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Should parents in Britain be banned from smacking their children?

From this week, parents in France no longer have the right to smack their children after a new law banning corporal punishment came into force.

This leaves Britain as one of only four countries in Europe where smacking remains a legal way of disciplining children.

The French law now defines parental authority in the Civil Code as excluding ‘all cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including any recourse to corporal violence’.

Now the UK, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic are all expected to receive mounting demands to pass a similar law against smacking.

What is your view?  Were you smacked by your parents if you misbehaved? Did smacking form part of how you disciplined your own children? What methods of discipline do you think work best? Does smacking have a negative effect on a child? Let us know your thoughts!

Should parents in Britain be banned from smacking their children?

647 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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mercury
2 days ago
0
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How will that work then? Is every home going to have CCTV installed in every corner?

Tell me how you discipline a child who's too young to understand reasoning?
maryroth
19th Feb 2017
0
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Well imagine a 12ft giant hitting you that's what it must feel like to a child !
Pauline64
10th Feb 2017
0
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Never did me any harm as a kid,
nagonthenet
31st Jan 2017
0
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Neither should the general public - many kids these days are obnoxious precocious brats. I'd love to give many of them a back hander.
JeannieMac
27th Jan 2017
0
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My son lost contact with his daughter for 5 years after he tapped her on her arm when she was having a hysterical tantrum and had thrown a hot cup of tea at him. She was ten. It left no mark on her arm but later that same day when she was still hysterical, and following childline advice, he took her to the doctor in an attempt to calm her down. We had been trying to get her to calm down all day. The result was the doc felt "honour bound" to report the smack (which she reported to him in great dramatic detail) to Child Protection. The GP had by then called us (he was our Dr. for 20 years) and burst into tears in front of all of us as he knew what he had done..Our son's contact with his daughter was stopped immediately, and also with his son for a while. This was all because a child, who was known to regularly throw such tantrums to get out of trouble, made an issue of it, backed by her gloating mother who never wanted him to have contact after their divorce. He had never shown violence to anyone in his family at all, but was immediately labelled. Police and CP officers were all involved and we were all interviewed at length. We were also prevented from seeing her, time we can never replace.

The over-reaction of our doctor hurt us as much as what followed, as he had been our family doctor for a long time.

No child should ever be hit , but the odd tap on legs or body does no lasting harm. There are already laws in place for serious ill treatment. I can only begin to imagine how many children like our granddaughter would take advantage if such a law were passed.

Our granddaughter is now 18 and still throws similar tantrums and blames everyone else.

Current legislation is sufficient but even so we have atrocities and even deaths regularly under the eyes of the very same CP officers who reacted in such a draconian fashion in our case, which shocked us deeply.
AlexanderG2
14th Jan 2017
0
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I was given a leather belt when I was young and I had nightmares into my fifties. My mother could lay it on when she wanted to, but that was not as bad.
I would smack our kids, but they had to be really naughty and cheeky, mostly they were alright.
Now in today's world, some kids in the street could do with putting in their places, but only by the law makers.
In the case of child, children a chastisement is in order but just to show them what's right.
MorrisandDoris
13th Jan 2017
1
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I think politicians and all the left wing luvvies need smacking not just naughty children, but then I suppose there not much difference !
Lionel
16th Jan 2017
1
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Sometimes there is little difference because these people are forming youngsters in their own image.
manofpeace
13th Jan 2017
3
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I am a 70 Yr old ex-navy veteran and have always believed that discipline brings respect. I am one of 8 children and yes we were smacked when we were children but we knew the reason why as it was always fully explained why. We were never smacked or hit out of anger from one of our parents. As a father and then step father
I treated my own children the same way. I honestly feel that it is the Namby Pamby state that we live in which allows children to grow up long before they should do. Parents are often both at work so the
child is left to its own devices. A smack on the bottom or the leg does not mean the child will grow up with anger....which may explain why children grow up with no respect....for their peers and more important for themselves.
honeymaya
13th Jan 2017
3
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From the behaviour of many children I now witness out in public, I would say that there are a large percentage who are not listening to oral discipline very effectively! Most don't seem to be taught how to respect the space of other users in cafes and restaurants - but then, the way that their Mothers (and all too often Fathers) behave gives an indication of why, sadly. My own 7 year old son (yes I'm only just new to the over 50's club!) is never permitted to leave his seat in a cafe, nor to talk loudly so that he disturbs other customers....

