School telling mom off for smacking her kid

(167 Posts)
squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 10:12:45

A parent I know has 3 kids under 5 and lives in a two bedroom small flat, she's a single mum and is going back to work from maternity leave in a few weeks - basically she's got a lot on her plate but does an amazing job under these circumstances.

To discipline the eldest (age 6) she occasionally smacks with her hand and always explains what she's done it for and hugs him after. Now I don't agree with this discipline method but that's how she was brought up.

The teachers are on her back at the school telling her that this smacking is "on her child's record" and she has been brought in for a 'meeting' with the welfare teacher about it and had 'child protection' and 'social services' words said to her in what sounds like thinly veiled blackmail.

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship.

I just think the school are handling it wrongly, rather than supporting her and trying to change her behaviour they seem to make matters worse.

What do you guys think? How should schools handle this sort of thing? Should they be threatening with child protection or ignoring it or what? I know they're in a difficult position but surely they can do better than this? It's not against the law for smacking your child after all whether you agree with it or not....

I can only presume that the teachers are following this up because the child is being hit at home, and they have no way at this point of assessing whether this is reasonal chastisement or physical abuse. I think both sides are wrong about this - if the school suspected abuse they should contact social services, not the mother who is now "warned off" her behaviour. The mother hitting her child because he told school that he's being hit at home is well out of order - he was factually correct, why shouldn't he tell school that this is happening to him - what is your friend afraid of if she feels that this is a legitimate form of punishment.

The three kids under 5 and 2 bed flat and returning to work are red herrings by the way - if this is the way she was brought up and choses to bring up her children, she'll do that irrelevant of her current situation.

Sorry but poor kid - he told the school and they handled it really shoddily and got him hit by his mother as a result. He's not really likely to confide in the school again in future is he? I suspect that you wrote your post hoping for sympathy for your friend but I'm afraid I only have sympathy for her son.

So he's going to get another slap for talking about being slapped? <baffled>

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 10:25:37

It's a difficult one. The law on smacking is a stupid fudge. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that children are not abused and if they suspect abuse they are obliged to act. Everybody in this situation is in a difficult position.

I'm not sure which particular record the school are referring to. If the smacking didn't take place in school and there's no evidence that it was excessive or even happened at all, I can't see what record they can be referring to. If on the other hand the school means that issues concerning the child's welfare have been raised and recorded then that's different. And it would simply be a fact. I don't think it involves blackmail.

Presumably the issues will be addressed by any and all agencies which involve themselves in such matters and it may all come to nothing. I think there is a level of bureaucracy involved in such procedures. My 18 month old spilled a cup of tea on herself in a cafe once. We took her to A&E. Later that night I got a telephone call from social services asking if there was anything that I wanted to explain to them?! WTF?! I told them that there wasn't, thanked them for calling and put the phone down.

RooneyMara Thu 29-Nov-12 10:25:52

Really upsetting to think she will hit him again for daring to tell anyone about it.

If she doesn't see it as abuse then why isn't he allowed to tell?

Makes me bloody angry when parents bully their children like this.

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Thu 29-Nov-12 10:26:07

Your friend is handling it wrongly not the school.

He'll get a smack for telling school that he gets smacked at home????

Your friend needs to have this issue highlighted. I think the school could be a bit more constructive and help her find ways of disciplining her child that doesn't involve physical violence.

stargirl1701 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:30:28

The school are legally obligated to follow up if a child talks about being hit at home. It's basic child protection.

I can't believe she is going to smack him for talking about smacking. She feels guilty. If she believed what she was doing is right then she would be unthreatened by him discussing it at school.

saadia Thu 29-Nov-12 10:30:53

I think if the child mentioned it then the school has to act. It's not really their job to teach her good parenting.

OP - your first 2 paras made me think that your friend's approach to discipline was probably ok. Not mine. But everyone is different.

But if you are hitting children for something hours after teh fact, it isn't appropriate. Also - she is hitting him for telling the truth. therefore I think she does need to re-think things.

littleducks Thu 29-Nov-12 10:32:56

Well she hasn't hit him for telling yet, that might be an assumption on OPs part or something the mum said in anger at the time which she would not follow through.

The school have handled this badly. Parents are allowed to smack their children, if the school disagree with this they need to lobby the government or something.

If the school suspect it is abuse/goes beyond what is allowed in law then they should be following their safeguarding policies. This would not involve telling the mother. If it was genuine abuse she would then have been 'warned' and could totally ruin any enquiry SS would make. This would then put an abused child in a vulnerable position.

Kendodd Thu 29-Nov-12 10:33:06

shock that the child was hit when he got home for telling the school his mum hits him.

That is not reasonable chastisement, he should have had no punishment whatsoever and if your friend was confident in her parenting he wouldn't have. Fine if she chooses to hit him but it sounds like she is ashamed of her choices if he is expected to keep it secret.

Hitting your children is not illegal. IMO it might not be the best parenting but that's another story. If she has chosen to use physical chastisement then she should be willing to stand up and defend her decision. If the school don't like it then tough.

GobblersSparklyExplodingKnob Thu 29-Nov-12 10:34:18

A guy I know has 2 jobs and lives in a two bedroom small flat, he works hard and is changing jobs in a few weeks - basically he's got a lot on his plate but does an amazing job under these circumstances.

To discipline his wife he occasionally smacks with his hand and always explains what he's done it for and hugs her after. Now I don't agree with this discipline method but that's how he was brought up.

Now the police are on his back telling him that this smacking is "on his record" and he might have to pop down to the station over it and had 'domestic violence' and 'prosecution' words said to him in what sounds like thinly veiled blackmail.

It has made him angry and will lead to another smack for her when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about him - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship.

Why the fuck is it okay when it is a child?

What do you think about the above situation?

Floralnomad Thu 29-Nov-12 10:38:43

The school have no alternatives but to act if a child tells them he is being hit . This is the risk you take if you use smacking as a form of discipline. Your friends living arrangements and the number of children she has is an irrelevance, I'm sure there are lots of people in her situation who don't feel the need to smack their children.

mamij Thu 29-Nov-12 10:42:46

The school may have handled the situation badly, but if your friend is going to smack her DS again for telling the school then your friend needs to think about her own actions.

Startail Thu 29-Nov-12 10:44:08

Smacking is not illegal in England. It is nothing to do with the school unless they suspect actual abuse.

In that case they should report it to the SS.

What in earth is a Welfare teacher? Either your friends DS raised serious issues which should be dealt with by the appropriate channels or he had a good moan about a perfectly appropriate punishment in which case they should butt out.

Schools expect parents to support them, they should support the parents in return.

It is not their place to make moral judgements on the rights and wrongs of smacking in the home.

"It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship"

Which makes you think that perhaps the school is right to be concerned hmm

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 10:47:26

I know that the smacking thing is not the way forward and I don't agree with it, but surely the point is it's NOT illegal and she needs to be encouraged to stop doing it, rather the alienating her and leading to more smacking - that's why i disagree with the school rather than looking for any sympathy for her here.

