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Is smacking always bad?

(218 Posts)
Muon Thu 29-Oct-09 06:03:02

I have two boys, both very young, and have been to playgroups where older children often behave quite violently towards other children. These children seem to have no idea of the hurt they are causing.
If a child is smacked (once they've been told it's going to happen if they don't change their behaviour and obviously not hard enough to cause a bruise) then they get the idea that physical pain is a punishment. If they don't know what it feels like how do they know what they are doing to other people? It seems to come naturally to children to try hitting as a way of expressing frustration at an age when they're not capable of verbal reasoning, so an adult giving them a smack to control their behaviour at that age wouldn't seem unreasonable.
I believe that most children start out basically nice and, when they get to the stage where they understand other people have feelings too, they won't want to inflict something they see as a punishment without due cause.
I know this message is very nonPC but I also know some people agree, although to actually smack a child in public runs the high risk of abuse from other people. Can the choice to smack or not be accepted as a parenting choice without interference from other people?

seeker Thu 29-Oct-09 06:54:36

Yes, smacking is always bad. Always. It happens, and I don't think that if it does it is automatically damaging to the child if it doesn't happen often and is talked about. But it either means that a parent or carer has lost their temper and lashed out (often understandable but never a good thing) OR has made a calm rational decision to hit someone small and vulnerable (NEVER an understandable or a good thing).

<seeker makes small private bet with herself about how long it will be before someone talks about children running into the road or playing with electric sockets. The children of smackers are ALWAYS running out into roads and playing with electirc sockets!>

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Oct-09 07:03:46

Yes, smacking is always, always bad. It doesn't teach children what you say at all. It teaches them than when someone does something you don't like, you hit them sad.

It is disrespectful and completely and utterly unneccessary.

But there are other ways of parenting that are highly damaging too - some far more damaging than smacking - so I don't interfere unless I'm asked directly or unless it's clearly intentionally abusive smacking.

And I agree with seeker - as with everything, if a situation is resolved honestly and completely, then it is less damaging than if it isn't. Smacking should always, always be apologised for in an honest and open-minded way.

What is your agenda with this post, OP? It almost sounds like an advert for smacking! Or are you just trying to make yourself feel better about choosing to smack?

TheBlairSnitchProject Thu 29-Oct-09 07:25:48

Yes, smacking is always bad. What does it teach apart from 'It's OK for me to hit but not for you to do it' - how confusing is that!?!

Children who have gotten to the smacking stage are too young to have developed empathy so all they will think is "you hurt me" rather than "ooh, that's how it must feel" anyway.

You may just teach them that it's OK to only hit people smaller than themselves and that's going to cause a lot of upset when they thump a baby!!

PoisonToadstool Thu 29-Oct-09 07:32:22

What what what what what

"It seems to come naturally to children to try hitting as a way of expressing frustration at an age when they're not capable of verbal reasoning, so an adult giving them a smack to control their behaviour at that age wouldn't seem unreasonable."

What kind of logic is that?

Yes, children express themselves physically. But adults should have learnt more constructive ways of expressing themselves and not need to resort to a smack - how can you teach your children to express themselves differently if you don't?

Why should smacking be seen as a choice? It's not very civilised, why should society respect it?

PoisonToadstool Thu 29-Oct-09 07:33:56

Smacking is humiliating and demeaning, it teaches nothing.

PoisonToadstool Thu 29-Oct-09 07:34:33

And cruel - why oh why would you want to hurt your own child?

I feel sick at the idea of harming my DS. Isn't that how it should be?

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Oct-09 07:37:54

Ok, I don't like troll-hunting, but I think this might be one. Search isn't working properly, but it is showing that she's only done two posts!

piscesmoon Thu 29-Oct-09 07:47:27

It teaches them that if you are bigger and stronger you can inflict hurt and get your own way. Not a message I wish to give!

Tee2072 Thu 29-Oct-09 07:51:41

Oh yes, because the way to teach someone something is wrong is to do it to them. hmm

cory Thu 29-Oct-09 07:55:32

To me, it shows that the adults are basically babies, with no real ability to handle things in anything other than the most primitive, childish fashion: a dodgy message to send to the children they are in charge of.