I always try to talk through any unacceptable behaviour with him first of all - only rarely does he 'push my buttons' enough that I have to resort to a smack on the leg. But if he doesn't respond to the verbal, and it is important enough because he is 'crossing boundaries' in a very big way.... then I would use the leg smack as a last resort. And, it works. You have to show who is the 'alpha' leader of the proverbial pack, or, as we are seeing in today's dumbed down society, we are simply rearing a herd of little monsters!

And, they will soon be reporting their parents for abuse when there is none! Real abuse will not be prevented by banning 'smacking'. That goes into a deeper psychological problem with the parent child relationship.

Honey Maya
wynw
12th Jan 2017
0
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I was smacked as a child but never ever violently, I did smack my own children when talking never seemed to work, I don't know how you can stop violent smacking as it usually done in the home and no one sees it. not too sure if the correction steps work either.
Himself14
10th Jan 2017
0
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An openhanded slap behind the back of leg as opposed to a smack - Yes
Cactus14
8th Jan 2017
6
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I was smacked as a child, it was when you use to get whacked round the head, and some of the smacks we use to get, well, yes that should be stopped but disciplining your children is not about beating them. The world has gone from one extreme to another and the outcome is hoards of unruly children who think they can do as they like. I don't expect every kid to sit tied to a chair but when you're out at the pub for a meal you don't want screaming kids running around.
Lionel
9th Jan 2017
3
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I'll second that, Cactus. A fiendish scenario has been built. Children are the new gods. The untouchables.
nagonthenet
31st Jan 2017
0
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Totally agree. Why can't these comments be transferred to Mumsnet - then the yummies can see what we think of them as parents - RUBBISH
Lionel
31st Jan 2017
1
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Rubbish? Lower than that.

I know a couple of young mums around here in Suffolk, sweeties both of them, no discipline for their kids, and no idea what they doing except claiming the benefits.

One, I've written this elsewhere on SS took a £500 iPad and thrust in her two year old's hands in a check out queue in the Co-op. A five hundred quid toy?

About five years ago I was in the same store. My step grand daughter whom I've raised along with her grand mother, was in that store with me. She's a girl, a lovely and lively young woman. They like to spend. My step grand daughter joined me at the check out, stood in front of me, and put my arms around her, looking up at me with the most seraphic smile. She was spending my money, she does it so well.

An extremely strident feminist type behind us were went of at full thrust. She accused me of touching the girl's breasts and thereby assumed all sorts of other distasteful naughties. She really went off on one. And so did I, my fuse is very short. My few, and it must be said very harsh words, persuaded her to leave the store. Behind me a round of applause began.

There was nothing untoward with my step grand daughter, nothing whatsoever. Nor would there ever be such. Last weekend she was here and the first thing she did was to throw her arms around my neck, kiss me on the cheek and then bury her head in my shoulder. Was she so insecure wioth me?

I don't think so.

We all need to get back to some reality here. Human relationships are not defined by narrow social laws expected by the few. They are human relationships, loving relationships, and these relationshipsn are expressed in human contact, whenever, wherever ... and yes, in whatever form.
nagonthenet
1st Feb 2017
1
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Why are we paying people to have children? It's their choice whereas carers get nothing unless destitute. Carers don't choose to be in that position. We already have too high a population so why subsidise more? If you work for something you appreciate it, give it for free and you get the sort of attitude Lionel refers to.
sparrer
5th Jan 2017
3
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The picture at the top of the article shows a woman gripping the child and raising her hand high to beat, not smack. Not the right impression at all for smacking, which doesn't mean attacking. On rare occasions I was smacked, never beaten. On rare occasions my children were smacked, never beaten. I grew up a healthy, well-balanced individual with respect, not fear, for my elders. My children, who have never smacked their children, are loving parents with respect for their elders. My grandchildren, now all grown, are well-balanced, thoughtful, hard-working young adults with respect for their elders.
To smack or not to smack, that is the question....
Munsterlander
6th Jan 2017
7
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Looking at all the comments here and yours Sparrer it seems that all our generation were smacked and it just gave us a sense of discipline. Now as you say smacking is different than beating. I have had many a clip round the ear from parents and teachers. Just made me learn right from wrong in life. Like many things in the pre-2000s it was commonsense. We seem to have lost that valuable word in society today.
alisonmay
5th Jan 2017
3
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There is a difference between smacking and beating. Smacking did me no harm, worse could be harsh words, which can crush a child for life.
Fran70
4th Jan 2017
7
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While I don't agree with beating a child, a smack on the hand or leg as a last resort won't do any harm. Many children have no discipline either at home or school and run riot, are rude to parents and teachers or anyone who dares to say anything to them about their behaviour. They need boundaries to know what is acceptable behaviour and learn respect, very lacking in the world today.
Georgie Girl
4th Jan 2017
5
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I am not so sure about this you know, I have witnessed many scenes where I think for goodness sake that child needs a smack but then I observe and think is it something the parent is doing or not doing that has created the problem to develop out of control.
At the same time I do worry greatly that once children learn they can get away with anything and not be punished it could lead as Lionel said to society falling apart.
I was caned at school and it has had a truly detrimental effect on my wellbeing, I know this for a fact and I grew to hate the teachers who did this diabolical treatment and my first step in to not having much faith in human nature. Maybe if I had been caned for something bad I could have accepted it but I tutted once and the other time was for an ink blot on my paper!!!
A lot of years later I worked in a school, the bad behaviour was insane. This world is set to self destruct as we are soon going to be controlled by youngsters just as a teacher is now in school, controlled and living their every working day in fear of a child, I have seen this, watched a kid no more than 4 feet tall, punch a member of staff in the groin, kick, spit and swear.
So what do we do? its all too late really isn't it.
Lionel
9th Jan 2017
3
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Yes, Georgie Girl, I fear it is now too late. The Western world is being ruled by it's children. And we can thank bleeding heart, misguided liberal thinking academics for that!