I think it's naive to assume that she shouldn't be worried about threats to social services and this is the reason she would want her child not to say anything at school. She's worried cos she knows that the school can end up taking it further and then you never know what can happen, it seems a bit of minefield to me.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 10:50:27

the problem is the school should be supporting parents and it should be a virtuous circle, bu i really feel this school is not supportive and it just turns things into a vicious cycle instead

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 10:51:03

Well, I can see one way out, which is for the mum to stop hitting the child for a start.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 10:52:47

well i can't tell her to stop doing it and neither can the school right? or wrong? dunno

diddlediddledumpling Thu 29-Nov-12 10:55:53

Excellent post Gobblers. Agree 100%.

RooneyMara Thu 29-Nov-12 10:56:09

Oh and yes, I'm a single mother with (almost) 3 children in a two bedroom flat. I don't feel the need to smack mine. Certainly not as punishment for telling someone that I smacked them, either.

I'm sure her life is difficult but then, a lot of people's lives are difficult and that doesn't change anything regarding 'discipline' or abuse.

"She's worried cos she knows that the school can end up taking it further and then you never know what can happen" - with no evidence of abuse at all? I can tell you, absolutely nothing can happen, because nothing did happen and there's no evidence. SWs would have enough to deal with elsewhere.

Also, why is it the school's job to support her parenting style? Their job is to educate and support her child, surely?

quietlysuggests Thu 29-Nov-12 10:57:25

What she does in public and admits to you, will be only a fraction of what she actually does to her poor son.
I hope social services are involved as they need to be.
And thumping/ hitting, whalloping him becaue he told on her? Jesus, how is that not abusive?
Is it you OP?

RooneyMara Thu 29-Nov-12 10:57:32

Yes of course she is worried about SS.

That's her own bloody fault though.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 10:58:59

Actually you can tell her anything you like. Whether or not she'll listen to you is another matter. The school seems to have told her to stop it already. In the end what the woman needs is an alternative to hitting the child which encourages him to stop doing whatever it is that the mother dislikes so much that she feels the need to hit him, (apart that is from discussing her behaviour at school. Hitting him for that is wrong, stupid and doubtless counter productive.)

Do you know why the boy was hit the first time?

diddlediddledumpling Thu 29-Nov-12 10:59:29

Do you think the school should be supporting parents whatever way they choose to discipline their children? They have an obligation to investigate a child protection concern, and you don't know exactly what the child has said.
I think it is totally out of order for her to hit him when he gets home today. What is that teaching him? I hope the episode makes your friend think long and hard about her discipline.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:00:13

"It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship. "

If this is true, I am afraid the school are right to intervene here, something is very wrong IMO.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:03:58

gosh - you guys are harsh! i was brought up with the occasional smack and it never did me any harm. I know it might be worse but the point is you are not going to change her behaviour through condemnation and thinly veiled threats, only through education and support. and no it;s not me!

Graceparkhill Thu 29-Nov-12 11:04:05

She hits him and then hugs him afterwards? Sorry that makes me feel ill.
Your friend has a lot on her plate but hitting a child is never the answer.
If it did "work 'she would only ever have had to do it once.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:07:23

you don't see that if she smacks her child for telling the school he gets hit at home and the "relationship worsens as a result" that this is entirely the fault of the mother? Seriously you don't see it? So it is the fault of the school, it is the fault of the boy or what?

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:08:33

yes smacking is wrong , that's not what this is about. This is about how the school are handling it - basically is it any of their business? the law says not and so you could argue they have no right to talk to the mother about it, certainly not to say 'it's on her record' and the way they've handled it today surely demonstrates how poor their handling of this whole situation is.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:09:57

If you are her friend, you can tell her to change her behaviour.

Especially the part where you expect a 6-year-old to get hit because he tells the truth about how his mum smacks him around shock

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:09

i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom

Graceparkhill Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:32

The welfare of the child has to be the business of the school. What do you think they should have done? Presumably they got their info from the wee boy so they can't just ignore it.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:36

Of course, the safety of a student at home is a school's business, especially if the student has raised it with them.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:11:46

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom"

It sounds like you need some of that education yourself shock

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:11:55

yes - coteDAzur - you're right, i will have a chat with her about it, this is what i'm saying though, if the bloody teacher was kind and supportive and have a reasonable conversation rather than alienating parents, they'd get a lot more done.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 11:12:09

No the school isn't that's plain wrong. The school isn't hitting him; the mother is! That's just plain messed up thinking.

Actually that's the kind of thing abusers say. They hit and then say see what you made me do!

RooneyMara Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:18

'i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom'

I'm speechless

Decemberinthesun Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:35

If this was how she was raised then she ought to know better TBH. I bet when she was hit as a child she didn't think, hey great I deserved that. That boy won't always be 6 you know. At 13 he will probably be able to pack a smack a lot harder than she can.

Floggingmolly Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:44

will lead to another smack at home for saying stuff about her at school
And she'll hug him afterwards, I presume? hmm
What's amazing about how she's raising her children? Sounds quite abusive to me, and school are duty bound to report it, and attempt to get the kids (and your friend) the help they need.

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 11:19:37

Smacking is legal if it is "reasonable chastisement" or something.

If she's using it in the same way most people would use, e.g. a time out, and it's not hard enough to cause physical damage and isn't with an implement etc then she's fine.

However the fact you say she's going to smack him when she gets home because the school have had a word with her about it is the alarming point for me, and what makes me think maybe the school has a point, perhaps she's not using it as part of a discipline strategy but more as a way of releasing her anger, which is not "reasonable chastisement".

Why on earth is the school at fault? She is utterly WRONG for wanting to punish him for this. Even if the school is overreacting to a perfectly fine and legal discipline technique, it's not HIS fault, why should HE be punished?

If she's ashamed of her discipline techniques then she should seek help in finding other ways to manage her children's behaviour.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:21:07

yes i know Decemberinthesun - you are absolutely right on that one.

AbigailAdams Thu 29-Nov-12 11:22:04

Honestly OP you really have this arse about face. Smacking your child for talking to someone about being smacked is not "reasonable chastisement" (whatever your views on smacking are). That is abuse.

The school are proceeding correctly. Children deserve to be protected. We are not the ones being harsh. This woman is.

If the school is worried about the welfare of the child then it is their business. Are they supposed to ignore it? I would be concerned if he's scared/hurt/worried enough to have confided in his teacher or TA about the actions of his Mother. Maybe she left a mark - that's definitely not legal.

TBH I think rather than whining about the school telling her off she ought to take a good look at her actions and see if they do have a reason for it.

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom "

No it isn't.

Sirzy Thu 29-Nov-12 11:24:37

there is a very fine line between a smack and abusing a child. If this child is going to get 'smacked' because she has spoken to the school then on the face of it it would appear that this is bordering on abuse.

If she isn't coping with her children she needs to ask for help, abusing the children isn't going to help anyone.

MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:25:36

Are you serious?
The school is responsible for the child getting hit?