I respected my parents so much because their behaviour always reminded me that they were adults, people in charge, people who didn't need to do silly things like I did, because you had to obey them anyway. Something to aspire to. I looked forward to
reaching that position of authority: I'm not going to give it up now that I finally have.

PavlovtheWitchesCat Thu 29-Oct-09 07:55:40

seeker sums it up quite nicely imo. It is either done in anger - bad, or it is planned - bad.

Never, ever, acceptable imo.

bloss Thu 29-Oct-09 08:06:32

Message withdrawn

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Oct-09 08:07:58

How should it be used properly, then, Bloss?

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Oct-09 08:10:06

To teach your children that size = power?

To teach them that to get someone to do what they want they use violence?

To teach them that you, as their parent, think that they are so unimportant that you are happy to physically hurt them to get them to obey you?

That their parent can't control his or herself?

Sorry...can't think of any circumstance when smacking is not bad unless you want your children to learn any of the above.

PoisonToadstool Thu 29-Oct-09 08:23:34

Wow bloss how insightful. What a contribution!

Rycie Thu 29-Oct-09 08:26:23

If an adult hit you in a disagreement or to express disapproval you would call the police.

Why then would this behaviour be considered acceptable towards a child - because they're smaller than you?

People are not for hitting and children are people too.

ChickandDuck Thu 29-Oct-09 08:40:03

IMO smacking is NEVER acceptable. This is actually an ongoing issue with me and DP, he thinks that in some circumstances it is acceptable and the issue is almost pushing us to breaking point.

FlamingoBingo - why does the fact the OP has only posted twice mean they're possibly a troll?

mamadiva Thu 29-Oct-09 08:53:27

I admit to having smacked my son in the house if he is really winding me up but I mean the kind of tap on the hand thing I would never hurt him IYKWIM.

When I was growing up I think I was smacked once (a proper stingy smack though) because I had been swearing and stole from a shop a few times (I was 8 and my best friend at the time was not the best of famillies to speak to in our area), I never stole again or swore as a child!

DP however was brought up to believe that rather than try to communicate discipline to automatically hit/mimic child which he now does with my DS and I hate it!

For example yesterday DS (3.6YO) wanted to play with him when he came in from work but DP was covered in mud so he wanted to jump in the shower, DS was jumping on DP when he sat down for 2 minutes and he asked him to stop, he did'nt so DP lay DS on the couch and pretended to sit on him until DS actually thought he was going to be pinned down angry cue huge screaming match and DS telling me he was scared of Daddy

I do not see how this is acceptable at all but it is an issue that will never be resolved between us I imagine.

ChickandDuck Thu 29-Oct-09 09:05:15

mamadiva - sounds exactly like my DP! Exactly the same, and DS1 is exactly the same age! Except my DP would actually sit on him hmm. Really is a massive problem for us at the moment. I hate it - DS1 will be wanting his attention when he's watching football/on the laptop, is ignorned, will do something 'naughty' (IMO to get his attention) and then DP blows up at him makes me so angry

ChickandDuck Thu 29-Oct-09 09:08:59

Sorry - went a bit of subject then. I think I'm trying to say that DP doesn't take the time to understand DS's behaviour and act on it accordingly (as in give him some attention int he first place) and so it blows up into a completly unnecessary situation which could end up in smacking.

IMO smacking (like someone else has said) just displays a complete lack of control and understanding.

hugmeandcatchthelurgi Thu 29-Oct-09 09:12:55

I have smacked my kids on the hand for danger on occasions, I dont think its terrible, not my first choice but it worked for the shock factor when they are about to do something dangerous.

I think hitting in general is a loss of control whatever age you are.

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Oct-09 09:16:30

Sorry, chickandduck, and the OP if you're not a troll, it's just that she posts a post designed to produce outrage, and then buggers off and doesn't post again, and it's one of her two first posts on the site.

I'm probably wrong - it's just wierd she hasn't been back to join in the debate.

mamadiva Thu 29-Oct-09 09:22:30

You sure we don't have the same DP chick? Again with the ignoring thing excpet DP is in favour of the XBOX 360!

I actually think if this is a troll then it has majorly back fired because it is a discussion which does need to be had IMO, glad we can all be adult about rather than the anti smacking/pro smacking angry mob

bloss Thu 29-Oct-09 09:24:57

Message withdrawn

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