Clearly, it is NEVER appropriate for those working with or caring for children to smack, slap, clout, cuff, blow, spank, rap, swat, crack, thump, pinch, punch, karate chop, thwack, clip, wallop, swipe, bop, belt, bash, sock, hit or strike a child.
‣‣‣ Phil Day
It is ONLY EVER the special domain of parents to decide whether to smack or not to smack. Legislation exists in some countries prohibiting such action recognising there is a fine line between smacking and physical abuse. Many parents who have chosen not to smack have done so because they have sensed in themselves the danger of crossing this fine line.
However, clearly, it is NEVER appropriate for children’s workers or carers to smack, slap, clout, cuff, blow, spank, rap, swat, crack, thump, pinch, punch, karate chop, thwack, clip, wallop, swipe, bop, belt, bash, sock, hit or strike a child.
For parents, when it comes to whether to smack or not to smack, the debate will, no doubt, continue to rage!
The following points outline some of the pros and cons of smacking.
Smacking is misused when:
- done in anger;
- there is potential for out-of-control smacking;
- there is a lack of follow through after the smack because of guilt or remorse of the parent who has smacked the child;
- hugs from the guilt ridden parent in making up after a smack sends a mixed message;
- it is used as a last straw … smacking indicates a lack of use of other discipline tools;
- there is a potential for smacking back;
- there is a risk that a child learns that violence is a means of gaining an advantage.
Smacking is best if:
- the child is younger;
- a quick result is needed;
- a limit is crossed and needs quick response;
- it is the first response not the last resort;
- it is a considered response not a reaction;
- escalation of a situation needs to be cut off;
- a stalemate situation needs to be resolved;
- it is a deterrent to danger.
Many parents choose not to smack because they lack the self-discipline, for whatever reason, to use a smack wisely. The misuse of smacking can quickly escalate to abuse without careful parental self-control, self-management or self-discipline.