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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?

Leithlurker Tue 12-Feb-13 16:16:13

Your all lovely people but some of you more than others!

And thats the last word

TravelinColour Tue 12-Feb-13 16:03:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

camaleon Tue 12-Feb-13 15:35:31

Not sure I am getting your message Bonsoir (but that would be very consistent with your argument regarding my 'little understnading' capacity)

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 15:17:07

Apparently Xenia-the absolute gem of this thread is a study that shows that smacked children do better academically!! (it is quite a long way back)

Xenia Tue 12-Feb-13 15:06:59

No doubt it hurts a wife to suffer adultery or her husband shout at her more than a slap but we do not use that argument to suggest wives should be allowed to be slapped. Even more so is it in appropriate for small children. The smackers will always lose. Violence never pays.

The smackers tend to have the lower IQ and income and class in the UK so of course they are also the shouters and sometimes the abusers too and tend not to be much good as parents.

StoicButStressed Tue 12-Feb-13 14:56:55

Larry By 'lifted', I meant as in a verbatim way (brain v v tired at mo due to reasons I am on another thread regardingsad).

Other thing re books is no one can say they don't have access to them. Most areas still have accessible libraries (although sinfully many have been shutangry, ditto libraries in schools. Other way DS3 (11) and I get some of his 'new' books together is we go to Saturday morning kids cinema (£2.50 for child, adult freegrin) and then we pootle through the 4 charity shops in small town the cinema is in. He will sit for AGGGEEEESSSSS with his budget (anywhere between £2 up to £5 if he has brought his 'own' money as well), create long-list of what he wants, then shortlist, then chooses & pays. The variety of life skills within that are way more than 'just' the books' and he is also royally fussed over by the staff there too. Think we are lucky in that the town I'm referencing is pretty upmarket, so the charity shop does have really ace stuff in, but I'm pretty sure most DPs would be able access something similar? All I know is it's great for DS3, we have great time together, he gets new books, helps other life skills, and all for cost of less than one brand new paperbacksmile.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Feb-13 14:56:41

"However I do not believe for a second that someone who smacks does not use other aggressive methods too, including loud shouting, humiliating words, etc. It would be like making me believe that a heroin addict has never touched a joint."

I think that you have very little understanding of how different people show others, in ways that are meaningful to both/all parties, that their boundaries have been crossed.

camaleon Tue 12-Feb-13 14:20:36

Larry you have a valid question. YOu do not know what hurts more. YOu gave us the example of allowing your child to choose between smacking and anotehr punishment.
I am sure that if you allowed others to choose they would also go for the corporal punishment (for instance criminals). It has been decided that it is wrong to use corporal punishment for adults. The only case where it is legal (in the UK) is at home and when the victim is a child.
As a matter of principle I disagree with using physical force against anybody. Much less against someone who stands no chance since they are physically much weaker than grown-ups.

I do not see as an option and I am aware that other forms of violence and 'discipline' can be as bad. However I do not believe for a second that someone who smacks does not use other aggressive methods too, including loud shouting, humiliating words, etc. It would be like making me believe that a heroin addict has never touched a joint.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 10:31:43

I don't smack though-(or only on the odd occasion, that I am ashamed of, when stressed, and I apologised later).

larrygrylls Tue 12-Feb-13 10:25:58


I agree with you, which is why you were specifically excluded from the question.

I don't think, with the exception of a few very bad parents, who are unlikely to be joining this debate, that punishments or negative consequences are any parent's preferred parenting strategy in the first resort. We all try modelling behaviour, praise, repetition, routine etc etc. Some of us will also add some forms of punishment. My question was to those who did add some form of consequence/punishment.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Feb-13 10:17:26

You don't have to use the naughty step or time out-we don't all copy supernanny! (she needed to be a bit extreme because she was dealing with children already beyond their parents control.)
I really don't understand physical punishment v emotional humiliation -as if there is nothing else.

Xenia Tue 12-Feb-13 10:15:46

The law matters.

larrygrylls Tue 12-Feb-13 09:52:02

My question to all the non smackers who nonetheless do believe in discipline is this: how do you know the naughty step or a time out hurts less than a smack?

I know for a fact that my son chose a smack, which he knew would hurt a little, over no chocolate for a day.

I know, again for a fact, that I really did not hate getting smacked as a child. I did, however, really resent and detest any delayed punishment and especially any which involved ostracism, like being sent alone to my room. And today, I would always take physical pain over emotional humiliation every time, no contest (unless we are talking unbearable agony, which is not being discussed here).

Everyone is different, I realise that, but for people to assume they are being kinder by not smacking is just that, an assumption.

