There was some debate amongst ParentDish commenters recently when we looked at the things that being a parent has taught us. One issue caused most discussion – is it right to smack your children or not?
I am very much in the No Smacking camp. My eldest child is ten now, so since I haven't smacked her by now I guess I never will.
In our house we have a saying: This is a No Hitting House. Adults don't hit the children (or each other), children don't hit adults, and children don't hit each other. So if my children get physical with each other, they get reminded of this. If they lash out at each other (which they don't often do), then they are made to apologise straight away. I sometimes ask if they want us to switch to a Hitting House, but funnily enough they say no to this, and stop their fights straight away.
For this is a central contradiction of physical punishment – I believe that if you smack, then you're sending the message that hitting's OK. And it's not. As Ghandi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world." I would like to see a more peaceful, less violent world, so I'm starting by creating a more peaceful household.
This doesn't mean that we don't discipline, have strong boundaries or chastise our children. We just don't do it by whacking them.
Also, I believe that whilst smacking may make sense to some adults, for the child it makes no sense at all and fails to get to the root of the problem. If you get angry with your child and whallop them, you may have exercised some of your own frustration, but what good have you really done? Smacking is just a short term response to what may be a more complex situation. It's not big and it's not clever.
What do you think? Are you pro or anti smacking children? What other forms of discipline do you use? Leave a comment below