1st off the school have a legal duty to initiate an investigation if a child discloses abuse. They do not have a choice.
So if this poor kid has said 'my mum hits me' he has disclosed possible abuse.

It is NOT the responsibility of the school to question the child and assess what he means by 'hit'.

They have done the right thing. They are not threaten ing the mother, they are doing what they are supposed to do. They are informing her that her child has given them worrying information and they are following it up.

Too many schools bypass this bit of safeguarding and ironically, in this case, they would have been perhaps right to.

If by informing the carers they are putting the child at risk of abuse they shouldnt say anything.
Your mate is going to thump her child for telling someone he wants his mum to stop hitting him.


MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:26:22

This isn't about your friend is it?

Sirzy Thu 29-Nov-12 11:27:30

This is about how the school are handling it - basically is it any of their business?

If a child came to you upset because mummy had hit them, or displaying unusual bruises or other signs which rang alarm bells would you ignore it?

For someone who doesn't agree with smacking you are very defensive of your 'friends' right to do so.

kilmuir Thu 29-Nov-12 11:27:39

having a lot on your plate is no reason to hit your child. Not his fault.
Poor child

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Thu 29-Nov-12 11:27:52

School shouldnt even be trying to deal with it, it should have gone straight to SS.

garlicbaubles Thu 29-Nov-12 11:28:02

Well said, Gobblers.

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school

This is abuse OP. Sorry it's not what you want to think, but the school's concerns are valid. This parent doesn't need a gentle chat, she needs a big enough shock that she'll have to take her problem seriously.

kilmuir Thu 29-Nov-12 11:28:43

The school are protecting the boy, they are looking after him, well done them, unlike your so called friend

Graceparkhill Thu 29-Nov-12 11:29:22

That's what I was thinking Mrs DeVere

quietlysuggests Thu 29-Nov-12 11:30:41

So your "friend" has said to you "He is going to get it when I get my hands on him tonight I'll teach him to tell on me"
So YOU should report her as you know she is PLANNING to abuse her son tonight.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 11:32:27

I think this situation is going to come to a head. It sounds a bit like a slow-motion car wreck.

MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:33:57

The school are following safeguarding procedures op. They are not optional,
They are legally bound to do so.
Smacking is not illegal but do you think your son said 'mummy gives me a smack when I have been very naughty and then tells me why. It's ok because she is stressed and we live ona small flat'

He said 'my mum hits me'

School have responded appropriately. If SS had turned up on your door with the police, that would be an overreaction.
Calling you in to discuss the worrying things he said is entirely appropriate.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Thu 29-Nov-12 11:34:00

I don't think it's about a "friend" either. How can you be so close to someone that they would tell you the details of how they abuse their children yet not feel you were in a position to tell them not to do it?

And yes, I said abuse, because that is what she is doing if she is hitting her child for telling people she has hit him.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 11:37:54

Let's keep talking in terms of the friend, whether we believe the friend is fictional or not. Doing that helps us to make explanations rather than accusations.

MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:43:08

It's irrelevant really.
This op want people to tell her we live in a nanny state and it's all pc gone mad.

The school have done what they are required to do by law.

And that is it.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:51:11

the mother is responsible for her actions and she has to accept that, whether or not she likes it. In this case, if she goes home and hits her ds because the school now know that she smacks her dc at home and she did not like the tenor of the talk she had with the school welfare officer about this, it is not the school lifting her hand and driving it down to strike her child, she makes the decision herself to do that. If she worsens the relationship she has to her dc by doing this, it was her decision to make that step. She needs to know what she is doing. She is hitting her ds for telling the truth. Is that a sensible parenting method? What is she expecting to achieve by it?

As her friend, I would advise her not to do it. She would be best to sleep on her anger and give some thought to her disciplinary methods. If she decides to continue as she has done, having reached the conclusion that her methods are appropriate and she feels the school has misunderstood the situation and gone too far with this, she might consider writing a firm but reasoned letter calmly outlining her point of view and requesting that this is not on record.

If she feels slapped by the school and decides to slap her son to take it out on him, it is not reasonable adult behaviour. Sometimes you have to cope with a bit of anger without letting it out on someone else. There is enough in life to get everyone angry at times and sometimes we just have to deal with it ourselves.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:54:26

in any case I doubt that SS and Child Protection have been called in at this point unless the mother's behaviour at the meeting gave more cause for concern or the child was physically marked

WileyRoadRunner Thu 29-Nov-12 11:58:59

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight

And ^ is where it crosses the line from discipline to smacking and exactly why the school are involved.

I do not agree with smacking as a form of discipline anyway as usually it is due to the parent losing their temper.

Hitting your child because you are angry is unacceptable. I would imagine their is more to this than meets the eye for SS and CP to be involved.

OP i do not think you are hearing the full story behind this.

WileyRoadRunner Thu 29-Nov-12 12:05:28

i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom

shock OP if this is how you feel and this isn't really about you and your child then you need to distance yourself from your "friend" and possibly look into that attitude as it's appalling. You will do her no favours by leading her to believe that hitting her child is the schools fault and not hers.

CelineMcBean Thu 29-Nov-12 12:05:55

Mum feels school have handled this badly so instead of dealing with school in a grown up way she is going to wallop a 6 year old instead? And this is some how the school's fault?

Op either you are on a wind up or you are scarily ignorant.

MissWooWoo Thu 29-Nov-12 12:06:47

Young children should be taught that all hitting is unacceptable, because it is. The school will no doubt be against hitting and therefore any behaviour that is considered unacceptable on school grounds should be dealt with accordingly. If a child hits another child in the playground do the teachers allow this to go on? no! if an adult hits smacks a child in the playground should the school turn a blind eye? no!

You can't use "it's the way she was brought up" as an excuse.

tinselahohoho Thu 29-Nov-12 12:08:17

Excellent post Gobblers.

Your 'friend' (with the three children under 5, one of whom is 6 confused ) needs to stop blaming other people, including her children, and start looking at her own behaviour. The thought of 'her' hitting her little boy again for telling the truth, when he has been brave enough to tell someone, is sickening.

CelineMcBean Thu 29-Nov-12 12:08:22

Actually I am appalled at both op and this woman's attitude and think the school were totally right to intervene and I am not in favour of nannying adults but clearly neither of you know any better.

ZhenThereWereTwo Thu 29-Nov-12 12:14:18

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight

This comment is the reason why the school should be involved. A child should not get smacked for something that is the parents responsibility. She chooses to get angry and smack him, it is not the school's responsibility, they are not holding her hand and making her do it!

I think there is more to this than meets the eye and she is not telling you the whole story.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Thu 29-Nov-12 12:20:37

I'm not entirely anti smacking. The first couple of paragraphs didn't sound too bad, but this....

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship

Is where it is no longer acceptable and has turned into abuse that the school should be concerned about.