Whether to use discipline at all is a separate argument and I respect those who manage without (assuming their children are not just entitled brats). However, to use time outs, naughty steps etc and condemn smacking out of hand is just unthinking.

larrygrylls Tue 12-Feb-13 09:43:42


You keep wittering on about the law. If anyone had been interested in engaging with that particular angle, they would have replied the first four times you mentioned it.

I think you will find that there are far more "smackers" than you think. There are two kinds: those who have not thought at all and smack out of laziness, and thoughtful parents who have considered all the alternative "consequences" and their own children's individual psychologies, and have decided that for a particular child a quick smack is more effective and less painful (including emotional pain) than any of the alternatives.

Bonsoir Tue 12-Feb-13 09:20:50

"Most of us are clever enough to manage out children without causing them pain to achieve compliance."

I would question why any parent would congratulate themselves about "managing children to achieve compliance". That sounds like manipulation and emotional control to me.

Xenia Tue 12-Feb-13 09:16:52

The smackers are on a hiding to nothing (excuse pun....) and very few still exist as it is so hard for them to justify their position that causing pain to a child is a great way to make them behave. It is almost laughable to suggest it has any place in life in 2013.

Most smacks already break English law as the thread has shown as it is hard to do one which does not. Therefore I hope most children and parents who see others doing it report it and we can stamp it out entirely. That day is coming and most of us are very glad that that is so.

Most of us are clever enough to manage out children without causing them pain to achieve compliance.

larrygrylls Tue 12-Feb-13 09:07:27


Your whole post above is so controlling. No wonder your children were shy. Every event controlled, pre-discussed, every behaviour anticipated and the consequences outlined in advance. I am surprised that you did not have a spreadsheet of safety requirements that you completed before every outing with your children. No wonder they were shy!

There are many models of bringing up children but if children are never ever naughty, it suggests to me that they are fearful of something. Of course a parents' smile is a huge incentive for any child but your "no means no", every consequence predictable, withdrawal of affection model is not my idea of what a parent should be. Of course there needs to be consistency on one level but, on another level, occasionally we need to overlook misdemeanours and not be 100% predictable. One thing that seems to be accepted on this thread is that parenting should be modelling behaviour. The world has random elements and so should parents, enough consistency for reassurance, enough randomness to present a challenge. I think that a child realising that a parent is in a good mood and it is a good time to push their luck or reading that their parent is in a bad mood and realising it and modifying their behaviour accordingly is not a bad thing.

What comes across from all your posts is that you regard the world as a fearful place and teach your children accordingly and also that you regard parenting as a pseudo-profession. For example, I teach my children always to answer adults politely and engage with them. We have taught them never to go off with a stranger (although, at the moment, they are never really on their own anyway). I will never teach them that adults are per se dangerous, though. There will be plenty of time to nuance the message as they get older to protect them, whilst they still remain excited and enthused about meeting new people of all ages.

It amazes me that someone who thinks as much about language as you do cannot see that what you write comes across as incredibly controlling. Of course, I don't really know you or your family and vice versa. Maybe you are a wonderful mother and your children are just naturally compliant. Whenever I see spookily compliant children who never push boundaries, though, I always think that fear lies behind it.

mathanxiety Tue 12-Feb-13 08:25:50

Parent as punisher and state as punisher seems to be the only paradigm you entertain.

mathanxiety Tue 12-Feb-13 08:24:55

The Swedes are getting laws and guidelines mixed up. The law is an ass if there is no intention to ever use it. Or, in extreme cases, special interest groups use this kind of law to further their own agendas.

The law and the educational approach are very nicely dovetailed, and were planned that way. The positive results have been as anticipated. The statute books can have an educational purpose.
You have no time for the 'parent as teacher' model and apparently no time for the state as teacher either.

I am intrigued by 'special interest groups'..

mathanxiety Tue 12-Feb-13 08:03:42

As for my "paradigms" involving force, your ideas always involve hypocrisy. You never answer my question as to how you made your children sit down at mealtimes, go to bed at certain times, not be rude to other people etc etc. Did you use some form of coercion and, if not, how did you incentivise them? I know that you parent in the same way as a teacher teaches and not like a normal parent but I struggle to believe that your children were always model pupils.

I didn't 'make' my children sit down at mealtimes. I served meals at either the kitchen table (breakfast and lunch) or dining room table (dinner). The DCs always 'helped' with some meal preparation or setting the table for all meals except weekday breakfast. When they had eaten what they thought was enough they could ask to be excused and would bring their plate and cutlery to the sink. I often asked them if they were sure they were full, and if there was a chance they might like to have a bite later they could leave their plate on the kitchen table and return to it. Once they left the table they had to go and amuse themselves peacefully in another room and not bother anyone for dessert or games or help with anything or banging on the piano, etc., until those left eating had finished. They often returned to the kitchen to have a few more bites. Meals always included napkins on laps and other elements of decorum. I often lit candles.

