think most are doing badly?


feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:45:25

Sorry. I sound smug as hell in my post. I am not an insane control freak and I do lose my rag. I have yelled at DS horribly a few times and I did once drag him off DD when he had really hurt her. My behaviour management is far from perfect but it's good enough to not need to hit my kids (and I agree that it is hitting, you can't sugar-coat it).

RSVP Sun 03-Feb-13 21:45:42

I often hear of hitting as a means of preventing a potentially dangerous situation, i.e. child running off to the road.

A genuine question: surely hitting does not prevent an accident on the spot? Grabbing, shouting, jumping in from of them maybe, but hitting?

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:46:35

Hmmmm feral I was of that belief,had consistent outstanding feedback re my discipline in school-even supported struggling staff,ditto with the dtwins-then dd came along! grin Yes compared to the majority she js a good kid,an angel at school and in public however she pushes the boundaries at home - a lot.Kids differ and being a mummy js different to being a teacher-just sayin.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:47:25

I think more are behaving badly and are less disciplined yes.

pointythings Sun 03-Feb-13 21:47:31

I am bewildered by the posters on here who seem to imply that it's either smacking or doing nothing. Yes, there are some crap parents who let their DC get away with anything and everything. There was one at our local pool yesterday, kept running in and out of the automatic doors letting the cold air in over and over again, and it was brass monkeys out here. And the mum did nothing. She was a lazy, crap parent.

But my DDs were not doing that stuff, didn't even think of pulling that stuff, and they were not smacked - just taught boundaries.

I do agree with PolkaDotCircus that parenting classes are needed, simply because choosing not to smack means you have to do a lot of hard work researching alternative methods and fine tuning what works for you. There will be many people who need help with that.

But smacking is not and should not be an acceptable alternative to doing that hard work.

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:48:00

I don't think that most people are doing badly. The vast majority of kids that I teach/ have taught are reasonably behaved and are well parented. There are a few, and it's a very small minority, who are a problem because their parents are a problem.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:50:19

Feral. I think it depends on the schools. I have countless friends still teaching agog at the behaviour they see.

exoticfruits Sun 03-Feb-13 21:50:34

Apart from anything else- all discussed on here- it doesn't work! The same children get smacked again and again!
The danger is when people 'think it did them no harm' and so they do it in turn. I was never smacked- my parents were never smacked- so I would consider myself a failure if I did it.

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:52:15

Polka I know parenting and teaching are different but don't you think that one informs the other? I am much more circumspect as a teacher now that I have kids (nothing any student could do could ever be as infuriating as DS) and I am really good at using my voice to discipline him simply because I am aware of how I speak because it's my job.

I know all kids are different but I'm still confident that I could never be induced to smack one.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:52:45

Exactly Pointy,I think if I have to work hard at alternatives I can kind of see why parents who the first child they have ever had any interaction with is their own struggle.

Iggly Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:33

So you think most children are badly behaved?

ScramblyEgg Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:53

Those of you who agree with hitting - do you think that teachers should also be able to hit your children? If not, why not?

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:54:05

Of the kids teach it's usually the abominably behaved few whose parents are of the "Ged 'ere <thwack> yer norravin any more crisps" persuasion.

Children who are still hitting others at school age (SN and more specific EBD issues excepted) are often those whose families have poor physical boundaries and whose parents lack alternative strategies to shouting and smacking. IME.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:55:38

Yes Feral I think teachers are better equipped however I think saying I discipline 30 kids without smacking so it must be easy to parent without is wrong.I actually found teaching 30 extremely challenging children easier at times than dd in one of her strops iykwim.

BooCanary Sun 03-Feb-13 21:57:44

Oh good grief. What a load of sanctimonious clap trap on this thread. Talk about over thinking things.

My DM occasionally smacked me. Tbh, before I joined MN I'd never thought twice about it. I'm pretty sure I was being a real pain, and probably deserved a punishment, so fair enough.

I have very occasionally smacked my dcs on the bottom. I can't say they have been particularly bothered tbh, and I tend to favour other more effective punishments.

But I really think all the hand wringing about this is a total overreaction, and I wonder how many of the perfect parents on this thread raise their voice at their dcs, or ever manhandle them for any reason?!?

Oh and BTW, both myself and my parents are pretty left wing....

balia Sun 03-Feb-13 21:57:51

I think the harm it does is manifest in the expression 'It didn't do me any harm', TBH - apart from get you to accept that hitting is OK, that inflicting pain as a way of controlling others is normal, that having a 'no harm' policy is good enough when really as a parent you should be looking to do what is best for your children, the best you can possibly do.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 21:58:16

Greensleeves I don't agree some of the hardest kids I've taught are the mc kids with zero discipline ,never been smacked or told off full stop who can do no wrong in mummy's eyes- they are seriously hard nuts to crack and often very manipulative.

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:58:42

"I have countless friends still teaching agog at the behaviour they see." I agree Polka that it depends on the school to a certain extent, and the demographic, but still I maintain that problem behaviour is from a minority of kids, otherwise we would be living in anarchy surely?

It's anecdotal, and it's only one case, but I spoke to the father of probably the naughtiest student that I ever taught and he told me, "just give him a clout. It's alright, I give you permission, I won't prosecute you. It's the only way to make him behave." By the time this kid was 15, I'm sure it was the only way to make him behave.

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 21:59:12

It does give you an interesting perspective though, to spend an afternoon trying to contain an angry, insecure child who hits out at other children and can't control his impulses, then to see that child crossing the playground with his parent dangling him by one arm and swiping at him with the other.

And the more genteel "controlled smack" is even worse. How cold-blooded to calmly hit a person much smaller than you. It teaches all the wrong things and tend to satisfy parents who care more about appearances - ie "it stopped him doing it" - than about what is actually going on inside the child.

seventiesgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 21:59:38

I think the pros and cons of smacking go round and round in circles. But my position is it's not the right way to do things ( although I have smacked, sad to say)

The point of my post was that for someone in such a position in government it was a reckless comment, opening the door for people to start belting their kids because "the government says it's ok".

thegreylady Sun 03-Feb-13 22:01:01

I brought my dc up in the 70's when smacking was accepted. I think each of them was smacked twice in total and I have been beating myself up about it ever since sad
Neither of them has ever smacked their own dc.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:02:12

I didn't read the comment in it's full context.If he was saying discipline needs to be sorted out and they'll cough if for parenting classes on a wide scale then I applaud him however I suspect that wasn't the case.

OK, the difference between hitting a small child and hitting a friend/colleague/partner... On the whole, you are not in authority over your friends/colleagues/partners and you are not responsible for managing their behaviour. If you are in authority over workmates, you have set sanctions should they do something wrong (docking pay/suspension/sacking). Parents do have authority over small children and need to manage their behaviour - we supervise what they eat, we decide on their bedtimes etc. Sometimes it's useful to have an immediate, effective sanction when there isn't another available eg when you are out shopping with a small child who is behaving badly. There's no naughty step in a shop. The child might not have anything with him/her that can be confiscated as a punishment. 'No TV when we get home' doesn't really register with a toddler. However, if a toddler is repeatedly touching things in a shop and has had several warnings, a light slap on the hand is generally effective (same as it would be for a dog.)

And all this waa, waaa, over the use of the word 'smacking'. FFS there is a considerable difference between a slap and a punch even though both are 'hitting'.

feralgirl Sun 03-Feb-13 22:03:22

And I never actually said that disciplining 30 kids without smacking makes it easy to parent without it. Parenting is never easy but teaching has made me more confident and more patient. That is what I said.

Cadden Sun 03-Feb-13 22:03:28

Suppose DH smacks me occasionally (he doesn't), not hard, not often, and only when I deserve it. Because he knows best? Because he's bigger than me? To teach me a lesson? To set an example?

Hitting children? Is that the big thing to do?

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:04:05

Anyhoo hollering at dd has given me a headache so I'm off.

pointythings Sun 03-Feb-13 22:04:29

PolkaDotCircus my DDs were the first children I ever interacted with for any length of time and I haven't needed to smack, so I'm not sure that argument holds water. Having said that, I'm one of those people who do things on an evidence base (I work in research) so when I found out I was pregnant with DD1, I read up a lot on parenting theory and practice. I absolutely accept that this might be difficult for a lot of people to do.

That still does not make hitting children acceptable. I think that the problem is that there are a lot of parents out there who only ever experienced smacking as a means of discipline, so that is what they pass on. But then one starts getting into the ethics of making parenting classes compulsory, funding them, all the practicalities involved in promoting those alternative strategies.

But it all has to start from an acceptance that hitting children is not good parenting, and we are still a long way from that. Grayling doesn't help there.

pointythings Sun 03-Feb-13 22:05:39

Cadden I believe that was Sean Connery's excuse...

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 22:05:47

That depends on how you define "effective" SGB. If you're concerned only with appearances and not on the child's actual learning and development, then a smack may well "work". Fine for a dog (arguably). Lazy, cowardly and frankly quite stupid for a child. Assuming you want a healthy huma being out of it. One who doesn't think it's ok to solve his problems with violence.

Dancergirl Sun 03-Feb-13 22:05:59

Interesting debate.

I've smacked my dc a couple of times over the years, but am generally against it now. Although at the time, it sort of worked in that they knew instantly they had crossed the line.