I may only hope at some point the pendulum will swing the other way but that won't be in my lifetime.
Pwilly
4th Jan 2017
1
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As a short sharp shock it's probably beneficial. However, I think adults hit a child with the force they would use to hit another adult.
Angie Fenty
4th Jan 2017
3
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Everyone is too scared of the "sue me" culture. Heck even kids can take parents to court to divorce them because the parent took their teddy away!!!

I was beaten mercilessly by an abusive step father and abused in al ways possible. His beatings made no mark on me emotionally. I grew up swearing no man would hurt me, and apart from one violent partner they didnt.

Yet i told mum a lie when i was 13 and she smacked me for the first and only time. It hurt more than almost anything in my lifetime. But i grew up polite respectful honest and compassionate. So no dont ban smacking
Lionel
4th Jan 2017
4
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Angie, that is an excellent statement. I do so agree, but many won't.

Most certainly I do not advocate abusive punishment, as you might read I suffered under that at school. But, whilst we as a society must curb that - it will never be eliminated - we must not say no child should be smacked or, in the worst cases, caned. If we do that ...

Then society will fall apart. All traditional values which have made this nation great and almost guaranteed the safety of the individual will disappear in a generation and none of us will be safe.

Worse, these youngster will have no self respect, nor respect for others. The 'self' will rise and dominate this country.

But isn't that what is happening now?
ritso
4th Jan 2017
4
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There is a big difference between correction and abuse and I have no time for the latter. An occasional smack that will teach a child to avoid putting itself in danger is highly preferable to being wise after the event and sitting at the side of their hospital bed or even worse their graveside. In the animal world from apes through to big cats, wolves etc., correction is given purely for the survival of their progeny.
Lionel
4th Jan 2017
3
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You're so right Ritso. I've been an farm animal stockman for twenty five years, and have bred Collies too. All the animal types I've known have a way of disciplining their young.

A pup offended my current Collie bitch. He'd done it before. It was summer time and she took him by the scruff and dragged him outside the front door, leaving him there. We brought him back, but for a few hours she disowned him. Today, we have this pup in the house, with him mum and dad. He is now ten, a most noble and self disciplined animal, but he's wary of his mum.

