Seriously, are you still smacking your kid?!


We've been talking about discipline over on Channel Mum, so I went about the interwebs to do a little research. I came across a parenting blogger who explained that she keeps her children in line with a quick slap to the hand. I won't link to it because I don't want to be accused of starting a (wo)man hunt but to be honest I was in shock. I thought smacking was a thing for the history books, it was like someone casually saying they were picking up some dodo for their Sunday roast.

I never hear any of my friends talking about smacking their children; we've talked about everything else from puke to piles so I can only assume that if they are doing it, they're doing it in secret. My feeling about secrets is - if you feel the need not to tell anyone, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

As the title of my blog suggests, I'm a bit of a fence sitter. I'm all for finding your own way and by and large I accept that if you think something is best for your family, it probably is. You want to nip into school at break to breast feed - go for it; you want to start honing them for Olympic glory before they're potty trained - I'm cheering right alongside you but with smacking, I'm off the fence and running for the hills. Just don't do it.

- Smacking teaches children to fear you and not respect you; respect can last a lifetime but fear is (and should) be temporary.

- Smacking models a negative behaviour, it's just confusing. I'm going to teach you not to hit people and then hit you - mixed messages much?

- Smacking tells your child you have lost control. Even when done in a planned way aggression seems like a last resort, even to a toddler.

I really don't know how anyone can ask a question and come up with 'violence' as an acceptable answer. Again and again research shows that the effects of smacking are negative, that it can lower self esteem, increase anxiety and carries risk of physical harm if things go wrong but I've spoken before about how I feel about research so I decided to conduct my own. I asked real life people, adults I know and respect about their experiences of being physically chastised as a child and I'll be honest I was expecting to hear tales of woe and what I got was very different...

'I didn't care. I was already angry about the thing that had upset me, smacking didn't really make a difference.'

'I found it funny. I felt embarrassed for my mum.'

'We made it a game, we'd run away with our hands over our bums.'

Thankfully no one I spoke to was emotionally scarred by the experience but universally they found the whole thing a bit silly. Discipline, when stripped to its basics, is about garnering respect and smacking does just the opposite. It really is pointless. So seriously, are you still smacking your child?

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Cuddle Fairy

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25 comments

  1. Difficult one indeed. I was sometimes smacked when I was little and never thought it was a bad thing. I was being naughty and needed to be punished. End of story. But I don't know if I feel like it's the right thing to do... #bestandworst

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  2. Smacking is always going to divide opinion but I'm not really a believer in it. It's totally confusing hitting a child when we teach hitting is naughty. I admit I have smacked the big one a few times but only as a shock tactic. It's never really worked. I remember Smacking her hand when she was younger and her smacking me back and laughing. Sometimes you need a bit of force to shock them away from a situation especially if something dangerous like about to touch a hot fire bit generally just speaking firmly works far better! I remember being smacked alot as a kid and not sure what good it ever did apart from give me mum a sore head and my a sore leg! #bloggerclubuk

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    1. I can understand when people say they want to communicate in a clear way during a dangerous situation but to bne honest even my cat understands when I speak to her sternly and she's not the sharpest moggie on the block :)

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  4. I agree with this completely. I don't think smacking is the right way to instill discipline. It shows you've lost control. Being smacked as a child certainly didn't teach me to respect my parents at all. Children should never be scared of their parents. #BloggerClubUK

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  5. I agree completely! A great post!

    #BloggerClubUK
    http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2016/07/26/putting-baby-nap-good-test-sainthood/

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  6. Great post and I also clicked on the through link. I have smacked as a reaction and it's never worked out well, I feel so bad and feel like a rubbish mum. Kids don't much like it either, it's a lose lose situation but I'd be a liar if I said I'd never done it.

    mainy

    #bestandworst

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    1. I think being a parent is signing up for a lifetime of trying to get things right and learning to forgive yourself. This post isn't about a parent that became frustrated or was at their wits end, it's about people thinking smacking is a good long term strategy xx

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  7. This will definitely split opinion, but I agree with you. It really isn't my style and I would never personally smack as I don't think it is helpful. I agree it just shows the child you have lost control and causes fear. xx #BloggerClubUK