But what no-one has said on here is....WHAT do you do as an alternative? My youngest dd (nearly 6) can be dreadfully behaved at times. Tantrums, rudeness, hitting/kicking her sisters. I've tried no tv punishment: she wasn't that bothered and doesn't watch that much tv to start with. Taking away toys/books etc: doesn't work, she doesn't have a particular favourite, I would have to clear out entire room. I've tried the carrot approach with sticker charts: sort of works for a while then she loses interest.

So what do you actually DO with a child like this if you don't smack? Serious question as I am clearly getting it very wrong at the moment sad

Greensleeves Sun 03-Feb-13 22:06:55

and..... the only person going "waaaa, waaaa" is you. Again.

Cadden Sun 03-Feb-13 22:08:34

What do you do when the smacking stops being effective? Move onto a strap? or cigarette burns?

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 22:09:22

SGB I think if you're saying a parent is ok to hit a child because they are not capable of thinking of another sanction, that's pathetic.

AllDirections Sun 03-Feb-13 22:09:44

Me too Dancergirl with my DD3 who has just turned 6. I've tried everything and she doesn't respond in ways that you would expect a child to. I'm out of answers sad

girliefriend Sun 03-Feb-13 22:10:45

I like to sit on the fence with regards to smacking as I think in theory it is wrong to hit a child, in reality kids can push you to your mental, physical and emotional limits!!

I have smacked my dd, the last time however was 4yrs ago when she was 3yo, she was out of control, screaming, kicking and hitting me. I smacked her once and she immediately stopped, calmed down and apologised.

I felt awful though and wish I had the saint like patience that some of the rest of you obv have hmm I think now she is older it is so much eaiser to reason with her and I wouldn't ever need to smack her.

I was smacked as a child and think it probably did harm my relationship with my dad, although I have sympathy with him, I think it was used too often and not always as a last resort.

<gets back up onto the fence>

Voldemortified Sun 03-Feb-13 22:13:42

BooCanary, I am with you on all counts.

Reading this thread is just depressing. There is too much aggression on this site - and I'm not talking about "smackers" (wtf, btw??) - I'm talking about women who have nothing better to do than attack each other anonymously. I'm going to bed.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 22:14:09

That depends on how you define "effective" SGB. If you're concerned only with appearances and not on the child's actual learning and development, then a smack may well "work". Fine for a dog (arguably). Lazy, cowardly and frankly quite stupid for a child. Assuming you want a healthy huma being out of it. One who doesn't think it's ok to solve his problems with violence.

This. It's always been my point when people wax lyrical about how well behaved X smacked child is/was. I mean you, father. I'm bringing up thinking humans, not puppies trained to react to stimuli.

DiamondDoris Sun 03-Feb-13 22:14:38

My DD has brought me to tears and to my knees pulling my hair viciously over somethng trivial - she does this a lot - I usually walk away (ignoring is best sometimes) but I have slapped back in retaliation - not good as it becomes a vicious circle. I can now see the triggers and can usually avoid a meltdown - she's 9 and usually a lovely girl. I don't see slapping as teaching them any kind of lesson other than it's okay for people to hit each other.

Shakirasma Sun 03-Feb-13 22:14:55

Smacking is lazy parenting IMO.

I was smacked and My feelings towards my parents were rather negative. I was a good kid but although I loved my parents I also resented them, slightly feared them and found them unapproachable.

I have 3 children, all well behaved, polite and happy. I am quite a strict parent with zero tolerance for back chat and bad manners, and a short threshold for nonsense. I do not smack my children!

Those who want an ultimate solution to bad behaviour or a direct alternative to smacking, will be waiting a long time for an answer because there isn't such a thing. Every situation and example of unwanted behaviour needs dealing with in a way that is relevant to the problem at the time.

The main thing is to have your children's respect. This is earned by making boundaries clear, being consistent with your expectations of them. Making consequences clear and following through with any threats - always.

When your children respect you, they care about how you feel. They want to earn your approval and get disappointed in themselves if they disappoint you.

Teach them good behaviour by example, give them your time and attention, positive praise is a huge deal, as a motivator and an esteem builder.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:15:12

Dancer that is my nonmaterialistic,headstrong and willfull dd.What does one do for these little pickles when all the text book stuff doesn't work?

Well today I hollered,made her write lines,banned her from sleepovers and threatened to take her gerbils away.Yes I'm not proud(started off patient and calm doing all the text book stuff for the first 3 hours)however I had an apologetic dd at bedtime who understands she behaved badly. Was all that better than a smack when she was spewing rudeness and bad behaviour I don't know but what I do know is letting it go wasn't on. As a child I wouldn't have dared behave like that as I knew I'd get a smacked bum.

I more than nobody should have had the answers,I didn't.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:25

I'm pissing myself laughing at the idea that kids were better behaved in the 70's

I actually dread my children finding out about some of the stunts I pulled because its stuff they wouldn't dream of doing.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:34

And interestingly, my father, having spent the first 13 years of my son's life telling me I was ruining him, how he just needed a good wallop, how he was clearly mentally ill, how I was bringing him up to be an antisocial fuckhead, now waxes lyrical about bright he is and what a good job I did given how tricky he was. DS is 19 now by the way seems not to be an antisocial fuckhead with psychopathic tendencies and scant regard for other people's feelings as prophesied.

SGB I've used the naughty step (rolled up jumper) in the middle of Sainsbury's before. It was very effective.

I've also scooped up each of the DSs and left the park / the shops / toddler group when nothing else has worked so he know's I don't bluff about going straight home.

You don't need to smack.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 22:18:26

Yes indeed sock! Children were often feral in the 1970s but their parents had no idea as they were too busy getting pissed down the pub.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:18:38

So Jammy what if the other child hasn't misbehaved and is enjoying said toddler group?

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sun 03-Feb-13 22:19:17

I don't have an excess of patience, I just don't hit. I thnk describing it as saintlike and pulling hmm faces is a bit uncalled for. Saintlike implies it is really out of the ordinary, but actually isn't it about 50/50 do/don't hit?

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:20:33

I don't hit but I'm certainly not patient.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 22:23:00

Explain to well-behaved child that you are going to have to go home, but they can have hot-chocolate with marshmallows on when you get there/ some other treat while badly-behaved child is going to go for some time out. And for goodness sake don't forget to explain to punished child why you are leaving! I have often left shops/ restaurants/cafes due with a screaming small child, sat outside with them until they stop screaming (usually quite quickly as they're so shocked to be literally out in the cold), explained why we had to leave, got their cooperation and gone back in again. Once they know you mean it, they stop misbehaving in public.

I was able to take my 6, 4 and 2 year olds at the same time to full-length classical music concerts. OK, the 2 year old needed my credit cards and purse to play with after about 30 mn but the point is they were completely quiet and well-behaved.

Thankfully they're 4 years apart Polka so I've not had too many occasions where I've had to do that, and DS1 has been quite understanding really, I try to make sure he has an alternative treat when we get home.

TBH DS1 was far worse, used to have proper full on tantrums but knowing that if I said 'you mess, we go home' worked really quite well.

Dancergirl Sun 03-Feb-13 22:26:24

alldirections and polkadot - slightly comforting to know I'm not alone. But her behaviour gets me down at times and sometimes I feel like a complete failure as a parent as I really do believe that behaviour is down to parenting not the child.

duchesse Sun 03-Feb-13 22:30:04

Dancer, I used to think that but the more time goes on the more I believe that actually their own personalities and genetic makeup play a huge role. You only handle them the way they are in the first place and they are born with a personality that reacts with those around them in a particular way. You can use pretty much the same parenting with different children and end up with widely different results! So I'm not sure parenting (unless it involves keeping the kid in a box and/or abusing it daily) has as much effect as all that. It's the eternal nature/nurture debate though- not decided yet.

monkeyfloss Sun 03-Feb-13 22:32:45

Not only is it wrong I don't believe it works! Most small children misbehave for attention and as perverse as it sounds smacking is attention. It also shows them that you are out of control and boy do they love an out of control parent!

By the way, I'd like to point out that I'm no saint and did smack DS1's hand once, when he belted me round the face (aged about three I think). But I instantly felt bad, we both calmed down and talked it through, and we both promised not to hit each other again. We've pretty much stuck to that, bar the odd moment from DS1 but both boys know I'm zero tolerance on hitting and straight there with the naughty step. I've seen what hitting by adults can do and have no desire to have two boys who hit.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:37:37

Jammy I had 3 in a year so not that easy to frogmarch also my dd can be clever enough to try and get a frogmarch if she thinks it will hack off her brothers.

Dancer you're more charitable than me,ain't my parenting dd is simply a minx like I was.

AllDirections Sun 03-Feb-13 22:37:58

Dancergirl if your other DC don't behave like your youngest DD then it can't be all about your parenting. I agree with duchesse that the personality of each child makes a massive difference. I thought I had this parenting thing all worked out... and then DD3 came along.

pointythings Sun 03-Feb-13 22:39:47

Staying calm and patient is incredibly, incredibly hard. Mine are 10 and 12 now and I find discipline is actually easier (although I suspect that may also be due to them having learned boundaries very young) now they are older and have well developed conscience and empathy. With a stropping 3yo it's incredibly difficult. My mum, who did occasionally smack me and my DSis comments on how patient I am - and how she wishes she had been able to do the same. I don't know how I've done it, it's just in me.

