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Smacking. Yes or No? - 31 to 46
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Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Fri 30th Jul '04 8:52AM
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"Most of America's populace thinks it very improper to spank children, so my spouse and I have tried other methods to control our kids when they have one of "those moments".

One that we found very effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride.

They usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our little car ride together.

I've included the photo below of one of my sessions, with our son, in case you would like to use the technique.

Its very effective!"

    

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Fri 30th Jul '04 10:04AM
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Brilliant! Where did you get that?
   

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Fri 30th Jul '04 10:07AM
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The joys of internal office mailing lists
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sat 31st Jul '04 12:07AM
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Caption Compo:
"Stop moaning or we'll turn the windscreen wipers back on"
    

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Mon 9th Jun '08 12:31PM
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And, four years later, the thread returns!

It's been in the news quite a bit again lately - interesting to reflect on how (or if) things have changed in the intervening years. I was just emailed a link to a poll in today's Guardian, so I thought I'd share it with you all here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/poll/2008/jun/09/youngpeople.youthjustice
   

Epicure_mammon
I'm not crazy cause I take the RIGHT pills :)
Tue 10th Jun '08 9:02AM
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I've got a mate with a 2 year old kid who tried out the naughty spot trick. His facebook status last week was...

"I suspect that the naughty spot has lost its effect when Oliver voluntarily goes to sit there and read for a bit"
  

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Tue 10th Jun '08 12:31PM
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They're your kids - you raise them how you see fit. If you want to smack the little fuckers, then do it.
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Tue 10th Jun '08 3:12PM
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Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:

If you want to smack the little fuckers, then do it.



Well, until you get thrown in prison for child abuse, anyway. Enjoy your stay on the nonce wing, just don't go dropping the soap
  

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 10th Jun '08 5:03PM
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It's pretty simple to me you shouldn't do anything to a kid that you wouldn't to an adult.

I don't really see how it is different from smacking your husband or wife if they do something you don't like and I assume most people don't support that.
    

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Tue 10th Jun '08 8:09PM
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Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:
They're your kids - you raise them how you see fit. If you want to smack the little fuckers, then do it.



I'm really going to have to disagree with you there. I've always felt you bring your kids into the world in order to teach them how to live well and continue your family on throughout the generations, hopefully making the world a little better in the process. They deserve to be brought into a loving environment where they can screw up sometimes without the threat of being beaten up for it.
When kids misbehave it's usually just because they don't understand how to act or have learned bad ways (generally from the parents) and punishing them physically for your lack of teaching or bad examples seems appalling.

AG, on the 'What Would Be Your Policies?' thread you talk about the government taking children away from parents who aren't responsible enough to look after them. I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these views as (speaking purely from a personal perspective) I would have thought that smacking your kids is a prime example of lack of parental responsibility yet you are fine with it.
    

Agentgonzo
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Wed 11th Jun '08 10:32AM
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Spanners was bold enough to comment:
AG, on the 'What Would Be Your Policies?' thread you talk about the government taking children away from parents who aren't responsible enough to look after them. I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these views as (speaking purely from a personal perspective) I would have thought that smacking your kids is a prime example of lack of parental responsibility yet you are fine with it.


I don't see that smacking your kids is a major problem. Beating them to a pulp or whacking them so hard that you injure them - yes, that's a problem. Yes, you can probably get away without smacking them and I know that a lot of people never smack their kids, but that doesn't mean that parents who smack their kids are wrong. I see it as just another way to administer punishment and as long as you can do it without permanent mental or physical scarring then where's the problem.

Not every kid who is smacked will grow up to be a wife-beater and anyone who thinks that any kind of smacking always leads to problems in later life is just naive. Yes, it can lead to problems if you smack too hard/often, but that's the same with everything.


I'm no way near having kids and I'm sure that I'll have some more informed views if/when I do get around to having kids. I don't know whether or not I would smack my own kids in that situation.
  

Allen Key
Stagnating, like a packet of crisps on the roof.
Wed 11th Jun '08 4:05PM
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I donít normally weigh in on The Big Questions since Iím not great at arranging my thoughts in any kind of coherent way, but Iíve had a good old think about this one, so here goes. Sorry folks, itís going to be a long one

Firstly Ė I do not approve of smacking as a means of punishment. I canít for one second think that I would or could ever hit a child, nor indeed an adult (I reserve the right to adjust this opinion should I ever find myself within striking range of Piers Morgan).

However, I say this as a single childless woman with no care-giving responsibilities to anyone but myself. (Gosh, my life sounds bleak...)



Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:
I'm no way near having kids and I'm sure that I'll have some more informed views if/when I do get around to having kids. I don't know whether or not I would smack my own kids in that situation.



I think this is a totally valid point, and I think this is an issue on which itís easier to say yea or nay when oneís some way distant from actually having to make that call. Iíd be interested to know how many people whoíve posted on this thread have ever had to care for a small child for any length of time? I occasionally look after my nephew, and most of the time heís the loveliest boy ever Ė even so, heís a lot of work. However, like his mum when she was his age, he can throw tantrums that would send NATO forces running for cover, and dealing with that is literally one of the hardest things Iíve ever had to do. Children at that age do not know how to reason or debate or negotiate or compromise when they find themselves in a situation they donít like Ė they know how to scream and cry and throw things and spit and bite Auntie Allen Key, and itís incredibly frustrating and upsetting when youíre trying everything you can think of to calm him down, but nothingís working because heís so het up.