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  8. My mum did smack me occasionally and like your quotes suggest, my main memories of that are finding it faintly hilarious :D but not scary. But yes, it does seem completely mental to chastise your child for smacking by smacking them.
    x Alice
    #bestandworst

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  9. Completly agree smacking does not work medicine for parents wrote a post similar about 6 months ago great post #bestandworst

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  10. I think it boils down to this. It's not acceptable to hit another adult - say I had an argument with a shopper at the supermarket I wouldn't then go and 'smack' her/him so HOW can it EVER be acceptable to do this to a child. It is not in my opinion. I completely agree with you and thanks for sharing. #brilliantblogposts

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    1. This is my feeling too, it's illegal to lay your hands on another person. Next time someone is rude to you in town try smacking them on the hand and see how that goes :)

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  11. I absolutely agree whole heartedly with this. I've helped some of my friends realise this too and they stopped thank goodness. It's a complete lack of control. I am a huge advocate of positive parenting and truly believe children learn best with realistic boundaries, fair consequences and positive reinforcements. I have a friend whose husband is currently being investigated by social services because he hits his kids and thinks it's ok?? Great post, I'll share it :) Tor xx #brillblogposts

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    1. Many thanks! And well donee for supporting your friends to stop, that takes guts but it's the children that benefit x

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  12. Always a difficult subject and divides people immensely, I think you have written a great post. Well done for blogging about a tough subject, thanks for linking up #bestandworst

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  13. Completely agree with the whole secret aspect of it. If you feel you can't tell someone, or discuss it then surely on some level you mustn't agree - I mean no one wants to tell there child off by as a parent rules and boundaries do need to be set, but I believe you aren't setting a good example to the child. If it's okay for a parent to tap/smack a child surely it's confusing as to why that child can't go about smacking when they are frustrated...that's what we are after all when acting this way. Great job at tackling a touch, dividing subject and a great read also #bestandworst

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    1. Thanks. I think there's a lot of parenting stuff people feel a little guilty about and hide, I think if you feel like this it's a topic to really give some consideration to x

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  14. Smacking seems like such an alien concept to me now. I just can't imagine doing it. I can remember when it was banned though and thinking: I wish that ban had come earlier, because I certainly got a fair few wallops. I clicked on your link and agree that there are far better ways of dealing with a situation. Smacking is a quick fire reaction, when a bit of clever thinking is required. A thought provoking post. Alison x #Brilliantblogposts

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  15. I'm really not one for Smacking I think it shows that a parent has lost control . Saying that I did have a tap on the back of the legs when I was little. I like to think I have grown up well rounded and not effected by it 😀 #bloggerclubuk

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  16. I completely agree with you smacking your child isn't the answer and it makes them fear you. This is a very interesting post, thanks for sharing
    #brilliantblogposts

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  17. Sadly, I do think a lot of people are still smacking (I know several family members who do) and I totally agree with you that it doesn't work, encourages them to hit others and, definitely, shows you have lost control of yourself and the situation.

    I clicked through to the Positive Parenting link you shared. I do feel a lot of that advice was a tad too soft for my liking BUT I definitely don't smack and never will. We use time-out and other consequence type punishments which work fairly well so far.

    Thanks for sharing xx #bloggerclubuk

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  18. I think this is a tricky one but a great post that will make many stop and think about the best way to discipline their child. I was smacked as a child and to be honest it hasn't affected me in a negative way and I still respect my parents. I was naughty and that was how they disciplined. I have smacked before but it was more of an instinctive thing because somebody decided to bite me, I felt awful after. I do think it's easy to lose your cool especially as they grow and become more challenging, which isn't a bad thing. We've recently introduced the naughty corner and it seems to be working. I suppose it's a learning curve for parents as well as the kids, there are some great tips in the link provided I'll definitely be trying them out x #BloggerClubUK

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  19. Completely agree with you. I think it is an entirely wrong thing to do & serves no good purpose. I read something interesting recently about the impact of smacking but I can't quite recall it now (helpfully)! It was something about the psychological impact being particularly strong when it is done by mothers, and when they do it impulsively and angrily. I think it was a link in increased impulsivity & aggression in the child as an adult, as you would expect. I'm sure you're thrilled I popped along to essentially say that I know something but can't remember what I know! #brilliantblogposts

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