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Help me explain why smacking is not such a great idea

(49 Posts)
aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 12:48:48

ILs are firmly of the belief that 'strong-willed' children such as mine (3.4 & 14months) benefit from the occasional smack. I disagree, obviously. But I could really do with some convincing research to wave under their noses and put the argument to bed once and for all. Anyone know of any?

Can do a google search of course but just thought MN should be first port of call and would throw up some experts/people who had already had (and won) this argument.

Thanks ladies

Adair Tue 17-May-11 12:51:44

why don't you turn it back on them? you don't have to justify yourself.

'oh, I don't really understand why you WOULD smack. It's not necessary and I don't want to hurt my children. Why SHOULD I smack them?'

bosch Tue 17-May-11 12:54:14

Not evidence, but I've always found it easiest to say to my boys that there is never an excuse for hitting. As such, I can't hit them either. For me, it has stopped them hitting each other, or hitting other children.

If I do smack mine I always apologise afterwards and tell them that I shouldn't have done it. Reasons to smack have included that they were about to touch a hot plate (forgiveable) or that they were not listening to me and I wanted to get their attention (not so forgiveable but prob not technically a 'smack')

I have certainly never found the need to 'plan' a smack as a punishment. Talking/naughty step is enough for us - if child too young for either of those then they are certainly too young to understand why you are smacking them (eg your 14 month old)

theillustratedmum Tue 17-May-11 12:54:15

Plain and bloody simple. Smacking = Abusing. Smacking children = .Child abuse. You get further with patience and understanding than anything else, and if they can't see that then it's their own problem.
Play them an episode of Super Nanny! grin

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 12:55:41

Good point - I can't remember if I've done that before. I imagine they would say, a short sharp shock is more effective than trying to negotiate with a 1/2/3/4-year-old and it's the clearest way to show them that their behaviour is not acceptable. It's for their benefit, blah, blah discipline as part of showing love etc

But it's utterly mad IMO - can you imagine smacking a 14-month-old?! ("I'm just talking about a light tap" says MIL)

TobyLerone Tue 17-May-11 12:55:45

It sends the wrong messages -- ie "I'm bigger than you so it's ok for me to hurt you if you don't do what I want you to".

That's my main one.

I agree with Adair. They should have to justify smacking to you.

TheVisitor Tue 17-May-11 12:56:52

I would just say "They're my children and I shall parent them in my way"

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 12:57:00

x-posted with bosch and the illustrated - thanks for the input

Wolfgirl Tue 17-May-11 12:57:28

Adair for the briefest moment, I thought you were suggesting that the Op smacks the I-L's grin Mmmmm.... food for thought!

Adair Tue 17-May-11 12:58:20

Just say 'oh well, we don't believe in smacking, sorry and they're our kids' in a disinterested tone if it comes up.

theillustratedmum Tue 17-May-11 12:59:09

Yes.. Give the IL's a good old smack and see how they like it grin

Adair Tue 17-May-11 12:59:48

Now, now, we don't believe in smacking, people... grin

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 13:00:03

Toby - yes, nicely put.

I do know all this but for some reason when the subject comes up my mind always goes a bit blank (usually because I'm furious that it's come up again)

TheVisitor - yes, I could say that but have avoided being quite so direct and was trying not to escalate the conversation, MIL thinks these are very subtle pep talks and I don't want it to become a huge issue just want to quietly and firmly make it clear that I think it's not a goo idea.

theillustratedmum Tue 17-May-11 13:00:59

Oh, but we're just talking about a light tap.... wink

theillustratedmum Tue 17-May-11 13:01:04

Oh, but we're just talking about a light tap.... wink

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 13:05:47

Well next time the subject comes up I will maintain my composure and smile inwardly at the idea of doling out a 'light tap' to the ILs. Have to head off and do some work but thanks for the input everyone - will check in again later for more pearls of wisdom

fotheringhay Tue 17-May-11 13:05:55

Could you say you know people who've done it, and it hasn't worked to improve behaviour?

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 13:07:54

actually that's absolutely true.

But they would give me examples of how effective it has been with SIL's kids and with their own kids

QuackQuackBoing Tue 17-May-11 13:53:18

You say "really it's been effective? So you only needed to do it once or twice and then the children were as good as gold forever? How did the smack help the child understand that what they did wasn't acceptable?" etc

theillustratedmum Tue 17-May-11 13:57:11

It was probably only effective because it scared them in to behaving. Correct me if i'm wrong, but that is not only a horrible position to put your child in (who would want their children to be scared of them?) but can also lead to psychological insecurities/resentment towards parents etc.....

Hullygully Tue 17-May-11 14:01:23

Tell them you wish to lead by example. If you smack, you are showing them it's ok to smack. Monkey see, monkey do.

Tell them it's bullying, big hits smaller.

Tell them it's ineffective, it creates fear, not understanding and a consequent desire to change behaviour.

Tell them a "strong will" is a nonsense. It means confident, happy kids who presumably haven't been cowed by hitting.

If all that fails, bash them over the head and see how they like it.

LooloosMummy Tue 17-May-11 14:14:07

both my Dsis and SIL condone smacking for every little thing and both their boys find it acceptable to hit/ smack/ bite/ pinch other children and won't be told not to.

Newbabynewmum Tue 17-May-11 14:49:46

Tell them you have more intelligent ways of handling your childrens behaviour

aliceinlalaland Tue 17-May-11 20:00:05

illustratedmum - actually I don't think it was that effective, I think SIL's kid was just quite a hyper toddler and then got a bit older.

grin @ hullygully - the 'strong-willed' thing really gets my goat

Thanks, all - feel I have a bit more ammunition now…

squishysquashy Tue 17-May-11 23:03:55

There's some research quoted in the nurture shock book. If I remember right children getting smacked are worse behaved (more aggressive) in cultures where smacking is not seen as a normal form of chastisement . This doesn't hold true in cultures where it is accepted - this may explain why it worked for an older generation / parents with different beliefs than you but it would not work for you. Look up researcher name dodge.

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