Kate Ivens, education director of charity, Real Action, and vice-chairman for the Campaign for Real Education, was asked by Jeremy Kyle on ‘Good Morning Britain’ whether smacking should be an “ultimate” punishment or a “regular” punishment.
“I’m saying we have a tactile relationship with our children,” Ivens responded on Tuesday 16 August.
Ivens continued: “We hug them, we kiss them, we breastfeed them and so on and there are times when, like a child running out into the road, I remember when my children did that and I shook them [and said]: ‘Never you do this again.’
“After that my children would run freely down the road with complete freedom and always stopped at the curb, always.”
The ‘Good Morning Britain’ debate followed a Twitter poll the ITV show ran that showed - out of 6,979 votes - 55% of respondents agreed with smacking, while 45% disagreed.
Ivens continued: “Is it always wrong? I think the thing about smacking is, in order to be clear, because there’s so many interpretations of what a smack is, people feel like they have to come down on one side or another.”
A former teacher, Sue Atkins, spoke on the show about why she disagreed with smacking.
″The problem with smacking is where do you start and when do you stop?” she said.
“It’s hard; what if you’re angry and you actually lose the plot and you smack a child?
“I used to be a deputy head and class teacher for 25 years so if a child hits another child in the playground, you say that’s aggression.”
Ivens replied to Atkins, saying: “I don’t think you are being violent I think you are making a tactile contact with your child.”
Previously speaking to HuffPost UK on the topic of smacking, Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of Fundamentally Children said she believes the current law around smacking is “just about right”, arguing kids who don’t have the cognitive or emotional ability to understand consequences may, on occasion, benefit from a physical consequence.
“It is the context that is paramount here,” she continued.
“If a child knows he/she is loved unconditionally and has consistent boundaries, and an emotionally stable home, and has received an occasional smack for repeated dangerous behaviour, it is very different from a child who lives in fear of getting smacked inconsistently and for the mildest of misdemeanours.
“It is this second form of discipline that is most damaging to a child’s emotional development.”
‘Good Morning Britain’ is on ITV on weekdays from 6am-8.30am.