And then I resort to reading crappy vampire romances when the DDs have gone to bed to wind down. Somehow it works.

I've had to resort to some pretty unorthodox methods - such as the day DD1 (5 at the time) refused to put on her shoes. So I said fine, go without (this was in February). Knowing full well her PE kit, including plimsolls, was at school, I took her to school, walked with her from the car to the school gate, explained to her teacher what had happened and could she please wear her plimsolls for the day, and left for work. I did not at any time raise my voice - no idea how, I was seething inside. But it worked. She never tried it again.

Funnily enough I now have two DDs who will put themselves into 'time out' when they feel they are getting overheated - they simply tell us they want a time out, go to their room and cool down. It's taken a long time, but it works really well.

LittleTyga Sun 03-Feb-13 22:41:03

I never hit any of my dd's - I held on to them firmly so they couldn't run out on the road, I moved the kettle lead out of sight so they wouldn't pull it. I would keep them out of the kitchen when I was cooking so they didn't touch the oven. If they keep moving things off the bookshelf - Move the stuff off the shelf out of reach! How can you smack a child? A poor tiny little child! I couldn't. A firm No - and assessing the danger before they encounter it.

One of mine is a bit of a fibber - so I threaten removal of a toy, or say her friends can't come over - whatever unless she tells me the truth. I would never hit her, just not necessary at all.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:41:43

What all said.3 very close together,all treated the same.Dd is different. I can take the dtwinsi ipods away and they are putty in my hands.Dd owns absolutely nothing that she cares enough about to be upset if it went,she is sooo unmaterialistic - and stubborn!

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 22:47:47

Pointy. I have frogmarched dd down the drive in her nighty when she wouldn't get dressed for school.Worked a treat but her sobbing sure didn't make me feel better. I do worry re threatening to do things that it isn't much better than a smack and may actually be worse.

You have to do something.We had morning after morning with dd being a pita and stressing all of us out sooooo I put her uniform in a bag and said she could get dressed at school-zilch so we did the drive walk of shame-then she caved.I then took her to the school office and made her apologise to the secretary for making her brothers late.sad

It really upset her.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 03-Feb-13 22:55:30

From as early as I can remember my mother smacked us till she felt better and I even remember her smacking me when I got upset and cried because she made my brother cry by smacking him. In fact I acted this out when we played mummies & daddies at playtime and ended up hurting one of my friends.

To me it is the last resort of a person who cannot cope.

I have a friend who strongly advocates smacking, she also believes in creationism. Just because she thinks it's right it doesn't mean I have to.

Dancergirl Sun 03-Feb-13 22:56:21

Me too alldirections! Unless my memory fails me, I really don't think dds 1 and 2 behaved badly at this age.

How old are your older 2? My older two are only 21 months apart and then 4 years down to dd3. Dd3's BIG bug-bear is that she's the baby of the family and wants to do EXACTLY as her sisters do. She's SO jealous, I can't even give as much as a cuddle to the other two without her muscling in.

Me (to dd2): what was that darling?
Dd3: call ME darling!

Me (explaining something to dd1)
Dd3: tell ME! (using the EXACT same words)

Dd2 going to brownies
Dd3: I want to go to brownies!

Me stroking dd2's hair
Dd3: stroke MY hair!

Ad infinitum. Older two dds are getting really fed up with her. Not the sisterly love I had hoped for sad

Mind you, whatever you do, and however much of a Perfect Parent you think you are, you will fuck up at some point. Even if you don't regret some of your parenting choices immediately after you've made them, there will come a point when your DC are adults at which you will find out that something you did made them, for a while, bitterly resentful of you and convinced you were a horrible parent.
This is partly because DC are all individuals and what might seem like a fair sanction/punishment/decision to you (and indeed to someone else's kids or one of yours but not another) seems horribly disproportionate or upsetting to them.

On the whole, a parent who slaps a child occasionally is teaching that child two useful and important lessons. One is that nobody's perfect and people sometimes do things they regret, the second is that if you carry on deliberately pissing someone off when that person has already warned you to pack it in more than once, there is a possibility they will hit you.

PolkadotCircus Sun 03-Feb-13 23:02:24

Doyouwant all people who smack don't smack like that.An awful lot of posters are inferring that all who smack did/do it in this way-they don't.

I may not smack but I can see that there are plenty who do it in a reasoned way not out of anger.My mother certainly did and in a lot of ways she showed less anger and more control than I do when disciplining.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Sun 03-Feb-13 23:12:37

Polkadot I understand that or I would be concerned for the welfare of my friend's children. But that is outside my experience, I know what it did to me.

I haven't read all the comment on the thread but I did read some and read the Chris Grayling interview. We have had some real ups and downs with our DD's behaviour. I can really receommend the book 'The parenting puzzle' and the family links nurturing course has wonderful ideas (based on evidence) of good ways to parent children. This is in answer to the original post not all the individual comments.

I found the course excellent and it offered lots of positive examples of parenting and how to bring children up in a positive and encouraging environment.

amazingmumof6 Sun 03-Feb-13 23:33:48

it's easy to find out who approves, who doesn't, just listen to the word that's used

if someone says "smacking" they are doing it. (proudly or ashamedly)

if they say "hitting" or "beating" they are not doing it.

EIizaDay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:45:46

Smacking is very different from hitting or beating - and you know that.

I was smacked as a child. I can't remember it but my mum told me that happened when I just wouldn't behave and it was necessary. Hasn't done me any harm.

EIizaDay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:48:45

Smacking is very different from hitting or beating - and you know that.

I was smacked as a child. I can't remember it but my mum told me that happened when I just wouldn't behave and it was necessary. Hasn't done me any harm.

Collaborate Mon 04-Feb-13 00:03:07

So Grayling suggests a little smack when children are naughty? Personally a couple if spliffs and some whiskey serve to relax me just as well.

(Apologies if someone's already done this one upthread).

StoicButStressed Mon 04-Feb-13 00:38:14

Polka - you've seen countless people STATE facts of the impact on them of being hit, but you appear to be ignoring them all? Ditto the 'smack or nothing", whereas MANIFESTLY that is simply not true (if it was, then how do those of us who DON'T abuse hit our children manage to raise them into perfectly civilised human beings?) For a teacher (if that IS what you are), it's beyond depressing to see such a lack of common sense, critical thinking, advocation of violence in someone in such a role.

They are linked.I was raised in the 70s when smacking was common and behaviour better.Smacking has been removed and nothing has been put in it's place.

Parents don't know what to do. Err, excuse me? Speak for yourself hon, I - and as a parent who has had to deal with the WORST of issues facing my sons (& their behaviour then following that, and needing the HUGEST care/love/boundaries), and on my own due to those same issues - DO know what to do....

It's loving them; giving them VERY clear boundaries; facing a consequence if those lines are crossed; and most def NOT 'showing' them and 'TEACHING' them that violence is a route to anywhere (other than all the factual outcomes YOU CAN SEE in this thread, and the clear NSPCC statement about what hitting your child does). It's about sticking with it even when you are so tired and at wits end. THAT'S proper parenting.

If you want to say SOME parents don't know what to do, then that's your right; to state so unequivocally and de facto 'ALL' "parents don't know what to do is both misguided; uninformed - in spite of it being sooooo clear to you via here? - and a generalisation that ipso facto you have included ME (& the rest of us who DO raise our kids well but without using violence against them) in? THAT you have NO right to state as some kind of 'fact'. As as a statement of 'fact', it is simply beyond wrong/not accurate/not a truth (you get gist).

PS BTW, as a Parent Governor previously at a senior state school, I can tell you that EVERY child we had to see as a panel vis possible exclusion (IE almost alway re violence as zero tolerance policy) told us very clearly that THEY were hit by their parents. Can you see a link there Polka?

NanaNina Mon 04-Feb-13 00:42:27

I haven't read all the thread but I agree with OP. As far as I am concerned the entire Tory party are the scrapings of humanity. Grayling is a conceited hypocrite and Cameron and Osborne are the utter pits. OK smacking - NO not on any account whatsoever - you can't teach a child it's wrong to hit others if you are hitting him.

I haven't read Grayling's stuff on smacking but of course all of the cabinet will have been to public schools where there is a big emphasis on corporal punishment, well it would have been in their day, and it's supposed to be "character building" - my god it's done that - but what sort of character.

It's another take on Major's "Back to Basics" - Gove wants things to be like when he was at school - he knows fuck all about education. Do they want to turn out clones of themselves, hypocritical, liars, fraudsters, uncaring buggers who are waging war on the poor, the likes of which we've never seen in the country. Well I am approaching 70 and I've never seen anything like this.

Better stop or I will rant for ever.

NanaNina Mon 04-Feb-13 00:46:17

Brilliant post there SBS making some very pertinent points about the issue of smacking children. I haven't read any of this Polka person's posts but I don't think I'll bother - might raise my blood pressure!

StoicButStressed Mon 04-Feb-13 00:54:07

Thank you Nana.

PS I really want a Nanna, especially right now, think you'd be a great adoptive Nannagrin.

