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We need your thoughts for BBC Breakfast...

54 replies

CatherineMumsnet · 09/04/2008 14:43

Hi all, the lovely Carrie has been called to the sofa on BBC Breakfast tomorrow morning to talk about this news article and we wanted to get your thoughts on smacking. Is it something you would never do or do you think this couple were treated unfairly?

OP posts:
cornsilk · 09/04/2008 14:55

So the worry is that a foster child might witness their birth child being smacked rather than they would smack a foster child?
I agree that a child in foster care shouldn't be exposed to smacking.

gomez · 09/04/2008 14:55

Children in care cannot be subject to physical punishment - that is illegal. If this couple believe such punishment is correct then from a risk management perspective, even if they gave assurances they wouldn't, the Council are obliged to think about this possible breach of law.

Also the UK is in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child for keeping the 'reasonable chastisment' offence and have been criticised for this as recently as 2006 - it also breaches a couple of other UN treaties which we have ratified.

The Council of Europe have also urged the UK to ban physical punishment of children. Seminal case from the European COurt of Human Rights (A v. UK 1998) did not outlaw physical punishment as such but recent comment from both the ECHR and the Committee of Ministers suggests a new case would be decided differently.

So think Council playing safe - and couple over reacting - don't think thousands of damaged children will in fact be denied a home. Also perhaps said damaged children would be better of not witnessing physical punishment of the couple's natural child either.

BetteNoir · 09/04/2008 14:56

CatherineMumsnet · 09/04/2008 14:57

Thanks cornsilk, I think the discussion point is definitely the impact of smacking, and whether it's something the majority of parents do anymore?

OP posts:
CatherineMumsnet · 09/04/2008 14:58

Brilliant BetteNoir - thanks so much (as ever you lot are way ahead of us!)

OP posts:
WideWebWitch · 09/04/2008 15:01

Hi, I've posted on the other thread but my view is:

  • No, they weren't treated unfairly. Smacking is against the law. Yes, there are 'rules' around not making a mark on the skin and so on but the fact remains that HITTING children is illegal on the whole. Quite rightly imo.

If they haven't found other ways of disciplining a 9 year old then I think they are spectacularly lacking in parenting skills and imagination.

Social services were right imo and I'm first in the "line em up and shoot em" queue when I think they've got it wrong
ArcticRoll · 09/04/2008 15:04

I think that Social Services made the right decision.

MadamePlatypus · 09/04/2008 15:09

I initially thought that they had just been honest with the council and had admitted to having smacked their daughter in the past in a stressed moment. However, it appears that they actually do think that you need to smack a 9 year old. I would agree with the council. This does not make them suitable people to care for a child who has presumably already had quite a few ups and downs in their life and may be in foster care because they have come from a violent home.

Very at DM: "[the council] says on its website that foster parents can be homosexual, disabled, on benefits, have a criminal record, be of any age, religion and gender, and be married or single" as though any of these things would in themselves make you a worse parent than somebody who smacks!!!!!

andiem · 09/04/2008 15:09

I think the right decision has been made
smacking is never justified as a form of discipline there are much better strategies available and I think a lot of christians would about the in line with their beliefs bit

winebeforepearls · 09/04/2008 16:01

I have smacked my children in the past in frustration, and instantly regretted it. I know it is a fault with my parenting, not with my children, and over time have worked out strategies to stop us ever getting close to that situation again.

If this couple think there's nothing wrong in including smacking in their parenting methods then I think the council have made the right decision.

theUrbanNixie · 09/04/2008 16:51

i think SS have made the right decision. s child who has been placed in care will have been extremely tramatised already - either by their past experiences or by the removal itself. a child is not going to be able to make the distinction between their foster sibling being smacked and the potential that they might be smacked one day.

i do not think it is appropriate that a child be placed in a foster home where smacking is deemed acceptable, regardless of whether the foster parents actually smack their own child or not.

beansprout · 09/04/2008 16:53

It is ok to be homosexual etc and not ok to hit children. Very simple really.

Really don't like the insinuation, "even gays can foster children, but good old fashioned smacking isn't ok - it's political correctness gone mad!" which is what this article is about.

beansmum · 09/04/2008 17:01

I just read the daily mail article...
"Their local council was so desperate for foster parents it said even single mothers and criminals would be considered."

and surely it is obvious that looked after children need to be protected from violence. If you can't agree not to smack than you can't foster. Simple. people are weird.

FluffyMummy123 · 09/04/2008 17:02

Message withdrawn

FluffyMummy123 · 09/04/2008 17:02

Message withdrawn

Freckle · 09/04/2008 17:09

I do think that, if you still feel the need to smack your child at age 9, then you have failed somewhere along the line.

I think the council was right as they have a duty of care to the child and that child should not be exposed to being smacked or seeing another child being smacked.

Bluebutterfly · 09/04/2008 17:21

I think that even the best parents can at times feel tempted to smack their children.

However to consider smacking to be a legitimate tool of discipline seems to be very outdated, especially when many foster children come from extremely challenging backgrounds and what they need most in a fostering environment is to feel safe.

Whatever your views on smacking, I think that it is fair to say that it is not a method that makes children feel safe and secure.

I don't believe in smacking. I believe that if the only way a person can control and educate their children is by resorting to smacking, even as a last resort, then they are lacking parenting skills that make such actions entirely avoidable. I was smacked as a child and although it did not necessarily do any lasting damage, I also don't think that it revealed any fantastic parenting ability on the part of my parents.

sophiewd · 09/04/2008 17:22

If you still have to discipline your 9 year old child with a smack then sorry but something is wrong

theUrbanNixie · 09/04/2008 17:26

Someone once told me that the only acceptable form of smacking was in temper (not put it very well but bear with me!). I do think that cold, calculated "Come here and I will smack you" is far worse than "AAAAAAARRRRRRGH i've lost control and don't know what to do now".

not that either is brilliant and i don't agree with smacking but i hope you see what i mean.

WideWebWitch · 09/04/2008 17:28

I don't think anyone thinks social services made the wrong decision do they? Not on this thread anyway.

theUrbanNixie · 09/04/2008 17:40

SS are far from perfect but in this instance, yes i think they made the right decision.

Bluebutterfly · 09/04/2008 18:33

Actually, the DM did state that
"They live in a four-bedroom semi-detached house in Taunton, Somerset".

On considering this unbelievably useful piece of evidence for their case, I think that they have been treated in a most shocking manner by the council... who cares about the odd slap here and there when you have a semi-detached house...

VictorianSqualor · 09/04/2008 18:38

Even the smallest show of aggression to a child who has had to go into care for whatever reason could have an humungous effect on them, whether it be at them or at other children in the home.

SS were right IMO.

edam · 09/04/2008 18:51

I'd don't think smacking is a good thing. Have done it once or twice but not something I want to do, or would defend to SS if I was fostering another child. And ridiculous of them to claim they would smack their own daughter and not the foster child.

How on earth would that work? Wouldn't it just distress the foster child, seeing someone else being hit? How could the child be sure they wouldn't be the next target? They might well be fostering children who are escaping violence or abuse. Some poor kid who has seen his mother beaten up by his father isn't going to be terribly reassured that they are 'only' hitting his foster sister...

Moomin · 09/04/2008 18:52

I've always thought I was ambivilent to the idea of smacking children ('as a last resort') until I realised that I have never smacked the dds and it would never even occur to me to do so, whatever the situation. So I guess I'm not ambivilent at all - I think it's wrong wrong wrong.

and SS are right.

(and the DM is nasty, narrow-minded and bigotted)

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