Luckily, Nephew is generally well-behaved, the tantrums are few and far between, they blow themselves out eventually and everything quickly gets back to normal, but some kids have unbelievable stamina if thereís howling they think needs to be done. I canít imagine how it would feel to be the parent of a child Ė or children Ė who routinely behaved like that.

I donít think I was ever smacked. If I was, I donít remember it. My sister on the other hand was smacked by our mum 3 times. My líil sis would be the first to admit that until she was 5 or so, she could be an utter git. The tantrums my nephew has occasionally, she was having at least daily. Our dad was out at work all day while our mum didnít go back to work till we were both at school, so as Iím 2 years older, for a lot of that time my mum and sister were alone together with the tantruming which could be triggered by anything Ė Neighbours finishing, the wrong flavour yoghurt, anything. Years later I found out we were also struggling financially at the time, so Mum was really up against it. How do I remember my sister was smacked 3 times? Because they were 3 of the 4 times Iíve ever seen my mum cry.

I wouldnít normally parade my family in a public forum in this way (and Iím not offering it as a definitive ruling on the topic, just my own experience), but I wanted to address one of the earlier comments about how a smack in the heat of the moment gives a child the message that itís ok if youíre wound up enough (Iíve paraphrased, apologies if I took the comment out of context). My mum did it, she hated herself for doing it, we all understood at the time that everyoneís behaviour had been unacceptable, and I know I speak for my sister when I say weíd never, ever suggest that she let either of us down as a parent by doing it. These things happen. Itís unfortunate, but they do. And for the record, my sister has never smacked her son.

Iíll say again Ė I donít approve of smacking as a punishment, just as I donít approve of any kind of physical or verbal violence towards anyone of any age. I do not in any way condone parents who smack their children because they canít be arsed to try any other form of discipline. But Iíve experienced for a few hours the kind of behaviour some people are subjected to day in, day out and, speaking for myself, I think Iíll only know for definite what Iíd do in that situation if and when I ever get there. Most of us probably have theories about the best way to raise a child, but sometimes the child in question has other ideas, and then you get conflict. I truly hope Iíd never resort to smacking, but if a good person like my mum can be driven to it, I know I canít guarantee Iíd be immune, and I honestly donít believe that parents who occasionally snap under the pressure should be judged too harshly. None of us can claim to keep our self-control 100% of the time, particularly in times of emotional stress. Yes, of course when a childís involved itís awful, and of course itís a parentís responsibility to make sure no harm comes to their child whether at someone elseís hand or their own, but as the saying goes Ė nobodyís perfect. Even with the best of intentions, we all make mistakes, and a good parent will help their child understand that.

The original question, way back when, was whether smacking should be illegal. I say yes, but thatís a decision Iíve come to after some thought. Not because I doubt smackingís wrong Ė I donít Ė but I was concerned, and still am, that mud sticks when it comes to allegations of any kind of child abuse, and some good and loving parents could potentially find themselves in serious trouble arising from an act committed in an entirely human lapse of self-control, for which theyíd most likely be punishing themselves far more severely than the state could.

But ultimately, if smacking is legal, thereís a dangerous grey area. Itís the children who are vulnerable and have the least recourse to defend themselves from those parents whoíd abuse that, so of course itís their welfare that has to take priority.

So those are my thoughts, as far as I can marshall them. 1,060 words (plus quote), if youíre interested. Blimey.
 

Clara
Even red onions have a silver lining
Wed 11th Jun '08 5:10PM
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Allen Key was bold enough to assert lots of very sensible and valid thoughts.




Round of applause for Allen Key!
 

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Wed 11th Jun '08 5:20PM
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That highlights the difference between smacking as a planned part of your approach to discipline or as a reaction to stress.
I think the first is a bad judgement call and doesn't set a good example while the second is unfortunate, but ultimately forgiveable provided it is relatively minor.
    

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Mon 16th Jun '08 10:06AM
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Excellent post Allen Key!

I think my problem here is a purely technical one. I would have to say I'm not adverse to the idea of smacking - although I'll freely admit it's something of a grey area that I'd need to spend much more time thinking about before I could fully justify why I'm fine with it. The best I could give you is a vague memory of being horrified that I'd driven my Mum to it the one time she did smack me.

Anyway, if smacking is legal then there becomes a problem of how you define it - and more importantly how do you define when someone has crossed the line. Is one open handed hit acceptable but any more than that wrong? What if you're particularly strong? Or the child has brittle bones? Do you define it by how much injury is caused to the child - which you won't actually know until after the smack is administered...

I always enjoy new laws that force people to actually try to define an indefinable thing (I'm still quite enjoying the smoking bans definition of 'an enclosed space'). A smack sounds like a simple thing to define, but I'm really not sure that it actually is.

Oh, and I think that Allen Key is completely right - this discussion predisposes that the child is acting rationally - but if they were then the wouldn't need to be smacked anyway. Sorry, that's a bit of a jumble of thoughts.
   

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