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Would you ban smacking? Take our two-question-takes-less-than-10-seconds poll (and be entered into this week's comp)

263 replies

carriemumsnet · 07/10/2008 18:40

Tomorrow Parliament will debate whether to outlaw smacking completely. The current law allows parents (and some carers) to discipline children using "reasonable punishment" but outlaws punishment that leaves physical marks or causes mental harm. The last attempt to impose a full ban on smacking was defeated in 2004 .

We've put together a quick (and we mean quick) two question poll to see what Mumsnetters think about this and will hopefully be able to make your views known to the world first thing tomorrow.

For more info on the story click here

Everyone who takes part in the poll will be entered into this week's competitions to win one of 3 sets of Walker picture books worth £100 each, a week's luxury ski accommodation in France or one of 4 Fisher-Price doll and stroller sets. For more info on comp prizes click here

And just in case you need the poll link again it's here

Once you've done the poll please add your views on the subject here (as if mumsnetters need any encouragement to make their views known ).



OP posts:
littlelapin · 07/10/2008 18:41

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorkyButNice · 07/10/2008 18:48

Skiing here too please

PuzzleRocks · 07/10/2008 18:52

So is the plan to criminalise ordinary decent parents who use a tap on the bottom as a last resort for a toddler behaving dangerously? Because it damn sure won't make any difference to parents who are abusive to their children.
Is it really enforceable?

PuzzleRocks · 07/10/2008 18:52

Oh, and books please

RubberDuck · 07/10/2008 18:54

I have mixed feelings about this. I have smacked my eldest (absolute last resort) a couple of times. Don't think I've ever smacked my youngest. I do think, in general, that smacking is an ineffectual punishment and often overused. I intensely dislike seeing other people smacking their children.

However, I feel uncomfortable criminalising someone who smacks their child once (whether out of desperation, due to lack of other support or as a considered method of punishment). I feel uncomfortable ruling it out as a method of last resort (say, in a situation of danger - hand reaching for something hot or an electrical point - it's almost instinctive to swat the hand away).

And what about other abusive behaviours towards children. Will shouting aggressively right in their face be banned, for example? Swearing and continually demeaning your child?

I think I'd like to see existing laws being policed more effectively first, on the whole.

moodlumthehoodlum · 07/10/2008 19:07

Skiing please!!

And.. I have nearly smacked a few times, but never have. I think its hard to say "don't hit", and then do it yourself. But completely agree with Rubberduck when saying that you can't criminalise people for a one or twice loss of cool when bringing up children is so damn hard sometimes.

loler · 07/10/2008 19:20

I think smacking doesn't work - children are mirrors and if they are smacked they are likely to go and smack. Smacking is normally a lack of control in a parent. If you count to 10 before hitting out it probably wouldn't happen.

The above is my personal opinion learnt from my very very headstrong, frustrating and difficult ds1. After I've smacked him I just feel like a bully!

In an ideal world smacking would be banned but in an ideal world I would always be calm and in a position to negoiate (sp!) with my DC!

andiem · 07/10/2008 19:24

I am opposed to smacking have never smacked my children and think that it is not a good parenting technique
a ban is unenforcable as it couldn't be policed much better using our energies in helping people to develop other strategies for those challenging moments

crispyduck · 07/10/2008 19:24

I am sitting on the fence on this one....if the smacking is to be outlawed then in my case where I have a 14 year old dd who repeatlety hits me...should she be charged with assault[hmmm]

expatinscotland · 07/10/2008 19:27

i'm getting sick of all this banning left and right.

yet why isn't there an outright ban on drinking and driving?

ban smacking, ban smoking, ban 3 or more teens hanging out, ban non-fruit snacks in schools, ban their bringing in hot food, ban sales of XYZ.

doesn't it make you feel pretty stupid? like you're not bright enough to decide your own behaviour?

it's a stupid and short-sighted way of dealing with undesirable behaviour.

Dottoressa · 07/10/2008 19:44

Expat - you said it for me!

southeastastra · 07/10/2008 19:44

expat is right and who could police it anyway

ThatsNotMyFanjo · 07/10/2008 19:55

The polioce wouldn;'t attempt to call it. Why I do support it is that it sends a very stark message to those who beat their kids. That the next time I, or someone else, sees them whacking a baby in the street, or their neighbours hear what's going on through the walls, that what is occuring is inambiguoulsy illegal and that the police should be called.