Scheherezade Mon 04-Feb-13 01:27:53

Smacking makes me feel physically sick. Legitimised child abuse by evil bullies.

ginfly Mon 04-Feb-13 01:42:43

All animals 'cuff' their little ones if out of order and so do children themselves, so its good to show them a better way?
Doesn't always work with the under 5's though. And teaching with quick smack can save their lives - eg running out onto a road, touching hot things, staying somewhere safe while you drain boiling veg etc. because not everyone has a safe kitchen/ home to work in so environment, age and resources all come into it. This makes generalisations obselete.
Theres a difference though - smacking is for the childs sake, physical abuse is a gratuitous violence that ignores the childs welfare. Discipline won't break a child's spirit, but not caring about a child will.
Maybe it should be a loving parents choice, not a rule.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 01:52:22

if you are a creative enough parent you can come up with plenty of non-physical punishments to teach children the consequences of their actions/disobedience etc.

and there are ways to physically hurt children that can be much worse or more dangerous than say a smack on the bottom as they will not show on the skin (I will not give people ideas of what these are) and some creative people will find a way to do this too

while people disagree about smacking, I don't think many people agree with hitting/beating. or at least no-one I know does.

some people think they are different things, some people think they are the same - I find that very interesting

mathanxiety Mon 04-Feb-13 02:13:06

I don't think it's enough to tell a child not to do something over and over, and punish each time. You have to remove the child and find some distraction. Failing that, you remove the thing they are engaging with that is attracting them. It takes creativity and more effort and time than you might think you have, but there are always alternatives to spanking.

If you feel like hitting something go and punch a pillow or take a timeout for yourself and tell the kids what you are doing and why. Nothing like leading by example. Use your words. Count to ten. Keep your hands to yourself. This is the stuff we tell our DCs, right?
Stay one step ahead of your children and try to anticipate rather than react

<Speaking as the ex wife of a man who thought corporal punishment of children was all in a day's work, and who has spanked to get a child to remember not to run out on the street.>

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 02:20:27

from the Oxford Dictionary:

definition of a smack (noun): "a sharp slap or blow, typically one given with the palm of the hand and as a punishment"

definition of hit (verb): " bring one’s hand or a tool or weapon into contact with (someone or something) quickly and forcefully".

in a criminal sense there's a huge difference between smack and hit, because the latter includes the use of a tool or a weapon and it describes the action to be forceful.

Based on these definitions it would be incorrect to say that a slap on the bottom is hitting.
It would be equally incorrect to say that two boxers in the ring are smacking each other.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 02:23:13

sorry, acidentally copied noun for one, verb for the other. makes no difference IMO

PariahHairy Mon 04-Feb-13 02:35:00

I think for a smack to matter it would be by definition too hard. I have very occasionally smacked my children, but they laughed. It was obviously a little tap, which they found funny.

For a smack to actually work on my kids I would have to belt them hard, which would obviously stray into the beating category.

I remember my dad smacking me, it really did hurt and left a mark, he was a twat and shouldn't have done that, my Mum was devastated when she got home.

GothAnneGeddes Mon 04-Feb-13 02:35:10

I was hit as a child and that's why I would never hit mine.

Hitting a child in temper is vile and coldly hitting one as a punishment is worse.

I do discipline my child, I do show her the consequences of things, but when she was going through the hitting stage, it really helped to bring the message home that no one hits her so she shouldn't hit other people.

Lavenderhoney Mon 04-Feb-13 04:46:53

I haven't got time to read all the posts just now, got as far as nanas which I totally agree with.
Smacking, hitting, tapping whatever way you dress it up or down its wrong and no one should be smacked. It's not a last resort. It's all about power and control - and teaching kids if no one does what you want smacking is acceptable is idiotic.
In times of stress with my dc I tell myself silently I am older, wiser and surely capable of keeping mentally one step ahead of a toddler and a 5 year old.

When smacking doesn't work, what next ? A belt? And what about when your teenage someone daughter is suddenly bigger than you? Do you really think they will put up with being hit or have any kind of relationship with you as it might end in physical violence from you if they disagree?

Have to read all the posts later.

RaisinBoys Mon 04-Feb-13 06:33:27


For goodness sake, quibbling over semantics is pathetic. To give someone "a sharp slap or blow" is to "hit" them, even using your Oxford Dictionary definitions.

And you talk of criminal definitions. What about the moral imperative? To teach our children by demonstration that it is not ok to hit another beacuse they are doing something you don't like.

What the hell are the smackers children doing that is so bad that it warrants a slap? And please enough of the running into the road, fingers in electric sockets hogwash! They've irritated you in some way, you've lost your rag and you've given them a slap.

And just as an aside - my mother hit us when she was angry, frustrated, tired. She had lost control. It was wrong and it did do me harm. I do not trust her.

And those of you hitting in this "controlled" way you talk about? Hitting a child, a young child, in a "controlled, calm" way, shows such a lack of empathy that it can only be damaging in the long term.

Do what you can live with - it's your choice as parents - but the attempts at justifying hitting, by implying that those of us who don't hit have badly behaved children running riot, are truly ludicrous.

Now off to wake the DS. He'll resist, drag his feet, question me and sulk, like he does every Monday morning. It irritates the hell out of me - perhaps I should give him a quick slap?

RaisinBoys Mon 04-Feb-13 06:38:49

should be smackers' children - just in case the apostophe police are awake!

I have smacked my older dc on the bottom when they have walked out in front of cars or got themselves into danger, but i can count that on one hand.

I don't see smacking a good thing to chastise everyday, run of the mill, bad behaviour.

Why are the tories getting involved in this too??
And i can't see this tory person being there much of his childrens lifes!
I bet my bottom dollar they were in boarding school & got smacked at weekends.
I wouldn't smack the

Oblomov Mon 04-Feb-13 06:51:00

I would like to enter the ballstoit and star debate:-
"My children wouldn't get to 334 times of doing something I didn't want them to because I would look at why they were behaving that way and sort it."

I have this problem. There are a few things thta ds1(9) does, thtas drive me literally nutty. I have thought about why he does it,many times. And am none-the-wiser. I have talked to him about it. Explained why it makes me so cross. Asked him why he does it. He says "I don't know". I have asked him (and other people- my mum, freinds, teachers, senco) what he thinks we could do to stop this. No one has any suggestions.

Makes for miserable parenting.

Matildaduck Mon 04-Feb-13 07:05:47

I'm sure we all want to hit them, but really its wrong. Children are small, weak and unable to defend themselves.

I teach my children not to hit so i have to find ways to show them alternatives to hitting.

My parents hit us and often threatened us with hitting. Doesn't give me much respect for them. Didn't help me build up alternative ways to deal with things. Just made me resent them.

Dahlen Mon 04-Feb-13 07:09:08

I always tell my children that there is never any excuse for physical violence and that use of it often escalates situations. Therefore I don't believe in smacking, although I will admit to having resorted to it once or twice when they were very small out of sheer frustration - which is, of course, absolutely the worst way possible to use smacking. It left me feeling very ashamed and while it did stop them doing what they were doing, I then had to deal with very upset children, so it was completely counterproductive.

Children are not adults, so I don't think the same arguments about physical force really apply. One expects a reasonable adult to be reasonable with. Children can be very unreasonable, and it is often impossible to reason with them when in the throes of a tantrum/display of wilfulness. However, I always think the best parenting is by example, and if I show my children that I resort to violence when I've run out of ideas, I am modelling that as an acceptable behaviour. How can I then condemn when they bash each other? Use of smacking IMO, loses the moral high ground.

I found a playpen very good when they were very small, followed by a time out when they were older. For those whose children won't stay in time out or climb, or whatever, I think it's helpful to recognise that withdrawing attention doesn't mean leaving them on their own. Sometimes you have to return a child to the naughty step umpteen times to get them to 'take' the punishment or stop them climbing. As long as you don't talk to them it's still withdrawing attention.

Also, in a child's head, the action is seen in very different terms. I've often had the 'I don't know' response from DS. Once he's calm I always talk to him about his behaviour and try to establish why he did what he did. If he doesn't know, I suggest reasons to him and try to get to the bottom of it. It's a useful exercise for him - teaching him how to understand his own emotions and hopefully contributing to a greater degree of self-awareness when he's an adult.

With DD, who shows a much greater degree of self awareness, it's more about trying to teach empathy for others and why she shouldn't do something because of the effect it has on others.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 07:37:37

stoic what do you do if the child doesn't care about the imposed consequence and continually repeats the misbehaviour in question?

Himalaya Mon 04-Feb-13 08:08:58

I don't understand all these people advocating smacking toddlers and preschoolers for what is basically age appropriate behavior.

If your toddler likes to climb, take them somewhere they can climb and move the furniture around at home so it is safe/inaccessible.

Your child wants to touch everything in a shop - distract them, shop online, do something else.

Your child keeps opening the freezer? Use duct tape and then go out and get a frige lock.

All children will grow out of these behaviours, just like they grow to have self control over their bowel movements etc...

There isn't a straight line between toddler defiance and temper tantrums and teenage delinquency!

RubyGates Mon 04-Feb-13 08:17:08

In a material society where children have lots of stuff/toys opportunities for outings it's easy to remove one or some of these things as punishment.

