Every parents goes about parenting differently. If everyone brought up their children the same way, the world would be a very boring place. I hate to judge the way another parent goes about something, but this is a topic that I feel very passionately about. Smacking children. Is it ever okay? Many parents will argue every point that I make in this post. It’s a topic that is bound to cause debate. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. This is how I feel about the subject, and I don’t intend to hold back.
In case you haven’t guessed already, I am strongly against smacking children. Perhaps this comes from my professional background of being a childcare provider. It could also come from the style of parenting that I use. Either way, I feel that physical punishment is a negative form of parenting.
For me, smacking is a lazy way of disciplining a child. It requires zero amount of brain power and does absolutely no good to your child. Smacking is an angry outburst from a parent, which can have negative impacts on their emotional wellbeing. What exactly is it teaching children?
- That physical punishment is the best way to get what you want
- That harming another person is okay
- When you want someone to do as they are told, just smack them across the bottom
Yes we all get angry when it comes to children. They can be the most irritating little swines sometimes. They will push your buttons until you have no patience left. If you want your child to learn to control their emotions, you first need to control your own. Rather than lashing out, learn to take a minute to compose yourself and calm down. Once you have a clear mind, your judgement will become a lot clearer. Once you resort to smacking that child, there is no going back. Your child will be screaming, and parent guilt will, I’m hoping, kick in.
Now I know what the pro smacking parents are about to tell me. “It worked alright for me when I was younger”. Although this may be true, I still feel like there are better, less damaging ways of parenting. I was smacked on the leg or the bum when I was a child. I will also admit that it didn’t do me any harm. I grew up to be a very calm and rational thinking adult. That doesn’t mean that I now want to start smacking my own child.
Society and parenting has moved on from that. I get that the older generation will have a different opinion. A good smack when you’ve been naughty was once the social norm, so changing people’s opinions is difficult. There is so much media coverage around children being abused both physically and emotionally. Surely these high profile cases make you want to preserve every single ounce of innocence your own child has.
I would hate to see the look on my child’s face after I physically caused them pain. It would eat me up inside. I don’t think I would ever forgive myself.
How Does Smacking Children Affect Them?
- It can damage family life and relationships
If you decide from an early age that you are going to be a ‘smacker’, that’s a lot of physical punishment you will giving out to that child. Surely over time that child will start to resent you. There is only so many times you can get smacked before you learn that actually fighting back is the way out. It may also cause you to have an angry child. Most of us remember what it felt like when we were younger. A smack around the legs used to make you want to scream. It brings out every negative feeling you could experience. Anger, frustration, sadness.
- Teaches them negative behaviours
If you think back to your high school days, there was always a school bully. The kid with no boundaries and no respect for anyone else. I firmly believe that children’s behaviour is learnt from the way that they are brought up. Everything that they are exposed to is what they put into practise. For a child to grow up thinking it’s okay to physically harm other people, they must have experienced it for themselves. What if smacking a child causes them to then start smacking other children, because they have learnt that to get what you want, you need to smack them first.
- It can make children fearful
What would happen if you smacked your child so often, that they became scared of doing something wrong? This must be the case for some children, who may start to hide things in order to avoid getting a smack. Children may begin to lie and deceive their parents, because they are frightened of the consequences of their actions. I would never want my child to be scared of me. Nor would I want them to be afraid of telling me something in case I hurt them.
Alternatives to Smacking
- Praise good behaviour
- Talk to your child calmly
- Set clear boundaries
- Remove privileges
- Use ‘time-out’
- Ignore some forms of negative behaviour
What Does Social Media Think?
“I treat my son how I want him to treat me and other people. Enough said. Hitting is never ok”
“It’s seriously not ok in my opinion. It doesn’t teach anything, words do, patience does and consequences/ explanation of why behaviour isn’t on does. Harm/smacking doesn’t teach anything of worth”.
“I don’t think smacking really teaches anything besides violence – more important to learn how to deal with anger and demonstrate to your kids. Learning from example”.
“I don’t agree with it and I think its so cruel. I’ve done it to Joshua a few times and I feel so guilty when I think back to it. I definitely think it’s impacted him in some way. I haven’t done it in a bloody long time, but he flinches if I make a sharp movement near him”.
“I think I’m in the middle. I don’t think it’s ok, I’m not like “yeah smack your kids!” but I wouldn’t judge someone that had, and nor would I say that I never would. I haven’t, but I’ve had to stop myself”
The general opinion is that smacking children is wrong, however there are still parents who believe that it does no harm and that there are certain situations when it is acceptable. I guess there is no ‘right way’ to parent children, it’s just making a choice and seeing what happens. I will be forever against smacking children, but I will need to accept the fact that it still happens in other households. Maybe these children will turn out just fine, but for my child, I won’t be taking that risk.
Whether you are for smacking children, or against it, please leave me your opinions on the topic in the comments section below.