No parent will be criminalised for tapping their child when they have run out of options. But is might get them thinking of looking for better strategies instead of relying on smaking.

For these reasons, I am in favour of a smaking ban.


BloodshotEyeballsintheScarySky · 07/10/2008 19:55

Survey completed, prizes please Not fussy but a bit scared of skiing...

No I don't think there should be an outright ban. Not enforceable for a start and yet another part of parenting, albeit not a great one, that we would hand over to someone else.

ThatsNotMyFanjo · 07/10/2008 19:57

unabiguoulsy sorry

you know what I mean

ladytophamhatt · 07/10/2008 20:07

I'be tried to give my POV on thsi but everything I type makes me sound like a evil child beating harrigan.

Its not something that happens often in our house. very rarely infact but if it does its because of extreme circumstances that have spiralled out of control or persistant dangerous "naughtiness"

teasleepfood · 07/10/2008 20:10

Mmmm Skiing goooood!
Now for the rant - I can't see that banning smacking can ever work apart from to make paranoid parents even feel even more desparate - what constitutes a 'smack'? The people who use smacking with little regard for the action or the effect on the child need more help on parenting skills than criminilisation. How this help will happen, who knows? The state try to 'help' in many frustrating and ineffective ways and I don't have an answer. Given the social problems that underly the more extreme cases, I don't think a ban will make a jot of difference to those that need it most.
Rant over.
Swooooosh... splat! (It's been a long time!)

artichokes · 07/10/2008 20:13

I would never smack my child but I do not support an outright ban. I think the law as it stands is about right - it outlaws excessive force but leaves some discretion for parents and is probably enforcable.

I am against a total ban as:

  • it would be hard to enforce.
  • such a ban would have little impact on the behaviour of real abusers. They are flouting the law already and would continue to do so.
  • a light smack that leaves no mark is not that bad, its not great parenting but its not the worst. There are forms of verbal abuse that are worse. You cannot legislate for a perfect world.
  • parental training, support and early intervention are likely to be more effective.
SoloTheCharmedOne · 07/10/2008 20:14

ooks or toys for my babies please. I have on occasion smacked my Ds, but find it does nothing but shock him for a minute then make him angry.
Dd, I've tapped a few times out of fear for her safety.
I am not for totally banning it. As was said before; the abusers won't be stopped with a ban anyway.

spicemonster · 07/10/2008 20:15

I'd outlaw it yes. There was quite a lot of physical punishment in my house growing up and I suspect my parents would have thought twice (being law-abiding citizens) if they thought they were breaking the law.

If it's illegal to hit another adult then it should be illegal to hit a child. Everyone is up in arms if someone's partner on here lays a finger on an MNer but it's nanny state to ban a parent from hitting their kids? Do me a favour.

seeker · 07/10/2008 20:15

Two things always puzzle me.

Why do people who smack often call it a "tap"? If I tap someone on the shoulder to attract their attention, it doesn't hurt. So do they smack so lightly that it doesn't hurt? If so, what's the point?

And why do the children of smackers always seem to be running into the road, poking their fingers into electric sockets and generally indulging in life threatening behaviour?

SoloTheCharmedOne · 07/10/2008 20:16

Ooks? ...books I should say!

Hulababy · 07/10/2008 20:17

Can't decide between the prices, although skiing would be fab

I personally hate smacking and can't see why people feel the need to resort to it. I do feel it sends out the completely wrong message to children.

EllieG · 07/10/2008 20:18

Personally, I think a ban on smacking would make things easier - much less ambiguous. At present is bit woolly - not allowed if leaves marks etc is hard to make decisions about (am social worker in child protection). Much easier to make all illegal then parents and professionals know what to work to. It is a clear message to those who are abusive and say they use reasonable force. Common sense needs to be used obviously, and I don't think will criminalize vulnerable, stressed parents any more than present law does.

elsiepiddock · 07/10/2008 20:19

I am for a total ban.

'a tap on the bottom as a last resort...'. What, a tap as in with one finger, or a gentle knock?

People who try to justify hitting their children by eupehmistically renaming it 'tapping' etc make me cross. If it doesn't hurt, sting or frighten it's not going to make any impact and for that reason, I think it's very wrong.

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