Yes, better to be harsh, but not cruel, in response to bad behaviour than stand at their graveside. Well said.
major red
4th Jan 2017
1
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I clicked yes I meant no not read properly we do ours or you get a brat and I got cane when at school and I am all the better for it made me who I am decent and respectful
Pam1960
4th Jan 2017
2
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Occasional smacks do not harm a child and should be done when other options such as taking away privaleges hasn't worked. If smacking is done on a daily basis then that method if discipline is clearly not working. I used to smack my children on the hand when they were toddlers when they continued to touch things they were not allowed to. I only ever smacked my boys once each after they were school age and that was when they swore at me. They never did it again but they both remember the time that mum slapped them
lazlo
4th Jan 2017
2
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If you smack your child in public for any reason you will get some NAZI moron threatening you with arrest for assault. These idiots are making life impossiblefor some parents as some kids only understand a clip round the ear means dont. The worst are the ones with tantrums.
shish65
4th Jan 2017
1
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We are not talking beatings here we are talking a tap to regulate the behaviour of a younger child. Very occasionally it is the only answer in my opinion. But then I am old fashioned.
Joser
4th Jan 2017
1
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Beating harms a child, but sometimes a smack is the only thing that will stop bad behaviour.
Yodama
4th Jan 2017
1
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Speaking to my children recently about this very subject, They told me the worst punishment they remembered was that they were not allowed to watch their TV cartoons or allowed out to play. Grounding and sent to their rooms seemed to have the desired effect.
I suffered " six of the best" on many an occasion as a child, Didn't work, I am still rebellious.
Patty63
4th Jan 2017
4
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Yes as children we did get a smack on the hand or bottom but it was very rare as being told off was enough. My kids will also say that a smacked bottom didn't do them any harm. As parents we need a deterrent but it doesn't mean giving them a good hiding.
Prosseco
4th Jan 2017
3
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A short slap on the back of the hand did not do my children any harm. Has parents you should no the difference between discipline and going to far.
Lionel
3rd Jan 2017
5
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I had thought I would rock the boat on this one, but the vote above says otherwise!

The misfortune to be at public school in Central London in the early/mid-sixties was mine. It was a mixed school with a rigid code of conduct. Any infringement resulted in a punishment, usually physical. The staff hadn't heard of sitting on the naughty step or detentions. They beat me so many times I think there was a page in the punishment book dedicated to just me!

Twelve strokes of the cane, administered by a former Australian rugby player, had the effect of concentrating one's mind. But wonderfully.

The net effect on me has been I'm pleased to live within the accepted norms of any country I've lived in or visited. There is no need in this heart to project the 'me' over everybody else.

Public school discipline of that period is not necessarily recommended. It was unnecessarily harsh but, none the less served a purpose. Today, there is nothing to persuade many young people to conform to society's norms and so they don't. It is the same position for older people brought up since corporal punishment was abolished.

Our press recounts so many instances of parents beating their kids unmercifully, even to the point of death. Why? Because they might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb!

Our society is falling apart for lack of self discipline. Therefore, I am in favour of corporal punishment in schools, homes and in prisons. I am also pro-capital punishment - banning that in 1965 I think was a grave mistake indeed.

If you've got this far you will understand I am not a bleeding heart liberal. But I deeply believe in societal order, in self discipline and reforming people of either sex by the swiftest and cheapest of means.

Thumbs down is expected, in quantity. But after all these years I remain unashamed of my views.
Baxi
3rd Jan 2017
5
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Most responsible parents would only resort to a smack when they feel their child has really been naughty.
I was smacked three times by my father and I can still remember each occasion and why he smacked me and it was always because I had done something dangerous (like leaning over a balcony) - so it was for my own good.
I see so many kids which are uncontrollable that this seems like one of that last ways of keeping some discipline.
Jo Kingham
3rd Jan 2017
3
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I thought it already was banned! Having said that I have hit my kids on the odd occasion. The occasional, well deserved smack isn't going to do any harm and brings order and discipline. I was hit as a child when I did something really wrong and it taught me respect and to think before I acted. I remember in my brother's all boy school they were given the cane too - something some of today's youngsters could do with. I think even if it was banned it would make no difference
Wilf
3rd Jan 2017
3
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My father used to belt my brother and I if we were very naughty (throwing stones at neighbours) and at school the teachers used the cane and one used to throw his blackboard eraser at kids heads if they were messing about. Didn't effect us at all just gave us a sense of discipline which is sorely lacking in today's world. This is just another example of a lack of discipline-society will suffer for it.
MrsPat
3rd Jan 2017
2
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Difficult one this. I had a few light smacks in my time and it did not harm me. Similar I have given my children a few smacks when they are very naughty. We were also smacked at school. But how do you stop it when parents loose their tempers with children who have been very naughty?
Marley444
3rd Jan 2017
3
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I have never been a great believer in smacking as I am unsure if it really works. I think there is a difference between a light smack and a beating though and I do think that any form of extreme physical abuse to children should be banned. If smacking was banned I can't imagine how it would be enforced and I am sure that those who do beat their children behind closed doors will still continue regardless. My mum used to smack me with a wooden spoon!

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