Professor Ray Jones has said that we should not be teaching our children “it is okay to hit out at other people” by smacking them as psychologists call for smacking of children in the family home to be outlawed due to the effect it can have on their mental health.
Professor Jones in Social Work at Kingston University told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “I’m a social worker, so I’ll talk about it as a social moment, but if I was a psychologist I would be saying ‘do you really want to model the behaviour for your children that it is okay to hit out at other people.
“Other children, and as you get older other adults, hit out at your own children as you get older – is that the type of modelling we want to share with our children?
“You can talk about slapping, you can talk about smacking, you can talk about hitting, but at the end of the day you are saying that it is okay to assault somebody else.
“That is not a good model to give to children I don’t think.”
‘Use common sense’
When asked about how to police it, he said “if you think it is wrong, you have a law against it”.
He said: “Well how do you police domestic violence? If it is something you think is wrong you have a law against it.
“When you become aware of it, you tackle it. You use common sense in terms of when you give a warning saying ‘you should not be doing this’
“Along with every law that we have got, you use common sense as to how you react to it.”
A motion has been put forward to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) urging the government to “acknowledge that physical punishment can have negative long-term effects on a child’s development.”
Parents and carers are currently legally allowed to smack children lightly if it can be described as a “reasonable punishment”, according to section 58 of the Children Act 2004.
Legislation aimed at completely banning the smacking of children is currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament while the Welsh Government is also moving toward an outright ban.
A consultation on banning smacking outright concluded in Wales earlier this year and found 81% of parents think it is never acceptable to smack a child.
Huw Irranca-Davies, the Welsh Government's children and social care minister, said: "As a government, we want to ensure every parent recognises that it's never acceptable to smack a child.
"This is why we intend to bring forward legislation to make it clear that physically punishing a child is no longer acceptable in Wales."