If however removing the only outing of the week/month means that no-one in the family gets to go (no babysitting available), or there are no toys left because your child just doesn't care that much about them and is happy to deconstruct your house instead, (and is also the kind of child for whom "naughty steps" and the like are a waste of time for all concerned). What does one do?

It's interesting isn't it, how we have only stopped smacking generally as a society when there are materialistic sanctions available. What lesson are we really teaching? How do families in places where there is absolute poverty replicate this lesson?

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:39:42

himalaya sorry, your examples do not teach a child anything and they are highly unrealistic! children need to understand the meaning of "no"!

in your world if I the oven gets hot and a child wants to touch it I should not use the oven? or get a takeway?

if they want to draw on the wall shall I knock the walls down?

if they snatch toys shall I remove the other child?

if they have a tantrum when they don't want to do homework shall I stop sending them to school?

when it comes to teaching a child right from wrong you can not solve a problem by pretending it doesn't exist!

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 08:43:30

If they want to touch a hot oven I wouldn't let them in the kitchen when the oven is hot, until they're old enough to understand what 'that would hurt' means.

If they want to draw on the wall, don't remove the wall, remove the pen. Supervise them when drawing.

If they snatch toys, remove your child.

If they don't do their homework, let them face consequences at school if necessary.

Is this really rocket science? confused

Iggly Mon 04-Feb-13 08:50:29

Responding to "amazingmum":

Oven gets hot: both of mine learn that it's hot and stay away. Even my 14 month old knows the hot sign. If I need to open the oven, she goes in the high chair and ds (3.4) knows now to stand away. No smacking ever needed.

Draw on the walls: crayons and pens stay in one room. I show them how and where to draw and where to put them back. Result: walls only been drawn on once when the pens were out of that room (my fault).

Snatch toys: toy is taken back (why remove the other child?!!!) and they are told what they should do if they want the toy. Either swap for something else or play with something else.

A tantrum? Maybe they're hungry/tired. Have a think about what they might be feeling. If its just a strop, ignore and come back to it. Or leave them - they can go to school and learn the consequences.

Quite frankly why on earth would you hit in those circumstances? Engage brain first and deal with it.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 09:00:04

I find it bizarre that in any of those situations hitting the child would be considered a reasonable solution, or as amazingmum seems to suggest, the only solution.

My DS is only 3.5 so we haven't come up against the homework one but have successfully managed to deal with all the other ones without recourse to hitting.

Iggly Mon 04-Feb-13 09:04:37

Agree noble.

I'm also PMSL at the irony of the username.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 09:11:55

"the second is that if you carry on deliberately pissing someone off when that person has already warned you to pack it in more than once, there is a possibility they will hit you."

Hmm, but SGB this can have unintended consequences too. I find it really hard to stick to my boundaries when someone is pushing at them because at the back of my mind is "If I really piss them off, they might hit me". Even when I know this is utterly remote it's still there.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 09:30:29

'A tantrum? Maybe they're hungry/tired'

PMSL laughing over this one. Typical of modern parenting - an excuse for everything. I can't even count the number of times I've seen a child having a tantrum while the parent looks on while saying the immortal line - 'he/she's so TIRED!'

I do actually think we've gone too far in considering the child's feelings and bloody over-analysing everything! Sometimes a child just has to do what's been asked, no ifs, buts or explanations. And no frigging reward stickers for doing it.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 09:33:07

'It's interesting isn't it, how we have only stopped smacking generally as a society when there are materialistic sanctions available. What lesson are we really teaching? How do families in places where there is absolute poverty replicate this lesson?'

Very, very interesting point rubygates You are right, these are all punishments relating to materialistic things. What DO you do when the tv/ipod/outing is simply not available to start with?

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 09:33:19

I've never seen a smack transform a tantrumming child into a quiet, well behaved one. From my observations, it just makes them cry more.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 04-Feb-13 09:34:23

In my experience, brought up in a time when smacking was acceptable, the nature of my mother's 'smacking' was never questioned. She would laugh about it herself with other people.

The fact that we question it now means we have come a long way.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 09:38:04

I don't know. I guess there are two schools of thought from the anti-smackers - one, in which you should replace smacking with some other unpleasant punishment and use it directly like this. Aside from the problems that exist with smacking (teaching them to hit/expect to be hit, the fact it's physical pain, you might do it too hard, etc) I'm not really sure that any one of these methods is particularly worse than another. You're still relying on the fear of punishment to motivate them to behave in the way that you want them to. And I'm sure that does work for some children, and perhaps some particular families don't feel that the "downsides" are valid or they avoid them in some other way, (and of course time out, removing privileges and so on have downsides too) so I find it hard to be too vehemently anti-smacking, although I wouldn't do it (have come close a couple of times and it's just made me feel massively uncomfortable, plus, I think if I got used to it I'd get lazy with it and slip into using/threatening it all the time which isn't fair)

And then there is the other school of thought which is that you don't need an "ultimate punishment" anyway and so smacking doesn't need to be replaced by any particular thing. I think it's hard to understand if you haven't come across it before, but it does work as well. Maybe different things just work for different parents and different children? It's not that unlikely that this would be the case.

But yes, the second method is based mainly on having age appropriate expectations and then teaching/steering them to the correct way of behaving, but without using punishment unless absolutely necessary (and then trying to make sure it's relevant or has teaching value in some way other than "I shouldn't do X because I'll get into trouble.")


I did let DS touch the outside of the oven, or a radiator, when he was a baby - it was in no way hot enough to burn him, but hot enough to understand what "hot" meant. I'm sure some people would be aghast at this but I'm more aghast at smacking. Of course if he came up against something which could really hurt him then I just moved him away from it; it didn't take long for him to gain an understanding of "hot" and then I could say "hot" from across a room and he'd back away from what he was going to touch.

Drawing on walls I showed him the paper and reiterated "We ONLY draw on paper." I only got the pens out when he could be supervised anyway. He did once find a pen and draw on the walls - I reminded him that we draw on paper, and he never did it again. I don't think I told him off or anything - he was only about one, so it wouldn't have served any purpose. I just reminded him of the correct behaviour when we got the pens out. When he was about two we got a book from a charity shop and he pointed to the writing in it and said something along the lines of "No writing in books! Draw on paper!" or something, so he clearly knew even though I'd never told him that it was wrong to draw in books.

Snatching toys, I found teaching turn-taking worked well, ie, explaining to snatcher that it's snatchee's turn now and he/she has to wait, and, yes in fact, moving the other child to a safe place where the snatcher isn't bothering them does work in extreme cases and also helps to teach "If someone is annoying you, move away, don't clobber them over the head with said toy". I used to remove the cat to my lap when DS was bothering him!

Homework - if they were school age and NT and having a tantrum about the homework then I'd be concerned that there was something really stressing them out, so I'd send them off to calm down and then we'd have a talk about it. But we haven't got to homework yet, so this is theoretical. But I don't think that homework they're bullied or threatened into doing is going to be an especially helpful educational task somehow.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 09:38:22

I was smacked as a child. Whether it did me any harm I don't really know. But what is far more painful to remember is my mother's sheer rage that sometimes went on for hours, I was so scared sad I'm pretty sure a quick smack would have been less damaging.

I also remember on the odd occasion having a possession removed or not being allowed to watch a tv programme. But it didn't work, it made me hugely angry with my mother and didn't stop me from doing whatever it was again.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 09:43:43

Tantrums are developmentally normal. They grow out of them whether you "discourage" them or not - the only reason they would continue is if you encouraged them somehow, or there's a developmental reason e.g. SN or just a very sensitive child. I've never discouraged a tantrum particularly and DS is 4 now and doesn't have them except for very rarely when he's either overtired or overwhelmed by something. It's just that when they're toddlers they can get overwhelmed by things which to us seem inconsequential, mainly because they're a bundle of hormones, and also, because they haven't really experienced many of these emotions before and they literally can't place a value on whether one experience is more frightening or upsetting than another. That's something they learn later.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 09:43:50

Stoic sorry. I disagree.

Smacking in anger is wrong ditto shouting in anger.Not all parents that smack do it in anger is the same way that parents who choose not to smack don't all shout in anger.

The utter hysteria and generalisation on this subject is wrong,rather childish and doesn't help anybody.

As a said countless times I don't smack however given how skilled I was re managing challenging behaviour at work without either shouting or smacking if I find parenting and bewildering at times you can bet your bottom dollar an awful lot of others do too.To ignore that is wrong.

I am simply questioning the alternatives and what is given to parents as a tool in the place of smacking which the maj did a generation ago. I have been at the front line in various places with bad behaviour and believe you me being clobbered is not by default the cause-far from it. Buggar all boundaries,shouting and continual empty threats are and imvho far more damaging than a rare controlled tap which I do not do.There is a very thin line with shouting and threatening too imvho and I think some parents struggle to know what is best.

Yes there are a few parents that breeze through parenthood never raising their voice or giving out threats with continual perfectly behaved children.Some of that is down to luck and some circumstances and personality.You clearly are one of those people,lucky old you however you don't speak for all-far from it.

rollmopses Mon 04-Feb-13 09:46:20

I am a tory ('very' tory, you see, I cover my children's eyes if ever a non-tory is spotted slinking about, and tut-tut ferociously), however, I do not smack my children.
It's wrong to hurt someone who is so much smaller then yourself.
Counting to 3, with a 'dragon-voice' if needed; naughty step and pudding/ television (which is only allowed on Friday evenings) rights removed in severe cases, work around here.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 09:48:07

And I agree with see of Bertie said.Is replacing fear with fear right? I don't know.Is continuously giving praise right?I'm not so sure.Only recently research has said over praising causes low self esteem so what to do?There is an awful lot of what not to do given out but not a lot of alternatives.