However, since you seem to think the school are more responsible for this than the mother, I doubt you are the person to help things here that's if any of this is true and you aren't doing research which I suspect is the case

Carla123 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:28:54

Very well put Gobblers. It is so sad that children aren't afforded the same legal rights as adults. OP it is so sad that your friend will punish her child for the consequences of her own actions. Smacking him again for "saying stuff about her at school" / telling the truth about how she disciplines him is essentially physically threatening the child to keep her behaviour a secret. A bit sinister, even if she is only smacking him occasionally. Also, the fact that this could lead to "a worsening of their relationship" is another worrying sign.

The poor child obviously feels the need to seek the support of a trusted adult to confide in. As such, the "occasional" smacking must be having an emotional impact if not a physical one. How on earth could the school encourage the mother to stop hitting her child without letting her know that he has talked about it? I think the school are acting appropriately as advocates for the well-being of a six year old. Luckily it seems that the school have prioritised protecting the child over not alienating the mother.

OP I think every adult has a responsibility for child protection. Perhaps you should also be asking how you can help your friend to stop hitting her son in a friendly, supportive way without alienating her. After all, you are an adult who is aware of a child who has asked for help. What have you done so far?

DeWe Thu 29-Nov-12 13:43:00

I don't smack my dc, but I don't generally condemn people that use it in some circumstances. However:

"It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship"

makes me think actually they do need SS in. That statement would make me very worried for the child. If I knew she did that, then I would be contacting SS myself.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 29-Nov-12 14:11:20

'Should they be threatening with child protection'

Interesting POV, that saying you will seek to protect a child from violence is seen as a threat by a bystander and not just the aggressor.
So she hits, he tells as he is taught to do by the school, then she hits him again for telling what should be kept a secret?
School should be looking out for the interests of the child.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 29-Nov-12 14:17:31

Exactly Gobblers. hitting your partner didn't used to be illegal either, but women started to object and the law slowly changed. Sadly, in almost every situation, a child is completely powerless and virtually voiceless as well.
It is taking longer to make hitting your children illegal, but it was banned in schools two years after I started teaching.
So I could hit your children when they were rude or misbehaved, and the law would have allowed it.

Kendodd Thu 29-Nov-12 14:39:08

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom "


If the school is responsible why doesn't she go down there and slap the headteacher then?

Carla123 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:58:39

Squareheadcut I have just read the other thread you started this morning Teacher - Parent Breakdown. It seems to me as though the facts from the two threads are blurred. Assuming your "friend" will read through these threads I would like to say the following to her:

Please do not be angry at your son for the situation that has developed at school. He is only six and in no way responsible for the behaviour of any adults in his life (including his mother, welfare officers or new teachers). I am sure as his mother your son loves you more than anyone and would not deliberately seek to cause you any extra pressure or make you feel uncomfortable at school. He was just telling someone he trusted about something that has been upsetting him. Being on the receiving end of smacking can be very confusing for children and can make them feel scared of the very people who are meant to protect them. The fact that you need to try and explain the smacking to your son and hug him after shows that you are aware he might feel unloved because of it. What if in-spite of your explanations and hugs your son thinks you don't like him? He will only have one childhood, so do you really want him to remember you as someone who hurt him when he was little? He needs to know that even if he is naughty your love is unconditional.

How would you feel if you found out that someone else was hitting your son and then forcing him to keep it a secret, even if he was really upset? Why do you think it is different because it is you doing the hitting? Surely you would want to protect him and reassure him that nobody is allowed to hurt him. There is always an alternative to smacking, which is a life skill that you need to teach your son, so that he can articulately handle himself in tricky situations without getting excluded from school, arrested for assault, or developing a habit of laying into his own kids/wife.

If you do have a lot on your plate and this is having an impact on your relationship with your son, perhaps you could ask for help from someone you trust. What kind of support do you feel would improve the relationship with your son? In what way if any do you think the school could support you? As they have already mentioned SS perhaps this would be an opportunity to ask for their help. Have you tried talking anonymously to an agency such as childline or gingerbread?

If your son is naughty perhaps you could come on here and ask MNers for tips on how to discipline him without smacking, for specific things he is doing.

chloe74 Fri 30-Nov-12 00:42:14

The school have done exactly the right thing, its abuse to assault, I would have rung the police. There is no excuse for hitting children.

garlicbaubles Fri 30-Nov-12 01:34:29

That's a good post, Carla. I hope she finds it helpful.

RaisinBoys Fri 30-Nov-12 07:32:13

Fantastic post Gobblers!

"It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship."

School are right to be concerned.

She has a lot on her plate? So do many. It's not her son's job or responsibilty to manage his mother's temper.

If you are truly her "friend" urge her to get some help before she ruins her relationship with her son.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Fri 30-Nov-12 07:39:20

School don't involve protection services unless they are sure this is more than a tap on the backside. The child may have had marks, are you sure this isn't worse than she's telling you? I think the school are dead right to take this to another level with a Mother that thinks it's OK to hit a child for telling the truth.

cory Fri 30-Nov-12 08:20:01

Just to sum up the relevant points which have already been made by other posters:

1. The son will not have said "my mother smacks me in a controlled manner within the bounds of reasonable chastisement". He will have said "my mum hits me".

The school, at this point, has no means of telling the difference between a parent who uses smacking as part of a controlled discipline or an abusive parent. So they have a choice between investigating all these cases and investigating none. If they investigate none, then chances are sooner or later they will find that a pupil of theirs was desperately trying to tell the teacher about abuse and getting no help.

2. *Smacking a child BECAUSE HE HAS TOLD is not reasonable chastisement*; it is a very worrying sign.

3. *The child is not responsible for his mother's temper*: she is responsible for how she parents him.

fwiw I speak as someone who has been called in to the school more than once for meetings with welfare officers and SS. And yes, I was quite innocent. And no, I did not go home and take it out on my dc. And if I had, it would not have been the headteacher's fault. (It wasn't about smacking btw)

sashh Fri 30-Nov-12 08:39:41

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship

So mum is hitting the child because she is angry, not because he has done anything wrong.

That's an abusive relationship. Either she needs help PDQ or those children need to be away from her.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 09:39:40

whoah! i just came back to this and you guys have gone CRAZY! This is smacking as a time out measure and not some huge abuse scandal, there certainly have NEVER been any marks on the boy. It seems to me that in your rush to condemn the mother you have lost all sense of understanding (there is also a cultural issue here). We all want the same thing - to get the mother to stop smacking, but there are ways of going about it and I am suggesting the school have not done this correctly. Yes, they have followed procedure (teachers love procedure) but is this the best way? it certainly hasn't worked in this case.

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 09:42:05

So what do you think they should have done?

How is smacking a "time out measure"? How is smacking a child for telling someone about a problem a good thing?

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 09:43:03

It's also worth remembering abuse doesn't always leave visible marks. Doesn't mean it's not abuse.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 09:49:24

carla 123 - you have got it all wrong, i'm afraid i am just being plain old honest and these two things have happened separately, so i didn't bother reading your long post - this happened to a friend and i am have had a few separate problems with my ds's teacher who is in a different year. so nothing to read into there i'm afraid.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 09:53:08

Also - I would like to say I do not know if she actually DID hit her son last night - she could have just said that in the heat of the moment and after she said it calmed down.

