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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....

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".

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

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

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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?

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?

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.

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

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

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 17:36:06

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 .

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.

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadameCastafiore Tue 11-Dec-12 17:18:30

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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 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 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 22:35:22

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

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 22:20:36

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.)

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.

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