To smack or not to smack?

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Current legislation, enforced under Labour’s Children Act of 2004, says parents are allowed to smack their offspring without causing the “reddening of the skin”.

Meanwhile Coronation Street’s recent storyline featured the character Owen smacking the back of the legs of his girlfriend’s adopted daughter, Faye.

Tracey Lawson, of Kettering, said: “There is a fine line between a quick smack on the bum like most of us normal parents would consider OK, and some parents beating their children black and blue.

“No-one should be allowed to smack another person’s child, but I was smacked and it never did me any harm.

“Role models and looking up to your parents, and being scared of them to a degree is what it’s all about. Children need to know who’s in charge and not have them say ‘You can’t say that or do this, or I’ll ring Childline.’ That’s how children get out of control, because parents are restricted to what they can and can’t do.”

Sheryl Allen, of Wellingborough, said: “Growing up, I got a tap after numerous warnings and it never did me any harm.

“I don’t have to smack my children as luckily they learn from being put on the naughty step. I think there’s so many other techniques now that you don’t have to smack your children.

“But I don’t disagree with people who tap their children. However, I do disagree with beatings or even smacking your child in a public place.”

Paul Davies, of Thrapston, said: “I understand that a smack does install discipline but at what cost? I was smacked occasionally and it never did me any harm but is it the right thing to do? I don’t think it is.

“It just means that parents are not guided on better ways to teach their children. Have you ever smacked and felt guilty? I have so perhaps my method at that time was unjustified.

“For saying all that, discipline has declined in the past 20 years and kids get away with all sorts.

“During this time smacking has been on the decline too. I think we need to bring our kids into a tighter parental clutch but not with smacking, we need a better way to install discipline.”

Catherine Camilleri, of Oakley Vale, said: “I remember feeling very bitter and not only physically hurt when mum slapped me but mentally hurt that someone so close could do that.

“She passed away when I was an adult and was my best friend and an amazing mother and grandmother but the memory stays with me. I feel it’s just because a person cannot control their temper that they slap.

“I reason with my daughter, if I hit her I’d get nowhere but teach her it’s OK to hit out at others.

“Giving options to a child, so they have to decide on their choices or a consequence such as removing a toy or treasure for a day or so, works so much better than smacking in my opinion.”

Claire Keane, of Corby, said: “I don’t think it’s whether you smack your child or not, it’s how you do it, do you just lash out or is it say three warnings and then a smack? Is it consistent or just whenever you’re cheesed off?

“I was smacked as a child using the three warnings then a smack rule and I use that on my own children and then the discussion on why they got a smack.

“Regardless of whether you smack or not, it’s bad parenting and lack of control within schools and police forces that have made these kids into thugs, not just one issue but a combination of a whole load of things.”

Simon Kensington-Fellows, of Thrapston, said: “My five-year-old son is the most precious thing in my world. So (a) why would I want to hit him, if I hit an adult I would be done for assault, and (b) why do I want to teach my impressionable five-year-old that it is OK to hit someone?

“I was smacked, slippered and given the belt as a child with the usual ‘wait for your father to get home’. I would say it didn’t do me any harm but importantly the question we should be asking is did it do me any good? Considering I was often given the slipper I would say not.

“Smacking seems to be an unimaginative solution for when parents can’t be bothered to resolve the issue another way.

“Is my son an angel? Of course not. We discuss things, does he always take note? Of course not, but at least I’m showing him that it is not OK to act violently towards others.

“He’s no tearaway and neither are his older brother and sister, who are 18 and 17.”

Carl Willmer, of Rushden, said: “Smacking was used when my brother and I were young, nothing over the top, and we turned out to be exceptional people.

“It needs to be done, what child will learn from a super nanny technique of putting them repeatly on the ‘naughty spot’?

“It’s part of growing up and has been used since the dawn of time. I believe that these days all the youth problems have stemmed from the lack of a smack for bad behaviour when young.”