Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Should we smack our kids?
If you'd have asked me about five years ago if I thought it was okay to slap a child, I would probably have said yes. At the time I thought a good hard slap across the legs or on the hand, never did anyone any harm. In fact, I would have said it'd probably make them a better adult.
These days I'm not so sure.
I now have a 4 year old boy who I adore and even though he has his moments of seriously winding me up, I just couldn't justify slapping him. He's 4 years old and defenceless so he can't fight back! That to me seems very unfair.
The 'naughty step', 'time out', 'carpet time', whatever you want to call it, works perfectly well for me. My little boy hates it. If I gave him a slap, the sting would be over in seconds and I think he'd prefer that to five minutes on the naughty step.
I've had people argue that if they don't smack their children, the child will never learn to do what it's told. The only explanation I can give to that is that perhaps the discipline given to their child when they were toddlers, wasn't quite effective enough.
I suspect many parents don't follow through on their threats of discipline, and the child doesn't take them seriously anymore. An example of this would be sending a child to the naughty step for five minutes and letting them get off after just one, or as soon as they apologise. Another example could be, giving a '5 count' and not doing anything when you get to '0'. Of course the child isn't going to take you seriously. Why should he. He knows he'll get away with it.
A friend of mine's partner used to start a five count when her child had misbehaved and the child would finish it for her. When he got to zero he'd say "yeah whatever" and his mum would leave it at that! Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think that child learnt much from the five count. So that's when slapping might have to come into play.
Are some parents making a rod for their own backs?
I was watching Coronation Street last week, where Owen, slapped his partner's daughter Faye, while his partner Anna was out. ITV received a number of complaints about the episode suggesting it shouldn't have been broadcast. What are your views? I have mixed emotions. I could see why Owen was angry. Faye - who is about 9 - deliberately slaughtered Owen's fish by pouring creosote into his fish pond. However she isn't his daughter so he should have let Anna deal with it when she got back. But what would Anna have done? Sent her to her room? Is that really a punishment? Perhaps Anna might have given her a slap across the legs? How effective would that be? This scenario is a bit of a can of worms because Faye is adopted and her earlier life was complicated, but if it was your child who had poisoned someone else's fish, how would you deal with it?
Tricky! I'm not totally against slapping children, I just couldn't do it myself.
Where do you stand on the matter?