Peetle Mon 04-Feb-13 09:48:07

Are you attempting to discipline the child or are you taking your frustration out on them ?

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 09:49:21

Roll that all worked when mine were little too,thinkg change when they're old enough to question-everything!

ICBINEG Mon 04-Feb-13 09:49:37

bertie couldn't agree more with your assessment. If you teach your kids not to do things because if they do then they get hurt physically or mentally, or have fun stuff taken away, then where is their own moral compass? When they leave home, who fills the authority gap? If people still respected the police etc. then clearly this would do the job....but people don't.

If you teach your kids not to do things because they can see the bad affects their behaviour has on others and themselves then you are giving them a strong morality that will keep them going through life.

DD (20 mo) had a massive melt down about wanting to buy a ball at the swimming pool. I tried all sorts of far too complex concepts (like 'I already bought you and octopus this trip, wait till next time') which just resulted in screaming, but she accepted 'they belong to someone else so you can't take one' immediately and stopped crying instantly.

Toddlers misbehave because they don't understand the complex rules we force on them. Toys in one environment are fair game (toddler groups etc) and in another are not to be touched (shops). Once they have the relevant concept they don't seem to be bothered. It is the not understanding that makes them mad not the not getting what they want.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 09:53:54

I don't think you can rely totally on positive reinforcement without some negative to back it up. The same the opposite way around. I would say it's a minority of parents who punish but never praise, or reward/praise but never reprimand, and they probably don't have control of their children. There needs to be a balance.

As I said above I prefer to try and steer away from positive/negative reinforcement as a tool because I think it's too simplistic (which I know probably makes me sound pompous or something, ok, I'm just trying to explain what works for us in our household where we don't smack or use naughty step or remove privileges.) Of course this doesn't mean I never praise/reward or impose any kind of consequence ever, but mostly it's about getting the child thinking about what we do and why and how to deal with situations for themselves. Which doesn't always mean sitting down and having a cosy chat, of course it doesn't. That might work in some situations but in others it's utterly pointless.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 09:59:51

Yes - complexity is definitely a big factor! How funny, I'm actually training to be an ESOL (english as second language) teacher at the moment and this is a big thing - if your instructions/explanation is worded in too complex a way, then you totally lose the learners, because they don't understand, then they get anxious/frustrated that they don't understand and even if you follow it with a simply worded instruction, some of them are already lost and it's too late. And I can definitely see why a toddler would get frustrated because they don't understand why they can't have the ball, and when your explanation is too complicated they're still not understanding why they can't have the ball and they're wondering why are you still talking when you should be listening to what I want?

Apologies to the poster but to pick up the freezer example again from before in the thread. Explaining to a 3 year old that the food will defrost and we'll have to throw it away means nothing to them. Just stating "the freezer needs to stay closed" and then either watching them every time they're in the kitchen and closing it after them, or finding some way to keep it closed like tape or a lock works - the explanation is too complex.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:00:05

It's balance and a constant learning game which is why I refuse to engage with the anti smacking witch hunt.Those of my friends that do it do it rarely and to be frank are some of the most balanced,calmest parents I know. I feel a bit envy at times as a short tap must cut down on a shed load of stress and length of punishment.

Sparklyboots Mon 04-Feb-13 10:00:33

I think it important to treat my child as I wish him to treat others, so wouldn't 'smack' him, even if I could persuade myself it wasn't violence, or wasn't essentially about my own need to have control. The whole run-into-the-road/ touch-the-oven thing is rubbish - if you can reach to smack, you can reach to simply stop. Children do those things because they don't understand the actual consequences of doing those things, which is a fact of development, not a crime punishable by violence. They need teaching and supervision, which might be slightly more tiresome than creating a false and unpleasant consequence ('I will smack you') but has the effect long term of taking responsibility for themselves, not doing risky things just to test a boundary with you, not delegating their risk assessment to whomsoever they judge more authoritative than them, Tec. Oh, yeah - and it doesn't teach them to assert control by means of force, a damaged perception of the world which many of the 'didn' t do me any harm' brigade/ current govt seem to have.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:02:51

noblegiraffe I never suggested that hitting would be a solution or the only solution. please don't put words in my mouth!

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 04-Feb-13 10:03:45

The utter hysteria and generalisation on this subject is wrong,rather childish and doesn't help anybody.

Who's getting hysterical?

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:04:35

The those that smack beat and do it in anger,can't control themselves etc,etc posts.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 10:06:16

bertiebotts that's all well and good for your child having outgrown tantrums but I can assure you many, many children (including my own) still have them older than 4. Then it is not a developmental thing, it's a behaviourial thing.

rollmopses Mon 04-Feb-13 10:07:21

Polka, mine do question everything...

I have found that talking to them about an issue/behaviour/anything that I don't approve of, always works.

Before you lot fall over clutching your sides with laughter, let me explain.

It would be pointless to try and reason with a child whilst the undesired action/behaviour is happening.

However, I find some quiet time and we just talk, about anything, really;
then approach the topic that causes concern. The children are always very responsive.

I tell a story (make it up as I go along) where the particular undesired behaviour occurs and show the ghastlysmile consequences. Then ask their opinions about the actions of the characters in the story.

It might sound daft but works for us.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 10:08:00

Amazingmum, then I don't understand why you posted those scenarios, if not as examples, to a poster who is anti-smacking and pro-other methods of behaviour management, of when smacking would be, in your opinion, a good way of teaching a child that 'no means no'

If you didn't intend to suggest that those scenarios were better solved with a smack, then what did you intend?

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 04-Feb-13 10:09:32

My methods are labelled by DH 'the ironic punishment room'.

I see my role to amplify/ damp down natural consequences of their actions, to illustrate why they are wrong.

I have no problem with using my greater strength to achieve this - but I don't hit. Restrain, remove, carry to achieve an end fine. Hitting - why?

So - for example - running away/ grabbing things in shops = having to hold my hand 'because mummy is scared you'll get hurt - and it's my job to keep you safe'. They scream and try to throw themselves on the floor & accuse me of hurting their arm hmm - meh - its the logical consequence of not behaving safely & appropriately out.

If one DC hits another DC they are required to sit with the hurt child, look after them & apologise - and allowed to rejoin the game when the hurt child says its OK. I think that makes the point that hurting people is easy, making them better is hard - but you'll have to do it eventually.

If they tantrum - I restrain and/or ignore until they burn themselves out. It's scary enough for them without me needing to add any punishment to the mix.

In 4 children, I've never had an issue with touching hot things. Babies and toddlers are removed via high chairs or stairgates. Older kids just understand it (why would they touch something hot if they undstanding it burnt hmm ). a bit like my experience of getting thrashed for walking home alone when my carer lost me - this smells to me of the child being punished for the parents careless parenting.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:12:18

Roll I did and do do all that however as children get older and push boundaries more,question very intelligently it doesn't always work.Since my 3 have turned 8,8and 9 I have even been heard to even say "because I said so" after an hours discussion over why I wasn't going to give way.

I suspect as we get nearer the teenage years this will get more frequent.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 10:12:52

dancer if you smack your children for having tantrums (do you?) and they still haven't stopped having tantrums, past an age where you might expect them to have grown out of them, doesn't that suggest that smacking hasn't worked?

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 10:14:03

annionic what do you do if the hurt child doesn't WANT to be looked after by the person who hit them?

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 10:14:49

noble I don't smack but I am struggling to find a solution.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 10:16:07

It totally depends why they're having the tantrum IMO. If they're doing it because they can't cope with something then you need to teach them how to cope with that thing - you can't do that immediately, so you have to ride out the tantrum.

If of course they're behaving in a tantrum-like manner because they think it will get them what they want that's different. But when they're younger especially it's almost certain that they are lashing out or reacting extremely because they can't cope with something they're experiencing. Adding more stuff that's difficult for them to cope with doesn't help.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 04-Feb-13 10:17:12

I haven't noticed anyone getting hysterical.

I've heard people sharing their real experiences of smacking.

I've read anti-smacking posters I agree with and who have given me useful info. to help me raise my boys without smacking.

I've read pro-smacking views I choose to disagree with for the reasons mentioned.

Not noticed hysteria, just the usual varied mumsnet views. It's why we come isn't it?

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:19:08

noblegiraffe - read what himalaya said

I was asking if in HER world the word no exists or not!

if my child climbs somewhere I don't want him to climb (coz it's messy,dangerous, or it's just time for bed) I'm not prepared to take him where he can do it, I will tell him no.

because what would happen if I don't say no but leave the house? when I go back home he'd just climb again - the problematic behaviour would not be solved!

and all the other examples were just highlighting how not dealing with a problem and not teaching a child right from wrong will not make the problem go away.

I hope this is clearer to everyone.

(no need to be nasty about my name choice either)

rollmopses Mon 04-Feb-13 10:21:15

Agree, Polka. Fortunately the teenage years are still in the distant future and I suppose we'll cross that bridge once we get to it.