In your rush to condemn smacking, i think someone rightly put this ito historical context, it wasn't that long ago that schools were smacking and using corporal punishment, i think they should remember this before they run over to the 'safeguarding policies' which really probably aren';t worth the paper they're written on.

MrsDeVere Fri 30-Nov-12 09:53:18

What cultural issue?

If SS do get involved they will not take 'its my culture' as a mitigating factor.
Not in my borough anyway.

Do you honestly stand by your statement that the school is to blame for the child getting a cold blooded smack for asking for help?

If so you are really not the best person to be advising your friend.

The best thing you can do to help is step away before you talk her into a full scale cp assessment.

'cultural issue'??

MrsDeVere Fri 30-Nov-12 09:54:28

Just seen your last post.
You really don't know much about this issue do you?

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 09:55:29

she could have just said that in the heat of the moment and after she said it calmed down.

Oh well just threatening her child is fine then isn't it. Nothing to worry about at all!

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 09:57:22

sirzy - they should not be using thinly veiled threats of 'this will be on his record' which only serves to alienate. they should be sitting down with this mother and having sensible, supportive and FRIENDLY informal conversations WITHOUT threat.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 09:57:51

sirzy - she said that to me not her child.

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 09:59:46

I don't care who she said it to its still wrong that the thought even came into her head.

of course it will go on his record, the school need to report the fact that a child has told them he is being hit at home.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 10:03:42

mrsdevere - well it seems i know more about what's going on in this home than most, i am just an ordinary mother - i don't work in schools or know anything about child protection it's true but i seem to know more about what's going on in this household than anyone else.

LtEveDallas Fri 30-Nov-12 10:04:09

Carla123's post is excellent, you would do well to read it OP.

I am not an absolute 'Smacking is wrong' parent, but have not needed to smack my child. If your friend needs help to discipline her child the. She should ask for it. She does NOT need to smack as a time out measure - time out is actually a good disciplinary tool on its own - with my DD being sent to her bedroom whilst we both calm down has helped immeasurably.

And to answer your question, no, I don't think the school is in the wrong. Your friend is responsible for her own actions, and as we all know, actions have consequences.

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 10:04:23

sirzy - you want to report her to the thought police now? come on

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 10:06:35

What who has mentioned police?

It will go on the childs records in the school, schools are obliged to record any incidents which occur in school or which are reported by pupils of things which happen outside school.

This is to allow to to keep track of what is happening. If a pupil reports being smacked, or is showing signs of unusual injuries the school will record this. If a pupil then goes on to show other signs which raise alarm bells it means the school have an accurate picture of things from the schools POV.

titchy Fri 30-Nov-12 10:08:11

But teachers are not qualified as family therapists - they are teachers. Becasue they teach children they have a duty to report potential abuse to the appropriate authorities. What's so confusing?

Do you really think it's the teacher's role to offer paretning skills to your friend? SS ARE able to offer this sort of support, but of course it measn the family will then be known to SS. Whcih is what the school has told her.

Personally I think it's a good thing that the school is aware of this situation. Or woudl you prefer teachers to keep their sticky beaks out and ignore any warning signs? Cos teachers love procedures you know. Nothing they like better than reporting families to SS..... hmm

Up to your friend now. <shrugs>

AbigailAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 10:10:24

Squareheadcut do you think it is OK that this mother will hit her child because he asked for help?

MrsDeVere Fri 30-Nov-12 10:11:14

Sounds like they were explains what could happen to her.
That is good practice.
It would be irresponsible to let her think that she could carry on anyway she wants and 'they can't do that!'

A good friend would not encourage her to be obstructive and defensive. They would reassure her that if she listened and cooperated she is likely to get help with her obvious problems.

quietlysuggests Fri 30-Nov-12 10:11:21

So whats the cultural issue that you think makes it ok?

ZZZenAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 10:11:37

shame you couldn't be bothered to read Carla's thoughtful post. It was spot on.

seeker Fri 30-Nov-12 10:13:15

So. Child tells teacher that he is being hit by his mother.

What should the school do?

squareheadcut Fri 30-Nov-12 10:14:56

sirzy the 'thought police' - it's a term used in reference to when you want to arrest someone for what they're thinking. that's what i meant.

ZZZenAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 10:16:01

presumably the school needs to learn more about other cultures where smacking is the usual thing to do so they know to shrug it off when a dc from that background mentions he gets hit at home and not annoy the mother and her friends by inviting her in to discuss it. The school should also learn not to make "thinly veiled threats" involving the words SS and Child Protection because this will "alienate" the mother.

THankfully this is not going to happen.

HecatePropylaea Fri 30-Nov-12 10:18:58

I do not believe that the school are taking this action because she taps him on the hand and then explains why and gives him a cuddle. I just don't. That does not ring true. Either she is doing far more than that to him, or he is telling the school that she is.

I did X and mum smacked my hand and then gave me a cuddle.
Let's phone social services. This is a child protection issue.


If she actually did hit him for telling school what she does to him then she needs intervention.

If there's the slightest chance that that child is trying to find a way to reach out for help, then he should be listened to and action taken.

Sirzy Fri 30-Nov-12 10:19:20

Sorry missed the word thought.

She didn't just think it though did she, she told you that she was going to hit her child when she got home. Did that not raise alarm bells with you coz it sure as hell would have with me.

You are very quick to try to defend her right to hit her child for speaking up about concerns though. The poor child

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 10:34:04

Right, so your son's teacher hauled you in to speak to the welfare person because your son said something during play that was misconstrued as meaning you were hitting him.
And that was all sorted out but you started a thread on it afterwards.

And another parent in a different class has also been hauled in for a meeting with the welfare person, and 'threatened' with social services involvement.

All this in the last week or so?

It sounds like the school is obsessed with accusing parents of unjustified punishment.

Are you the only two parents being accused of this recently? Or do you think there is someone at the school who is creating unnecessary drama out of nothing?

ZZZenAgain Fri 30-Nov-12 10:39:55

maybe the school is having a crack-down.

chloe74 Fri 30-Nov-12 11:24:53

hitting or threatening to hit a child is wrong, it is abusive and has to be reported and stopped immediately. There is no cultural issue, its just plain wrong. Smacking is not a time out measure, 'time out is time out', smacking is abuse. You do not accept smacking because it might alienate the parent, its abuse, an anonymous call to report it should be made if you are afraid to give your name. It rightly should be on the parents record for life.

tethersend Fri 30-Nov-12 11:39:24

"the problem is the school should be supporting parents"

Erm, no. The school's job is to support the child. I would have thought that was obvious.

RaisinBoys Fri 30-Nov-12 11:50:05

Why bother inviting comment if you are going to ignore, belittle and disregard all the bits that you don't like?

