Saturday, 4 February 2012

Smacking A Child - Right or Wrong

Do you believe it is a form of discipline to smack a child when you know they are doing or saying something wrong, or is it just pure abuse of authority because you are unable to control your own temper?

I am of the persuasion that children are not always beaten or smacked in a fit of anger, but rather because the parents have no idea how to discipline, no idea how to raise a child or are just repeating the process of what their parents did to them.

I can clearly remember being beaten because I failed to make the right decision according to what my parent wanted . Beaten because I was too scared to answer my parent's question in fear of escalation and beaten if I had dared to answer back in defence, even when I was in the right. I was verbally abused and accused on a regular basis.

Can you imagine being told by a parent to go and fetch the belt, the one with the big buckle? Only then to be told that it is the wrong belt, and you have to now replace it with a larger belt? It's like handing the executioner his weapon.  Oh, I remember it like yesterday. Social workers? Hell no, my parent had full control over them too....

Most of this had nothing to do with my parent being angry or providing discipline for wrong doing. Rarely were those beatings due to any kind of bad behaviour on my part, although bad behaviour was the excuse used by my parent to justify their actions to us and to others. 


 With great confidence I can say that beatings were very common in the black community when I was growing up. In fact, it wasn't until I was a teenager that I realised this was not the norm in the wider non-black community. As an adult I further realised that the behaviour my parent portrayed was about abuse and control, and nothing to do with discipline.

With all that said, do I as a sensible adult believe in smacking a child ? Yes.


If you have given a child ample warnings, especially in situations where they could be in danger, I would have no issue with smacking them. But then, I clearly know the difference between smacking and beating.  Saying that, some children clearly will listen to your explanation and not repeat naughty  behaviour.

Tell me your experiences and/or comments as to whether you agree with Smacking Children.

22 comments:

  1. I do not believe the youngest, and people we are supposed to protect most should be the only ones we can hit in anger. No, I was never hit by my parents. No I do not believe children should be hit just because parents get frustrated or do not know another way to get their point across. It would not be okay with anyone else, so why the most helpless in our community?

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  2. Very interesting.....I do believe that in some rare occasions a smack (not beating) can further enhance a warning message to a child HOWEVER I'm learning that voice tone and facial expressions can easily do the same job.

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    1. i am sure there are times that a smack would enhance ANY message, does not make it right. Only if it is a parent does it make it somehow okay. Once upon a time we let teachers hit kids. Now it is wrong. yet hitting your own flesh in blood is okay?

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  3. Thanks for commenting, Jamie. You were lucky enough not to be hit by your parents, maybe because you were never that naughty or your parents had an excellent way of disciplining with you.

    But some children clearly do not listen and continue to push boundaries on a daily basis disrupting family life, social activities, and behaving badly in public. The kids that go crazy in the supermarket leaving destruction behind them, the kids that act like madmen in the restaurants, the kids that run riot when visiting family/friends causing pure mayhem.

    These are the type of behaviours that I feel, when ample warnings are not heeded to, the short sharp shock of a smack might be necessary.

    I'm kind of on the fence when it comes to school discipline.

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    1. LOL, much as I would like to believe I was a dream kid, I was not. And I have a brother with aspergers so tantrums were fairly regular. I think my parents simply used consistency. No never became yes to shut is up, and acceptable behavior was expected. Funny enough, talking to people about physical discipline in people's childhood I have found either people were not hit, or they have memories of getting their ass beat, not "disciplined". Most of them were hit in anger and frustration, as punishment not discipline. All a spanking teaches a child is that if frustrated hitting is an answer. I know most will disagree with me, but visit prisons and ask the inmates if they were hit as kids. Violence begets violence.

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    2. Jamie
      Can you suggest any good ways that people can use to alleviate the types of bad behaviour I mentioned earlier?
      Any suggestions are more than welcome as it could help others and give me something to think about.

