Do people who were smacked as children support a smacking ban?

Smacking

Would you support a ban on smacking? Image: PA

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Politicians in Jersey recently voted to repeal a section of a law which allowed parents to smack a child if it was deemed "reasonable", making it the second place in the British Isles to ban smacking children.

Following Jersey's decision to ban the practice, talkRADIO asked people who were smacked as children whether they would support a UK-wide ban.

 

Tom Rendall*, 25, Civil Servant, Lancashire

When were you smacked as a child, and why?

I was smacked regularly, from my early years until I was around 12. It was usually for general misbehaviour, swearing and misbehaving at school.

 

Did it help you in later life, or hinder you?

It definitely helped. I have always seen is as a form of discipline and punishment, both of which are important. There's a difference between striking for discipline and doing it in anger. It always taught me a lesson when words failed. It worked. It taught me not to act in certain ways.

 

Would you support a smacking ban?

No, I would be completely against a ban. Lots of kids these days lack discipline because their parents haven't been able to discipline them. Sitting down and explaining something calmly won't always work with a child, and sometimes a more physical form of discipline is required. Taking that away would have detrimental effects. I would definitely strike my own kids.

 

Natasha Marsh*, 56, Social Media Influencer, Kent

When were you smacked as a child, and why?

My mother didn't have a lot of patience, so I was smacked a lot. The wooden spoon came out only if she was in the kitchen. She tried to do this with my children but I told her that they weren't hers to hit.

 

Did it help you in later life, or hinder you?

I turned on her when I grew taller than she was, and it stopped.

 

Would you support a smacking ban?

No child should be hit, ever. I'm all for a ban. If children think it is ok to hit, then violence keeps going through the next generations. Smacking is just frustration.

 

Robert Ardent*, 21, Student, Inverclyde

When were you smacked as a child, and why?

It was maybe seven through to my early teens. It was usually because I had been physically or verbally violent, cheeky, arrogant, got in trouble at school or swore at someone.

 

Did it help you in later life, or hinder you?

I think it was a very heavy-handed and lazy way of teaching me that actions have consequences. The principle isn't that far off spraying a cat with water when it misbehaves. We can't explain to a cat what it's doing wrong so it takes longer for it to understand. Had a little more time been put into explaining my actions I could have matured a lot quicker.  All this being said, as soon as I understood what I was doing wrong I'd never do it again, not out of fear, but because I knew it was bad.

 

Would you support a smacking ban?

I think a ban is a bit much. I definitely see how smacking is an effective way of teaching a lesson, so long as it’s coupled with a thorough explanation and conversation. I think the difference between smacking and child abuse is that abuse is due to the parent being out of control angry, but a smack is to teach a lesson. However, again, the lesson is lost without also taking the time to talk about things.

 

Adam Phillips*, 28, Musician, London

When were you smacked as a child, and why?

I was smacked very occasionally as a child, and only when I was very naughty. It was probably only a handful of times in my life. It wasn’t uncommon and I know many of my friends were too. I don’t blame my parents for it, because I guess it was the norm at the time

 

Did it help you in later life, or hinder you?

I don’t remember it either helping or hindering me really.

 

Would you support a smacking ban?

As an adult I believe wholeheartedly that it should be banned, because I don’t believe corporal punishment has any place in modern society, and I don’t believe children are more likely to learn from their mistakes through violence or the threat of it.

 

Neil Franklin*, 31, Teacher, Italy

When were you smacked as a child, and why?

I was smacked for most of my early years. Because I was a child I don't remember the reasons - perhaps they were right and perhaps they were wrong - all I remember is it left me feeling tense and I would sometimes flinch around sudden movements

 

Did it help you in later life, or hinder you?

I think it hindered me and me very wary of authority figures.

 

Would you support a smacking ban?

I lean towards a ban on smacking - although there may be context where it is acceptable. I'm not a behavioural expert so I don't know if it tends to damage other people or whether it just harmed me. I don't have my own kids, and may never do, but if I did I would hope I could be a far more benevolent parent then mine.

 

*Names have been changed for anonymity

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