"Cultural issue"! Bollocks! What culture thinks it is acceptable to hit a small child several hours after some perceived wrong doing? And I come from a background where my siblings and I were hit a lot - incidentally it doesn't work or you would only have to do it once!

All it does is make a child lose trust in the very people they should trust the most.

Your "friend" has a bad temper. Your "friend" takes that out on her child.

It's not right. It's never going to be acceptable.

If she loves her child she should seek some help before she ruins any sort of relationship she has with her child.

clabsyqueen Fri 30-Nov-12 11:56:34

Compelled to add my bit: This mum sounds like a bully taking out her stresses on her kids. You say she's likely to hit him for telling - poor poor kid. Totally unacceptable. Even a light tap on the hand is a ridiculous way to get a kid to think how to do the right thing. She's tired stressed and busy. Not an excuse. Ever.

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 13:07:28

Ok Squareheadcut Lets assume that the two threads you started, within an hour of each other, about school welfare officers and smacking are unrelated. It seems as though you are still hoping we will all rush to the condemn the school for following procedures which would rightly be applied to all pupils within their care, if suspicions were raised. Are you seriously only interested in reading replies which agree with you? Thats not quite how these forums work.

You said "We all want the same thing - to get the mother to stop smacking". If that is the case why not stop justifying your friends behaviour and actually try and think of ways you could support your friend and more importantly her son. You said "they should be sitting down with this mother and having sensible, supportive and FRIENDLY informal conversations WITHOUT threat". Actually, you are her friend, so why cant you do this yourself, if you genuinely want her to stop smacking her son. My long post that you couldn't be bothered to read might even give you some pointers. Perhaps you and your friend need to reflect a bit on why the school have singled the two of you out, as a focus for their concern in two completely unrelated incidents hmm. What could you be doing or saying that is causing your children to say things in the playground or elsewhere, that give teachers the wrong impression of you?

"it wasn't that long ago that schools were smacking and using corporal punishment, i think they should remember this before they run over to the 'safeguarding policies' which really probably aren';t worth the paper they're written on' Thankfully, things have moved on and schools have improved upon their past mistakes. History is riddled with things that would be unacceptable today.

garlicbaubles Fri 30-Nov-12 15:09:23

What culture thinks it is acceptable to hit a small child several hours after some perceived wrong doing?

The USA - vast swathes of it, anyway, supported by their churches. I thought OP might be American as she says "mom". Not that either child-beating or 'mom' are exclusive to the US!

insancerre Fri 30-Nov-12 15:17:15

Why is violence against children ok?
This woman is not doing a "fantastic job". She is abusing her child/ren.
The school have to act- they have a legal duty to under safeguarding laws.

Xenia Fri 30-Nov-12 16:34:15

No one should smack a child ever. The children should put film of it up on youtube to shame the parents.

TeddyBare Fri 30-Nov-12 16:39:13

The school should have gone directly to social services and the friend should stop hitting her dc. Have you tried helping her and suggesting parenting methods which do not involve taking your anger / embarrassment out on a 6 year old? That might be a friendly thing to do.

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 30-Nov-12 18:35:15

I am really pissed off that the OP is using my comment about corporal punishment in schools as validation for her attitude that we are all procedure-crazed jobsworths.

This is what I said, in context :

'Exactly Gobblers. hitting your partner didn't used to be illegal either, but women started to object and the law slowly changed. Sadly, in almost every situation, a child is completely powerless and virtually voiceless as well.
It is taking longer to make hitting your children illegal, but it was banned in schools two years after I started teaching.
So I could hit your children when they were rude or misbehaved, and the law would have allowed it.'

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 18:45:50

Squareheadcut I hope you read this, as the whole thing has really made me worried about this little boy. I followed my instincts and did a search on here and found a very old thread you started, which I think may be about the same friend and her son. You can correct me if I am wrong.

Firstly, I would like to to apologise to you, as I can see that part of my last post "Perhaps you and your friend need to reflect a bit on why the school have singled the two of you out, as a focus for their concern in two completely unrelated incidents . What could you be doing or saying that is causing your children to say things in the playground or elsewhere, that give teachers the wrong impression of you?" implies that the school should view you in the same light as your friend which is unfair to you. I think that I was just alarmed by some of the comments you have made to justify your friends behaviour. However, you have clearly stated that you don't agree with this discipline method and don't smack your own child.

Is the friend you mention in this current thread the same fiend you refer to here?. If so, then I think deep down you must know that your friends behaviour towards her son is abusive and you really should be more concerned for his well-being. It seems from some of the comments you make below, that although you are a helpful and caring friend to her, you may not be following through on things that bother you.

squareheadcut Thu 02-Feb-12 17:39:28
"The upstairs woman has 3 kids under 5 - oldest child is five years old, the younger boy is 2 and she's just had a newborn girl. Her five year old goes to the same school as my boy so now she's had the new girl, I've been abit lumbered and take her boy to school in the mornings..............he can hardly explain himself at all which makes me think he doesn't get talked to much and he never has breakfast in the morning."

squareheadcut Tue 20-Mar-12 21:37:30
"there are issues with her son though - he is not used to being listened to and talked to but i try and chat with him as much as poss on the walk to school, also he told me his mom thinks the devil's in him which was abit disturbing, he has trouble telling the truth but i think it's because he's so nervous about talking and he covers up for it by making stuff up".

Like I said, correct me if I am wrong and these are two different friends. However, even if that is the case, I think you need to recognise signs of child abuse and take action, when a child asks for help. Your threads make me sooooo grateful that all schools provide their staff with Safeguarding Children procedures and training. I really hope that the steps the school have already taken will help this little boy. Please report any concerns you have to Social Services.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 19:24:24

Oh Jesus that is about the saddest thing I have ever read sad

Thank GOD the school is onto it in some way

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 19:34:12

Sounds to me like it's only a matter of time until SS step in and sort this one out.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 19:36:01

I'm guessing the OP's friend knows that too, and that's why the boy is going to get another whack for bringing it up at school.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 19:36:27

OP if you know this poor little boy is being systematically abused (told the devil is in him? Smacked constantly) then it's imo your moral duty to report it to SS.

HOW can you stand by and let this continue?

JustFabulous Fri 30-Nov-12 19:40:07

I don't think the school "should be supporting the parent", at the expense of the child but I do think they should be looking out for the child.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 19:40:49

I'm guessing I wouldn't want to live next door to a woman that I'd been responsible for getting SS to take the kids from. The woman sounds unhinged. And unhinged people do very strange things. I think SS are on to it. The OP has her own son to worry about. The reason she's making these posts is because she wants to check her own moral compass. She can't deal with a loony neighbour on her own.

JustFabulous Fri 30-Nov-12 19:44:12

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom."

That is in the same vein as blaming a woman when her husband belts her. Wrong on so many levels and honestly, OP, you need to change your mindset and stop hitting your kid

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 19:44:16

No I'm sure she has her reasons Learn&say. Just makes me feel so frustrated and miserable for this little kid who probably believes he's evil.