      Thanks Jamie

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    3. I think most bad behavior is a reflection of poor and lazy parenting choices. That kid throwing a fit over a chocolate bar has already been taught that if they make a little noise that most likely they are going to get the chocolate bar. I've often heard the "two year old runs out into traffic it is the only way to teach him and have him understand", well maybe what the parent needs is a good punch in the face to know that a child who cannot understand the dangers of traffic should not be left unattended around traffic. I suggest talking to kids. Offer real consequences to actions. Never make threats you will not carry out. Consistency. If we were at the park and I ran up the slide (which I did often because it gave my mother a heart attack and totally fucked with the other kids:)My mother would say "Jamie I see you run up that slide again were leaving, and we won't come back for a week."
      Know what happened when I ran up the slide? It was not a whack on the ass. We left, immediately, amidst tears, apologizes etc, and did not go back for a week. Once my mom or dad drew a line in the sand the consequences were spelled out.
      I also think consequences should be similar to what they would be as a teenager or adult in similar situations. If someone is acting in an inappropriate way in a store or restaurant they would be asked to leave and banned for a period of time. Striking another for not following our rules is not acceptable practice.
      I remember my cousin Pat used to hit, a lot. I remembered I think I was about five watching her smack the shit out of him all the while screaming like a wild woman that "Hitting is bad". Yeah, she sure taught him effective coping strategies for anger. I remember at 5 thinking that makes no sense at all.

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  4. Anonymous
    Yes, 'voice tone and facial expression' could work for some and many parents have done this marvellously. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. I did not when I could not understand those parents who smack their children. I am against domestic violence ...

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    1. Brem
      I too am against domestic violence and would not put 'smacking' as I explained earlier in this category. Any idea Brem on what you would do?
      Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I agree with rum-Punch Drunk. And I think it's not very violent behavior if you smack a kid gently to emphasise your message if kids are not listening to and even might be in danger for doing something stupid. But I'm definitely against beating and frank violence. That's true allegedly violence begets violence.

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    1. Thanks Amethyst for your input on this subject.

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  7. I'm just glad you have such an open perspective. Most people who would've grown up in your environment would automatically conclude that hitting kids, should never ever happen. It great to be able to go through a bad experience, and not end up biased in some way. That is huge.

    I was spanked probably 3 times growing up. My Dad would tell My Mom to get the "Wooden Spoon". I remember getting spanked vividly. If your parenting skills, and your temperment was perfect, you probably wouldn't need this type of disipline.

    However, you give kids an inch, and they'll take a mile. If you've been too lenient already with your kids, I'd argue nothing short of good bum slap will set them straight.

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  8. Interesting take on this controversial topic. I was hit as a child, it's quite common and normal in Hispanic communities, and really, it's been done for centuries so honestly I don't know why people are making it a big deal NOW. Abuse is unacceptable, but being hit as a child is something a lot of people grew up with.

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    1. Hi Sheebanna
      It may be 'common' and 'normal' in various communities and may have been done for centuries, but it doesn't make it acceptable.

      I truly believe that if people don't speak out and stand up to what is wrong, things will never change. In fact if we do nothing we protect those who are being abusive, rather than expose them.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I was smacked when I did things wrong when I was young and if anything it did me good. There is a fine line between a little harmless punishment and domestic abuse that should never be crossed.

    I like to think that smacking is not necessary though and bad behaviour can be managed in different ways. However, many would argue that many of the issues in modern society are related to a lack of discipline in modern children and maybe they're right...

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  10. Dan
    Thanks for commenting. (apologies for long delay in reply).

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  11. Hitting a child is never justified. If you've ever struck one of your own children, then you've failed as a parent, because it is a particularly insidious form of bullying that permanently damages your relationship with the child. Explaining that something is wrong is all that is required, if done properly. I have two sons, now adult, and not once did I ever think it was necessary to hit them to make a point.

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    1. Dennis
      Thanks for your response. I think there are many people who have been smacked as a child and now have a perfectly healthy, ongoing relationship with their parents. Sometimes explanations don't work but there is a broad line between a smack and abuse. I'm glad that you managed to raise your children without having to smack them.

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    2. I have seen and been around many "punchdrunk" kids. I am from the old school Black community. Some of those kids have "pushed the boundaries." But no kid pushes the boundaries without a reason. Listening and being patient outweighs a beating anyday. Being a "hero" to your child is the most important thing. They have to trust in your love and actions and learn from them. If you are negative, then you will breed negativity.

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  12. Oh yes, I do realise where you are coming from, in regards to the 'the old school black community' and yes, I do understand how children can push those boundaries until it is bursting at the seams, and some of them have very good cause.

    You have made a very good point but you really have to make sure that you capture these children at a very early stage and show them the 'hero' side to you early on. If you don't, they will in no doubt call you a hypocrite and fling it back in your face. Thanks for you comment Anonymous.

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