Meanwhile it will be long chats about the world and weird/wonderful/not-allowed/etc things in it, with lots of cuddles.
Naughty-steps and pudding/television bans and soforth.

They know that Mummy always keeps her promises and when a particularly naughty naughtiness has overcome either of them and the above has ceased to work, then '' No Natural History Museum for you next week'' or similar will do the trick - as if Mummy said it, it will happen.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:22:00

Well you're clearly reading a different thread to me.

A few hysterical extreme posts on a MN thread do not give an accurate picture of smacking in GB,sorry it doesn't.Some of the posts are descriptions of abuse and the mothers I know who smack have never smacked like that and never would.It is simply unfair to tar all mothers who smack with that brush,many do it in a calm and measured way.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:25:06

Just chipping in.

I was smacked as a youngster and all it did for me was make me lose trust in the adults I should have trusted most.

As far as I'm concenrned and this is just my personal opinion, smacking is no more than an adult losing control and temper and what would it teach a young mind, if you don't get what you want or need to do something to stop someone else doing what they shouldn't, resort to physical violence....

I do not see any logic or positives in it in any way shape or form.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:27:24

You can say that about shouting and threatening too though Phil. If done in anger it isn't any better imvho and actually many don't smack in anger.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:29:09

Nothing beats a stern and logical conversation. Children are cleverer than we often think and understand why we are upset. Combined with the threat and (no wavering) carrying out of threat to restrict and use sanctions of their pleasures and favorite things (whatever they may be; playstation, toy, tv etc) always has worked for me.

My three are relative angels and have always eventually fallen into line using the above.

Even smacking in a controlled and calm way still is ilogical to a child's mind and still says physical violence is ok. Controlled or otherwise.

Sorry, just my opinion.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:30:33

"Nothing beats a stern and logical conversation" - with a 2 year old?

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:30:50

Just to add I do lose my rag in anger at times (I am human)with my dc,never,ever with other people's children bizarrely which is why I refuse to feel superior to those mothers who smack in a measured way.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 04-Feb-13 10:31:04

The mother's you know may not be an accurate representation of smacking in Britain either.

This forum may not be an accurate representation. We're a subset who have time to surf, access to computers/internet.

Some posts are a description of abuse, including my own, but the abuse occurred because the society I grew up in accepted smacking as the norm.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:31:47

Never lost my temper, shouted etc. Calm, confident, clearly stating displeasure and reasons for displeasure, if you are in control, this should be an easy skill of telling, explaining and unilateral negotiation.


BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 10:32:40

Hmm, but sometimes when you say "no" they still continue to do it as well. And the theory with taking them somewhere they can climb (which might not be straight away, because contrary to popular belief, parents who follow a more child-centred approach do not literally revolve their entire life around the child's whims) that the climbing urge/need is satisfied and so they won't want to climb the bookcase any more because they understand they can climb somewhere else. And it does teach them right from wrong because you tell them in very simple language that we climb a climbing frame, but we don't climb a bookcase.

If you were to turn it around, you could say that you can say "no", you can even smack them to discourage them, but the climbing urge/need doesn't go away and so they will still try to climb the bookcase if they think you are not looking - or perhaps they will climb something else like a shelf in a supermarket or a tree or whatever.

I don't think a child will explode if you use the word "no" but it can work to re-phrase it as a positive instruction "Get down" for example - you're telling them what you want, not what you don't want.

And of course in all situations you presumably have to remove them from the bookcase, so again, you're physically showing them they're not supposed to be on it. But most children don't climb bookcases when they're ten, whether they've been smacked, removed 10000 times, showed somewhere they can climb, distracted or whatever, so they do grow out of it.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:33:46

Blimey Phil- 3 angels I'm in awe,what all the time?

My 3 are angels at school and just about everywhere outside of home however they bicker at home and can nag,moan etc.

I thought that was normal.

Have to say I have to dish out slightly more than a stern chat at times.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:34:46

Abuse occurs in all societies.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:34:56

2 year olds are not stupid.

They understand their surroundings and enough language and understanding of body language so yes, even with a 2 year old, always worked for me with patience and perserverance.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:38:09

Smacking escalated my brothers behavioural issues and only made him worse
Smacking worked on me for an hour but I lost complete trust and respect for my parents and their lack of control and perceived nurturing. They love me but they use physical violence on me!!?? Confusing for a child.

Relatively my 3 are angels. They are children and often did and do step out of line but once again I never have and never willl smack them.

Someting I'm doing is working,so....

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 10:38:59

rollmopses the problem with that is, you have to have the Natural History trip already in place for it to be withdrawn. And as someone said above, you are relying on material things to discipline your child. That need to have money in order to discipline doesn't seem right to me.

Funny how no-one is really offering a basic, fundamental alternative.

As for 'no pudding' as a punishment? Terrible IMO. Food is food, we have dinner and (sometimes) pudding in our house and it's not related to behaviour. That could really be setting up problems of all sorts in the future.

Phil1972 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:43:54

Some seriously ilogical and flawed arguments for pro smacking on here.

These things are so entrenched that changing someone's mind is almost impossible. How psychologically is someone who smacks their child going to say "hang on a minute, you're right, what I am doing is wrong and counterproductive with regards to the relatioship I want with my child"

Aint gonna happen!!

So I bid you all farewell. Have a nice day!

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:46:12

Hmm neither do I however my 3 do push the boundaries and need more than a stern chat.Happily what I do most of the time works(dd goes through peaks and troughs) however not all children are the same and not all parents are confident in parenting which is why I said parenting courses are in dire need.

Parents are given very little tools to parent these days,they get a shed load of" research" and precious little support.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:47:05

No not pro smacking,questioning the alternatives.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 10:51:45

Dancer did you not read my post? There's the alternative of replacing smacking with something else concrete, be that naughty step/spot/corner/time out (which requires no money) or removing privileges etc (which of course does)

Or you can go for managing the behaviour in other ways which no, isn't a basic or fundamental alternative but that's because that's the main problem I have with smacking (or replace with other generic standard punishment) PERSONALLY. As I said above it works for others and that's fine. But if you're looking for something to replace smacking with, like for like, you won't find it because the majority of people who don't rely on one generic punishment use a range of things which would be impossible to list on one post - e.g. tone of voice, modelling behaviour, talking, talking when calm, logical consquences, natural consequences, removing the thing/person who is causing the problem, encouraging discovery for themselves...

I'm happy to provide specific examples if given a specific situation but it's impossible for me to quantify what I do if DS "is naughty" - how, where, why, does he understand, can he understand, what other things are happening around this situation, what do I want him to learn from this, they're all things I'd have to judge before deciding how to act, sometimes very quickly.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 10:53:31

I disagree phil Whilst I don't smack (although I have done only a few times in the past), my position isn't fixed and I'm willing to debate the issues. But no-one has offered a suitable alternative for a strongly-willed child.

Maybe you're lucky and have very well-behaved children and can discipline them purely by talking. But for many, many people that isn't the case.

Miggsie Mon 04-Feb-13 10:53:55

Children see the world differently from adults.
They also don't have impulse control - that usually develops in the teenage years.
So if they think or feel something - they will act on it.
If I see someone very fat I would not say "ooh, that lady is fat!" as I have impulse control (and also subscribe to societal norms of politeness). However a child would say "ooh that lady is fat!" as they are spontaneously expressing their thought.

Also, a child will do something for a reason - boredom, experimentation, it feels good (drawing on walls falls into this category) or they get somethign from it. If they get lots of attention for being "naughty" then htey will do it. If they get a biscuit when they kick their mohter, they will kick hteir mother.

Parenting is tough becuase you have to work out the root of the behaviour - what is the child getting out of it? - and also, whether they get a satisfaction from it - does the child feel good about it? or is the child upset and can't express their negative emotions? How do they express sadness, or frustration?
Rage and tantrums are often caused by frustration and other negative emotions. Can the response to negative emotions be steered aay from a tantrum, and into a self calming method such as singing or hopping on one leg - don't laugh, I once diffused a DD tantrum by madly hopping, distracted her quite well.

Physical punishment (which is what smacking is) teaches the person being smacked/hurt to live in fear. It demonstrates power of the stronger over the weaker. It is symptomatic of a coercive regime "do it or else" which leads to endless inward negative emotion from the person experiencing the physical punishment.
Smacking is about negative emotion - both in the smacker and the smackee. Ultimately it produces nothing of any worth and there are better ways.

If you have a really difficult child (and my friend has one) then parenting classes can help.

TisILeclerc Mon 04-Feb-13 10:54:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rollmopses Mon 04-Feb-13 10:54:48

We always follow through with punishments. NH trip would be postponed if need be.
Yes, I rely on withdrawal of things, material or not, that happen to matter to my children in various degrees. Nothing vital, obviously.
How else would they feel that doing something that Mummy/Daddy don't allow, has unpleasant consequences, best avoided?
Too much faff over the food.
Withholding a pudding food-issues does not bring. [rolls eyes]

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 10:57:08

Dancer the How to Talk book is good at showing how to avoid the explosive situations.