Bedtime was roughly 9 pm for all children including toddlers and babies. After dinner and clearing up (with 'help') we generally had time together as a family for chatting or watching something on the dvd player or reading, colouring, whatever. Between 8.30 and 9 everyone had teeth brushed, pjs on, clothes put away, bags checked for school for the morning for those going out to school, location of shoes, hats, jackets, gloves checked.

Rudeness -- I always said please, thank you, excuse me, sorry, and hoped they would catch on just as they learned to recite 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' or 'Do Not Wubba Me or I Will Wubba You', etc., and that is the way it happened. ExH used to growl at everyone in the family to 'Get out of my way' when in a bad mood and unfortunately I had to explain that speaking to others like that was not the way to conduct themselves. I normally pointed out examples of acceptable behaviour by others when we were out and especially caught them being good when out or at home.

We had a pep talk before hitting our destination where I outlined the sort of behaviour I expected, in terms of 'We are going to be X, or do Y at the park/pool/restaurant/church/museum/shops' and not 'Don't X or Y when we're at the shops/park/pool/restaurant/church/museum'. I always told them that a No from me to a request for stuff in a shop or elsewhere meant No, and that no amount of asking would make me change my mind, and I never, ever changed my mind. I never said Maybe. It was always either Yes or No. They learned what No meant. I have left supermarkets and abandoned a trolleyload of shopping to illustrate what I meant when I said 'We will leave the shop and return when you are able to be civil'. Shopping became a sort of reward or privilege for acceptable behaviour. I never waited until I had bare shelves or was down to the last two babywipes so I always had the option of walking out. When we went out to eat I chose restaurants on the basis of quick service from sitting to eating and we had a talk in the car about staying in seats in restaurants, usually accompanied by shaking hands and striking a deal. Until they were pretty well trained in restaurant behaviour we ate out no later than 5.30ish before restaurants got full. Church had a cry room and RC churches tend to have a high tolerance level for general child-generated hubbub if you didn't want to pick up every germ in a ten mile radius and stayed in your seat. They got used to being quiet for an hour and ten mins every Sunday. We sat where they could see what was happening, altar, pulpit, etc..

The DCs were all on the shy side and loud rudeness wasn't an issue ever. They were always reluctant to speak to people they didn't know and I didn't mind them refusing to engage in conversation with random adults who approached them to chat when we were out shopping; they were encouraged not to talk to strangers so making them talk to strangers would have been a mixed massage. As they grew older they began to get over themselves a bit and got good at polite conversation while at the same time being sensible about situations. It took some longer than others. I was willing to reason with them and would accept a No from them if they could provide a good reason not to do something or promise not to complain if it turned out they were mistaken about how cold or hot or wet it was and they had insisted on choosing unsuitable clothes or footwear. Generally when it came to clothes or shoes I allowed them to choose between two options that were both perfectly ok for the weather. I am not a mum who bothers about children wearing striped shirts with floral skirts, etc.

Incentive? -- my beatific smile. I got a lot of mileage out of catching them being good. Made a lot of cheesy remarks about how nice their rooms looked or how tidy the sitting room was, how great it was that they had asked audibly for their own order when we were out to eat, etc.
As they grew older and started to become citizens of their little world they adopted the behaviour that was acceptable there. They have continued to spread their wings to the point they are at now. Never had any trouble with them as teens. No detentions, no suspensions, no issues with lack of engagement with the family or rejection of values. I had a no questions asked policy if they ever phoned and asked me to come and take them and their friends home from a party. Better safe than too embarrassed to call.

They all worked hard in school and I allowed them to spend as much time with friends as they liked as long as their work output didn't suffer. Too many late Sunday nights trying to finish homework after Friday and Saturday with friends and we would have a chat about managing time sensibly. They are all nerds and all took the thought of not doing well in school seriously. If they wanted to wear makeup, shave their legs, pluck eyebrows, get ears pierced, they could. Hand on heart, they have never been in any sort of trouble in school. They all worked, made nice friends, played sports, participated in clubs, entered competitions. Sports in particular provided a fantastic chance for them to learn from a young age that trying is what counts.

