Smacking children has long been a common practice. Many parents give their children a pretty harmless smack on the bottom when they’ve knowingly done something wrong to teach them a lesson and encourage them not to misbehave again. There’s an ongoing debate that focuses on smacking children and asks whether this is acceptable or not. Obviously, more extreme physical punishments that obviously hurt the child shouldn’t be allowed at all, but if smacking does very little harm, should it be allowed?
Yes – it’s a good for discipline and isn’t harmful in the long-run
Lots of adults living today were smacked as children and they’ve turned out totally fine. If you get a few smacks on the bottom as a kid, chances are there aren’t going to be any serious, long-lasting effects, whether physical or mental. Smacking is simply a short-term solution that reminds children they’ve done something wrong and shouldn’t do it again. Sure, it can hurt, but the pain is only temporary and it’s the pain that teaches the kids the lesson they need to learn. Smacking doesn’t really hurt too much and if it does make the kid cry, that’s part of the kid’s punishment for doing wrong and hopefully the kid will learn their lesson. If a child knows that doing wrong will result in a smacking, they’ll be less likely to do wrong again. Smacking, therefore, can be an effective way of putting kids off misbehaving and being naughty. Kids may not like it and the parents themselves may not like it, but if it works and there’s no long-lasting harm done to the kid, then surely it should be acceptable?
No – it’s physical abuse and there are other ways of punishing children
While smacking children was a lot more common several decades ago – it was even a common occurrence in schools – these days there’s more of a stigma attached to it. Even just a light smack on the bottom can be terrifying to a child, especially since they’re being physically punished by someone much bigger and older than they are. Smacking teaches children that it’s acceptable to use physical abuse as a form of punishment; children who’ve been smacked are more likely to abuse others, including their own children and their partner. Because smacking can cause pain, children will want to avoid it at all costs; they may even end up lying to their parents and covering things up so their parents don’t find out about their wrongdoing and smack them. In short, the fear of being smacked can lead to the trust between parents and children being damaged. If your child knowingly does something wrong, there are other harmless ways of punishment that can be just as effective, if not more so, than smacking, such as grounding them, making them spend time by themselves on a ‘naughty step’ or something similar, or even depriving them of treats, toys, days out…the list goes on. There’s no need to be smacking children when there are other ways to teach them to be good.
Should smacking be allowed?
The legality of smacking children varies from country to country. Some, such as Iraq, allow it both at home and at school, while countries such as the UK, France and Italy outlaw smacking at schools, though it’s legal at home. Then there are countries like Spain, Germany and Greece where the smacking of children is completely illegal. Generally speaking, the laws regarding smacking children have become more restrictive over the last few decades, with the practice becoming outlawed in more and more places. Whatever your opinion of smacking children, it seems the practice is gradually becoming forbidden, to the point where one day it may be completely outlawed everywhere. However, there will always be people who see it as a relatively harmless and effective way of correcting children’s behaviour.