Smack Addicts

02 September 2009

There are many people I'll never understand. People who enjoyed the single "All Summer Long." People who leave the gherkins on Big Macs. Men who wear shorts with socks. Women who wear otherwise elegant outfits with thongs.

And the people who think it is their right, or even somehow helpful, to "physically discipline" their children.

Society pretends to be deeply concerned with the welfare of children. But really, in terms of attitudes to child abuse, we're at the stage now that we were with domestic violence thirty years ago - that it's a family matter, a parent's right, that we shouldn't get involved.

It baffles logic that if an older child hits a younger one, this is "bullying", but if an adult hits a child, this is acceptable. And only if that adult is the child's parent - if smacking is such an effective form of discipline, why is it only parents - not babysitters, teachers, childcare workers, other family members, or anyone else looking after the child - who are allowed to carry smacking out?

Smacking is rarely perfomed in a thoughtful, considered way. Most smacking is performed by a stressed parent lashing out in the heat of the moment. Not having children yet myself, I can't understand that stress and can't guarantee I'll never smack myself and regret it straight away. But that's the difference - I know it's not okay, and I sincerely hope I never actually smack my kids.

Most "right to smack"ers say "I was smacked, and I turned out okay." Well, if you think it's okay for you in turn to hit a child, then no you didn't turn out okay. Smacking is horribly demeaning to a child - and threats are even worse. Children acquire discipline through respect for their parents, not fear. Many people I know who were smacked have never learnt resepct for authority (as opposed to fear of authority) and have learnt, not to do well, but rather to not get caught. My fiancé wasn't smakced as a child, and I can tell you he's far more respectful and less illegal than I am.

Smacking sends the message that might is right. As a civilised society, we should ban this barbaric relic of a bullying past. Smacking will still go on - but we need to stand up and say, it's not okay anymore.


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