I applaud your honesty as I think a lot of parents don't keep consistency and balance but do shout,punish in anger with little thought- some don't even do that.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 10:57:33

So apparently poor families have nothing they can use as a sanction because they can't afford to go to the Natural History Museum?

Apart from the fact that the vast majority of families have a TV and trips to the park are free, and children usually have at least some toys?

That said, I don't take stuff away from my kid if he's naughty. He tends to be rewarded with stuff if he's good, instead. Carrot versus stick.

Xenia Mon 04-Feb-13 10:59:42

Hardly anyone supports smacking children for obvious reasons. Loads of us bring up children without it and guess what the children are great.

Perhaps the pro smackers could post us a video link showing how they do it so we can assess if what they say is true and how well it works.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 11:00:03

Roll I'd never punish with food. Behaviour that is separate to the table should be kept separate.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 11:00:19

dancer, sorry, I thought you did smack them when tantrumming. What do you do?

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 11:02:19

The "pro smackers" hmm,really have you read the thread?

Some mums give a tap,tis not rocket science.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 11:06:05

I hate this usage of "tap" - is it really a tap? Like, the way you'd tap someone on the shoulder to get their attention? Or is it supposed to sting a little bit, because if so then it's not a tap at all.

Dancergirl Mon 04-Feb-13 11:08:03

polka I have that book and the sibling one!

I have done time out, naughty step etc. I've done ignoring the tantrum. I've done talking about it afterwards when she's calm. I've done withdrawing tv or whatever. But the fact that she is nearly 6 and still behaves terribly (at times) says to me it's not working. However I am not about to start smacking her. When I've done it the odd time in the past I felt it was wrong and felt awful afterwards.

I do understand how she feels to be the smallest in the family and to have to fight your corner to be heard. I know some things seem unfair to her. But, FGS hitting/pushing your sisters? Rudeness to me and dh? Lashing out when things don't go EXACTLY her way? Demanding the same things as her sisters? God, I love her to bits, of course I do...but talk about a challenge.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 11:10:43

Dancer - that is my dd.Maybe it's a being the youngest thing.It's soooo exhausting.

Is the sibling book any good? <hopeful>

Iggly Mon 04-Feb-13 11:11:26

PMSL laughing over this one. Typical of modern parenting - an excuse for everything. I can't even count the number of times I've seen a child having a tantrum while the parent looks on while saying the immortal line - 'he/she's so TIRED

You may laugh but it helps avoid one next time and you get an idea of what kind of battle you're going to have. It takes a second to consider why they might be doing it. So I'd treat a 2 year old tantrum differently to a much older child.

PolkadotCircus Mon 04-Feb-13 11:13:29

Bertie I don't know as it's not something I do.When I've seen mums do it,it is been literally that and a whole lot less stressful and upsetting than the punishments I have to resort to with dd.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 04-Feb-13 11:14:31

I was neutral about smacking (one of the 'I was smacked as a child and didn't do me any harm' school) but if I think hard about it, it was done as an absolute last resort by my very young mum, when she had lost her temper, and it was absolutely shocking.

I have smacked my very strong-willed DD1 twice, both times in anger, and I'm willing to bet in very similar circs to when my mum smacked me (but I don't have the age excuse). It was HUGELY ineffective - DD was shocked, outraged - and then smacked me back before howling even louder. She is not at all violent so it was utterly cause/effect. It left me guilty and mortified and DD1 devastated.

I wouldn't blame anyone for smacking, god knows parenting is fucking hard, but there ARE other ways of dealing - eg mostly I remove her from the situation when I've lost control of her behaviour. And I also believe there's nearly always a reason for militant behaviour. And also it's a sign I need to try harder. She's 3 and I'm 37, I'm the one who should be in control.

amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 11:16:26

dancergirl "Funny how no-one is really offering a basic, fundamental alternative."


amazingmumof6 Mon 04-Feb-13 11:19:09

Polka "Parents are given very little tools to parent these days,they get a shed load of" research" and precious little support."

I agree with this too

who is the author of the book you are referring to, please?

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Feb-13 11:20:11

The reason that no one is offering a single alternative to smacking is because it's a bit more complicated than that. Presumably you don't smack your child every single time they do something wrong, rather use a variety of approaches, of which one is smacking.

The people who don't smack also use a variety of approaches, none of which are smacking. It's doubtful that any one single approach is a direct switch for a smack.

dilys4trevor Mon 04-Feb-13 11:20:51

I do think lots of parents have smacked at some point (even if a one off) as most of us experience a loss of situation-control or run out of other options at some point. For those who have never done, ever...I applaud you.

We smack as a last resort but as DS1 has just turned 4, I am fast realizing that it isn't as effective as withdrawal (of treats, TV, special outings etc). And I don't like doing it, and yes I do think it can represent a loss of control (although we do it very lightly and there are lots of warnings beforehand..having said that a couple of times I did it in anger and lay awake that night feeling wretched). The problem you have is when controlled light smacking doesn't work. 'Hit harder' feels wrong. The point of smacking is that it should be a shock to halt the behaviour in its tracks, NOT something that hurts.

I do think there are far meaner and neglectful things you can do to a child (than a light smack for appalling behaviour when there is no time for a naughty step), and some of these things are delivered by parents who wouldn't dream of smacking. I have seen people (good mums by some other standards) loudly dismiss one of their children as 'not very bright' in front of them, promise a treat and then casually withdraw it for no real reason, not bother to read to their child ever (or very rarely), ignore their child routinely when that child is trying to talk to their parent, 'pop out' to walk the dog and leave their child alone in the house etc etc. Not good friends of mine I may add, but I have seen it and some of those same parents would think me a terrible mother for administering a smack.

None of this is to say that smacking is great or not as bad as those things above. I do think though that MNs by definition will tend to be parents who care and therefore, we all have our views on what is good parenting and what is bad but generally, we probably all do our best and aren't cruel people or awful parents.

Reality is though that for us, smacking isn't working. And I'm glad as it is hardly a high point of any parent's relationship with their child.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Feb-13 11:24:14

I just don't think that a punishment/consequence should be something that the child is afraid of. Perhaps the fear-as-a-tool thing works for some but I don't think it helps me. Probably the worst thing I do in my DS' eyes is put him in his room alone to calm down sometimes, but I know he's not afraid of this. If he was younger perhaps he would have been - I didn't do it then.

amazing and dancer there have been loads of suggestions for alternatives. Problem is that most people don't have one specific thing that they do in place of smacking. However I'm sure people who smack don't use it for every little thing either, so that's a bit of a red herring. If you want something to replace it with exactly which does exactly the same thing, then why don't you just smack? If you don't want to smack then you need to accept that the alternatives are different and you can't just swap one for the other and expect it to work in exactly the same way.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 04-Feb-13 11:28:03

noble dilys I am pressing an imaginary 'like' button for your posts.

dilys4trevor Mon 04-Feb-13 11:32:52

Panpiper, that is a first for me on here!

StoicButStressed Mon 04-Feb-13 11:41:04

I really still CANNOT believe some of what am seeing here. Am both sleep deprived and sad beyond words due to my Ma's condition, so keep wondering if it's that that is blocking my brain from comprehending some of what is written here? But I know it's not - I'm exhausted, not had a brain and EI transplant. This from SolidGoldBrass:

However, if a toddler is repeatedly touching things in a shop and has had several warnings, a light slap on the hand is generally effective (same as it would be for a dog.)

*WHAT.THE. FCK??? Genuinely thought I was hallucinating from lack of sleep, but nope, that really IS what it saidsadangry.

1: A 'toddler' 'touching' 'things' 'repeatedly' (whether in a shop or anywhere else) is a combo of a TODDLER'S innate curiosity AND is also SPOT ON vis their (err, natural???) development needs AS. A. TODDLER.

2: So whilst get that is vereeeee tricky in a shop, it does NOT mean you give them a 'light' slap (BTW, what IS light? And I mean to your TODDLER, not YOU?).

3. Ergo what you DO - as opposed to using pain to 'teach them'/'stop them' - is i) recognise it's frickin NORMAL toddler behaviour/development/age appropriate and to be expected actions/behaviour?; ii) use it as the beginning of the time you start (but gee, this bit does take more EFFORT huh?) TEACHING him/her about what is/is not ok outside/in shops etc vs, say their 'touching things' - err, like toys? - at home etc; iii) and what YOU, as the parent of that toddler do, is to keep them out of reach of 'touching things repeatedly', &/or leave if it if that option isn't available (i.e. supermarket aisles are WELL wide enough for trolly/toddler seat to be AWAY from touching things; Antique shop wouldn't be.) Not exactly rocket science - and very def not a 'reason' for hurting your child simply for being precisely where they should be at that stage of development?

4: Just stupefied (& angry TBH) you genuinely wrote 'same as it would be for a dog" Your toddler is NOT remotely analogous to a DOG??? Either per se, or as a 'comparison'.


And as for this:

And all this waa, waaa, over the use of the word 'smacking'. FFS there is a considerable difference between a slap and a punch even though both are 'hitting'.

You're right, there is a difference between a 'slap' and a 'punch' - but only in terms of degree. The thing there is NO difference in is they are BOTH physical violence to your child - a toddler of a child who has done NOTHING wrong other than behave as a, err, toddler? Am nauseated by what you have written.

kimorama Mon 04-Feb-13 11:42:46

We must