They had babysitting (DDs) and odd jobs (DS) from about age 12/13 on and all in turn found summer office jobs for themselves when they could legally work. They bought most of their own clothes (no questions asked by me, or eyebrows raised) from their earnings and learned to look first in the sale or final clearance section. No whining from any of them ever about stuff they expected me to buy them. They knew how much or how little their money got them when they went out shopping, how long it took to earn it, how many bottoms they had to wipe to get their savings. From the earliest age we chatted about what they would like to be when they were grown ups and no matter what they said I told them the way to get there was to always listen carefully to their teachers. I never praise for school results but I always praise for daily effort and for good organisation and work habits/willingness to get homework done, ability to plan projects and study thoroughly and in good time for tests. When they were older teens and results really meant something I did praise, but for younger children it's effort and habits that count.

They had chores and were expected to help from the earliest ages (2-3), and expected to accomplish most of their own self care by 5 (dressing, washing, shoelace tying, teeth, etc). It would have been a lot quicker, less messy, etc., for me to just do it myself and I might also have got more sleep over the years. But that teaches no-one anything (and parents are teachers above everything else, teachers of values and teachers of practical lessons on how to live your life).

Solopower1 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:32:02

I couldn't stand shopping with my youngest child (for all the reasons described above), and was lucky enough to be able to leave him at home until he was 4 or 5. He didn't develop a phobia, needless to say.

They don't have to do everything at once, children. And you do have to pick your battles. I decided not to even bother taking him shopping until he was old enough to be reasonable.

So pick your battles, is what I wanted to say. And don't fight on more than one front at a time.

larrygrylls Mon 11-Feb-13 15:32:27


I don't think any decent parent would think any form of discipline would be the solution to what happened to your daughter. With my children, I always explain how to pay and get them involved in the shopping. They love giving things to the check out lady to scan, helping to pay and taking the change.

However, once they know the score, throw another sibling into the mix who is trying to run off and assume the shopping has to get done, and then you have an entirely different scenario (and one which I have had many times). Then a threat of a smack works wonders, combined with a repeat of an explanation about what happens if they run off. I would never actually smack for that but the fact that I have occasionally smacked for other things (which I have explained copiously above) means I do get listened to.

I really don't like avoiding normal situations, unless they are acually dangerous. Children need to adapt to live in the world. Very few are "lucky" enough to be able to avoid situations and clearly, as a species, our children are perfectly capable of adaptation and learning. Avoiding situations risks creating long term phobias and also teaching the lesson that melting down means they get to not do something that they find boring.

ICBINEG Mon 11-Feb-13 14:47:16

My DD had a full blown tantrum in a shop yesterday, because she wanted a ball (and indeed we had told her to choose something and she chose the ball), but she did not want to give it up long enough to be scanned.

It is totally clear that she didn't understand what was happening and my own and my DH's sense of what is normal shop behaviour was forcing her into something too quickly for her to understand. So she freaked out.

I don't really understand how smacking her at this point would help? It doesn't seem likely to me she would understand what had happened or why, or that it would make it any less likely that she would behave the same way the next time this occurs.

Our approach is to avoid the situation arising again until she is old enough to understand what is going on and not be upset by it. To explain to her in advance what is going to happen, and if she still doesn't get it then find another item to scan and switch them.

The world is a scary, complicated place, and adding your parents hurting you into the mix seems unlikely to help.

larrygrylls Mon 11-Feb-13 14:19:08


What a fantastic library! We read every night to both our children, for about 20 minutes each. In addition, they have random stories throughout the day. However, our own books take up 90% of the bookshelves so the children's books are still a bit randomly displayed.

I also took both of mine to the Science museum on Saturday morning. I was just amazed at the quality of the resources for small children compared to when I was that age. The only thing I am a bit sceptical about (for an older age than mine and comes from accompanying friend with older children) is the substitution of pressing noisy buttons with engaging quietly and thoughtfully with slightly more "boring" exhibits.

My mother went into schools to read to children and really enjoyed it. She is not really well enough now, unfortunately.

(I don't think I "lifted" my quote from Freakonomics, I think I quoted it with full accreditation).

StoicButStressed Mon 11-Feb-13 12:00:34

Larry - whilst we disagree on smacking, am in UTTER agreement with you re one thing that does seem to be a distinguishing factor (IMVHO and observations) in best outcomes for a child in the very 'rounded' sense. IE not 'obedient/terrified' robots but academically, pastorally, psychologically. Even if the 'stats' don't support it, agree with your point lifted from Freakonomics (have put pic up of DS's books as each of them always, always, ALWAYS has at least one book on 'the go').

Both as a parent who went in to DS's infant school to read with other children, and as an ex Governor of senior state school, the ability to read/have access to books was remarkably correlated to both behaviour and speech, as well as to those kids not immersed in books/not loving reading and stories as a very 'natural/standard' thing seeming a bit more 'heavy-hearted' (apols, can't find a better word for it) than their otherwise equal peers. I recall especially sadly the number of DCs in the infant school who made it clear they weren't read to at night, and who said they wished they weresad.

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