Is it ever right to hit a child?
Members of the Welsh assembly may have recently approved a call to withdraw the right for parents to chastise their children by smacking them however; when The Guardian asked – Do you think smacking should be illegal? – 67% of respondents replied No, whilst 33% said Yes.
Back in September there where cheers of support when a teacher was cleared of an alleged assault on a 15-year-old girl (yorkshirepost.co.uk). The National Union of Teachers subsequently called for the anonymity of staff to be preserved, until after any allegation is actually proven. Magistrates in the case made an order banning the identification of the complainant but not the teacher. Is it right that a teacher’s thus far “23 years of unblemished experience” should be almost irretrievably damaged by innuendo, speculation and rumour? Where is the justice in that?
The recent BBC television series The Slap re-ignited the debate over smacking, author Christopher Wakling recalls the highly charged day he lost his temper with his son .
I did not want to smack my son. Indeed, had you suggested, when I first held him to my chest as a newborn eight years ago, that I would raise my hand to him one day, I would have laughed in your face… (Christopher Wakling: Is it ever right to hit a child? – Telegraph).
In my opinion there may well be occasions where applying boundaries of acceptable behaviour in our children may require more forceful methods. Having said that, there is a massive difference between a slap to the back of the hand and actions that actually constitute child abuse. But a distinct lack of ‘acceptable boundaries’ is at the root of many of our social ills. That said, it’s a good that we don’t share the same thought processes held by many of our cousins across the pond…
Although the above incident occurred back in 2004, parents do actually need to feel they have some freedom in application of their parenting skills (with support where required).
What is not acceptable is the excessive government intervention in that process. However, we also need to be grateful that we don’t share some of the almost barbaric opinions of many in the USA. The UK may well hold views that are a little more liberal however; parents also need to feel comfortable about the rights and wrongs of punishing their children where necessary, not be scared about what is / is not acceptable and/or any subsequent consequences!
- Power for smacking ban disputed (bbc.co.uk)
- You: Smacking children ban moves step closer in Wales (guardian.co.uk)
- The Slap, BBC Four, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Dad seen on tape beating daughter: I was right (cbsnews.com)
- Judge William Adams Won’t Be Charged Over Videotaped Beating Of Daughter, Police Say (huffingtonpost.com)
- When Kids Get Smacked (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)