It's so awful to think of.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 19:49:28

Well, you're absolutely right to feel miserable. I don't know what's going on in this particular case. But a typical "devil in you"+hitting scenario is West African belief in Kindoki. (Those children too often end up dead.) I don't want to alarm people. I have no idea, none at all, what is actually going on here. It might not be that at all, or anything like it. But something bad is going on (regardless of what it is.) SS know about it and I'm sure it will get sorted out. In the meantime the OP needs to be bloody careful.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 19:57:21

Yes I'm really out of my depth here, I've no cultural knowledge, so I take on board what you're saying.

Just sad

OP I hope you can find it in you to see how wrong this is, and to keep doing what you are doing for the lad, if you're still taking him to school etc.

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 19:57:37

Hopefully learnandsay. The problem is SS can only step in if they are given all the information. The school may only have part of the picture. Who knows how much or how little detail the boy went into when he spoke to the school. They may be completely unaware of the things squareheadcut is aware of. She really should at least share the comments she has posted here.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 20:03:40

Social Services will get some information from the boy himself. They'll get other information from his environment and they'll have him assessed. If the "devil in you" references are commonly known cultural ones SS should have access to advisors and social workers who have dealt with these kinds of issues before. Unless the OP can move away from her neighbour I wouldn't advise her to get personally involved in the SS aspect in any way. If the neighbour is a loony (as I suspect she might be) one wouldn't want her for an enemy.

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 20:12:40

That is, share with SS (perhaps anonymously), not with the friend.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 20:26:12

Possibly, that's a decision for the OP. But if the situation is as bad as it could potentially be then the children will be removed and life with the neighbour is going to become difficult. The situation will be protracted, emotional and doubtless unpleasant. If I was the OP I'd rather not have had any part in brining that situation about. Contact with SS has already been established. From my study many miles away I can't tell how significant the devil comments are. But SS there in the woman's house are going to be able to get a better look. The issues that I was referring to upthread are well known. There have been many well documented cases in the UK. SS have established procedures for them.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 20:27:42

If it's related to what I was talking about the advisor should know what he or she is looking for.

radicalsubstitution Fri 30-Nov-12 20:55:57

learnandsay you are absolutely right that the 'devil inside you' statement would raise just as many (if not more) alarm bells than knowledge that an 'odd smack' had taken place.

There are many forms of abuse - and physical is only one of them.

Social services are under the spotlight (as are we all) following many missed opportunities in recent years. They are (hopefully) not going to put themselves in that situation again. The name Climbie comes up (quite rightly) in the mandatory Safeguarding training undertaken by just about everyone in education .

thegreylady Fri 30-Nov-12 21:23:47

This thread has become increasingly disturbing and if the "cultural issues" are what I suspect then we may have a child who is dangerously at risk.I feel SS ought to be involved with this family and,far from being too zealous,the school may need to do more to ensure the safety of the little boy.

Feenie Fri 30-Nov-12 21:30:20

it wasn't that long ago that schools were smacking and using corporal punishment, i think they should remember this before they run over to the 'safeguarding policies' which really probably aren';t worth the paper they're written on.

Such policies are a legal requirement - 'they' don't have a choice of whether to 'run over' to them or not, fgs.

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:30:32

Op has not confirmed that the old and new threads are about the same child. If they are then of course I can see that she would not want to speak directly with the friend/neighbour about it. My earlier suggestions that she could do so were before I had found the old thread. The problem is that of course nobody wants to be involved in bringing about the removal of children. But everyone should be involved in the protection of children. As awkward or scary as it might be, we all have to step up and report any concerns, even if we think someone else is probably taking care of it. What if they aren't? Contact with SS had already been established in many tragic cases, including Victoria Climbie and Baby P. Yet a lack of communication and vital pieces of information not being shared, led to disaster. I feel SS should be given information from anyone who has it, in order to have a complete picture. It is then up to SS how to use that information. The friend does not need to know if OP tells SS anything. It could be done anonymously. We have no idea whether SS would actually remove the child. They may have other ways and means of supporting this family.

Blu Fri 30-Nov-12 21:46:35

Op - smacking as discipline is not something i would condone, but I wouldn't necessarily call it abuse. If the school ask her abut this, she can just explain. No-one gets their children taken away from them for an open handed smack that leaves no mark.

HOWEVER smacking a child for talking factually about something that is the truth is abuse. Being angry with the child and punishing HIM for the school's intervention is abuse. If she is unhappy with the school's intervention then she should address that head on with the people she is unhappy with, and just explain the situation, and stop taking it so personally. To hit a child for saying something true, to expect a 6 year old to lie, to be afraid of tallking about things, and to take it out on them by hitting them more is very bad.

So bad that it makes me wonder about this calm smack and hug (yuk) that you feel so sure about. If a parent can be that nasty to her child I wonder if the hitting isn't worse than you make out.

And if you can't be sure, I suggest you stop being all outraged on behalf of your friend and be a true friend and get her to see that schools and ss intervene to check, to see who needs help, and that she should be looking at herself before lashing out at the school - and her small boy.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 22:20:36

I'm not talking so much about being involved in the removal of children as having to live next door to the woman that I've helped remove children from (and that woman also being a lunatic who knows my son.)

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 22:27:02

When the children get taken away, and I think the children might well get taken away the OP is going to have to say convincingly that she had nothing to do with it. And the issue is going to keep coming up over and over again for years....

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 22:35:22

Carla, Climbie and Baby P are totally different. You need to be thinking Climbie and Kristy Bamu, (if it's Kindoki.)

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 22:38:00

I see your point learnandsay. OP is in a horrible situation. Or in denial about a horrible situation.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 22:45:14

Yes. But let's got get overly alarmed over this. We don't know if this is a Kindoki case. We don't know what kind of a case this is. I don't know how many people have been close to a woman who has had her children taken away, (I have) it's a mess. If what we are looking at is what I think it is then it's going to make what I've experienced look like a kid's tea party. If the OP has no experience of this kind of thing she's not going to want to get involved without specialist training.

On the other hand it might just be a loony lady saying odd things and hitting her child. From where I am I can't tell.

Carla123 Fri 30-Nov-12 23:19:52

To be honest I wasn't talking about Kindoki - I don't know much about it other than headlines. I'm not sure I could even assume the boy is at risk of serious physical harm. I am saying that the odd things this woman says to her son, the fact that she doesn't listen to him or talk to him, or give him breakfast, and smacks him for telling the truth are all emotional abuse. I mentioned the Baby P and Victoria Climbie cases as they involved communication failures. Both cases are used in Safeguarding training to highlight the fact that all parities with relevant information need to share it, even if SS have already established contact with the family. I can see your point that OP may need to convincingly tell her friend/neighbour she has had nothing to do with involving SS to avoid confrontation.

learnandsay Fri 30-Nov-12 23:27:10

That's all true. But an assessment of risks has to be made in favour of the child. Secondly an assessment of risks needs to be made in favour of the witnesses.

What is the risk? Other than odd statements by the parent and hitting the child, we don't know. A team of professionals needs to visit the situation (ASAP) and find out. I don't think the OP should have any part in it.

greenrabbits Mon 03-Dec-12 15:32:47

Can we just be clear here: nobody is responsibl"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom"

Excuse me? Let's just be clear here. The mother is responsible for the child "getting hit" because she is choosing to do so. Nobody else is "more responsible" and I do not know what planet you are on if you think otherwise.

I don't think the occasional smack is the end of the world, but I do think her reaction is all wrong here. The school have raised concerns over the methods of discipline she chooses to use and her response is to get angry with the child?

Your priorities suck, OP.e for

greenrabbits Mon 03-Dec-12 15:33:51

Sorry, messed up my post and can't work out how to edit!

squareheadcut Tue 11-Dec-12 17:12:43

once again you lot have gone crazy and i can't be bothered to post anymore as you all go way way over the top, i already said this is smacking - which is perfectly legal remember.

It seems the whole anti smacking lobby have come on here to preach their cr*p from a high and mighty position and go and run to social services from their safe warm houses and then give themselves a big pat on the back for it - well guess what - life ain't so simple for some who struggle to bring up their children and do the best they can in difficult cicrumstances most of you probably once again have no idea about.

How anyone can smack their kid is beyond me - would you go up to someone spitting in the street or someone who does something wrong at work and whack them one? No - because it is against the law, why do people think children shouldn't be afforded the same protection?

And she wouldn't smack her kid for telling someone that she was smacking him at home if she didn't know it was wrong.

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Dec-12 17:25:57

Oh please. Enough with the 'MN is full of rich people living in nice houses who don't know what the real world is like'

Pisses me off when people come on here and don't get the response they want so resort to that old bollocks.

A lot of MNers have a lot of crap to deal with.

See? CRAP.
Fucking irony of someone being coy about swearing whilst condoning an adult hitting a child for telling someone they are being hit.

insancerre Tue 11-Dec-12 17:29:21

From the NSPCC-
"NSPCC policy summary
Equal protection for children under the law on assault
– Hitting children is wrong and the law should say so"

"Children’s Rights
UK laws on physical punishment breach European and international human
rights instruments. Article 17 of the European Social Charter is interpreted
by the European Committee of Social Rights as requiring “the effective
prohibition of all corporal punishment and any form of degrading punishment
of children.” The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
(UNCRC) requires that:
• Article 19 States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative,
administrative, social and educational measures to
protect the child from all forms of physical or mental
violence, injury or abuse… while in the care of parent(s),
legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of
the child.
• Article 37 No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel,
inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
International human rights bodies are calling for the prohibition of all forms of
corporal punishment in all settings; by not giving children this protection the
UK Government is ignoring its obligation to uphold the rights of children, fails
to set a good example to its own citizens and arguably damages its reputation
and position of influence as a progressive nation within the international

full article here

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Tue 11-Dec-12 17:32:41

life ain't simple. Yeah. we're in our ivory towers.


I lost my business and then my home
I've been homeless with 2 children
my children both have autism, my eldest also has erbs palsy and my youngest has adhd
I am disabled
I was declared bankrupt when my business went under
my children were nearly taken into foster care when we were statutorily homeless

I don't hit them. EVER.

Stop making excuses.

There's never a reason why it's ok or understandable to wallop your child. ooh, I'm stressed. Big whoop.

Get a stress ball and stop taking out life's frustrations on children.

squareheadcut Tue 11-Dec-12 17:36:06

i only said it because that what it sounds like from some posters - i am happy to have a reasonable discussion and have taken a number of different views into account, but some have been overly forceful in their anti smacking views and have clouded the points i was hoping to discuss around how this school has handled this particular situation which i'm afraid to say has not been good and i have not been persuaded otherwise - some posters have done recognised my intentions for discussion and have tried to understand different points of view, others have not .

insancerre Tue 11-Dec-12 17:38:13

There is never any justification for hitting a child. If I can care for 24 pre-schoolers every day at work without having to use physical violence then surely one parent should be able to control one child?

squareheadcut Tue 11-Dec-12 17:40:10

well that's great for you, but not everyone is like you

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Tue 11-Dec-12 17:43:09

It's not hard.

Look at me, sitting here not hitting my children.

I went to the shops today and managed to not hit the shop assistant.

I collected my kids from school and totally missed hitting the TA

I went to the doctors on friday and managed to avoid hitting the doctor

Last week I went shopping twice and must have passed around 200 people and didn't hit any of them.

I just wander round day after day not hitting people.

teacherwith2kids Tue 11-Dec-12 17:50:43


HEC has it right. In exactly the same way as you somehow manage not to smack any of the people that you come into contact with day after day - in the shop, at work, at the park, in the street, in the supermarket - it is equally entirely possible not to smack your children.

You can choose to smack your children - which is not something that you can do about anyone else. However, you can absolutely choose not to, because you choose not to smack anyone else in your life, day after day after day, and it really isn't something you have to work too hard at, is it?

insancerre Tue 11-Dec-12 17:52:17

So it would be alright then if I couldn't cope and decided to smack your child, squareheadcut?
You wouldn't have a problem with that?

MrsDeVere Tue 11-Dec-12 18:14:49

I am not one of the 'anti smacking brigade' whatever that is.
But who the bloody hell is pro-smacking?

Of course the ideal is NOT to smack. If someone does, in desperation, I understand. If they feel crap afterwards and do their very best to not do it again. I get that.

What I do not get is the 'well the kid is going to get hit when he gets home and that is the school's fault' way of thinking.

Someone planning and waiting to hit a child and blaming that on someone else.

Then trying to make out that anyone who doesn't condone the above is only like that because they have an easy life.

That isn't looking for support. Its looking for affirmation.

And that isn't going to help your friend get away from SS.

BertieBotts Tue 11-Dec-12 22:09:27

Lots of people are pro smacking (I'm not) and smacking "as reasonable discipline" is legal in the UK so it's not helpful to talk about smacking (as reasonable discipline) being abuse - from the POV of the school they have to stick to the law, so if the law says that smacking isn't abuse, then the school can't decide that it suddenly is.

If the discipline of any form is unnecessarily harsh then that is abuse and is also covered in law and covers something a parent might like to call "smacking". But personal opinions about whether any smacking is unreasonable are unhelpful while the law is as it stands.

I don't think most people who consider themselves "pro-smacking" would consider it the school's fault that any child got hit in this situation, ever. This is not about smacking it is a case of unfair discipline. If she was to take his favourite toy off him for a week for talking to school that would also be unfair and potentially abusive if the child is often being punished when they have done nothing wrong.

wellcoveredsparerib Tue 11-Dec-12 22:29:10

Hear, hear Mrs De Vere.
Ooh I rhyme too!

cory Wed 12-Dec-12 08:53:14

Seems to me, there are two separate issues here. Whether you agree with smacking or not doesn't really bear on whether the school were reasonable to get involved.

Unless the little boy said "my mum gives me a light smack when I misbehave but it is well within the legal bounds of reasonable chastisement".

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