Home » Politics: Thoughts, Ideas & Opinions » One Smack Won’t Hurt

One Smack Won’t Hurt

Image from The Guardian newspaper

Image from The Guardian newspaper



This post is a quick response to the above article featured in The Telegraph newspaper.


It led me to wondering what people’s actual opinions are about smacking children when they are naughty.

Isn’t there a difference in beating a child senseless and a light tap on the hand or bottom???

Does smacking a child always mean they will be physiologically disturbed when they grow up???

Or do they become violent adults????

Is it possible to fully reason with a 5 year old?? Explaining to them that their behaviour is wrong, and asking them why they engaged in such behaviour????

Is it the states responsibility to intervene, and create laws forbidding parents to discipline their children as they see fit????

Has this all gone too far – admit you smack your child and face the wrath of Hell????

After all – extreme cases of abuse and diabolical stories of children suffering go unnoticed by the powers that be. They don’t intervene , they don’t arrest anyone, they don’t remove the child, they don’t work to change the child’s environment. So, why are they so concerned with one tiny tap on the hand???

Are the powers that be only interested in the ‘easy’ targets???? Accusing parents who genuinely care for and love their children of abuse, when really it isn’t?????????

Another thought; has a decline in smacking correlated with the decline in society????????????????

OPINIONS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

23 thoughts on “One Smack Won’t Hurt

  1. Hi Bex,

    I’ll admit that I haven’t read the article you’ve linked to before writing this…

    I was smacked as a child and I know I wrote about it on my blog somewhere. There’s one incident that I’ve never forgotten and my mum claims it was the only time my dad hit me… I’ve always felt as though there was more and the fear of ‘what was coming next’ is something I can remember feeling throughout my youth (in to my teens, even).

    I’ve probably mentioned this to you in an e-mail at some point but I do have issues with my dad and I’m afraid of him to the point that I cannot maintain eye contact with him – it’s worse than in any other social situation. That could be compounded by other factors, including his absence/distance from us when I was a child.

    Psychological studies apparently show that smacking is has long lasting effects on an individual’s development through life. My counsellor used to refer to it as an unacceptable form of abuse. No-one deserves it, for whatever they might have done. A classic example is when a child steals something from a shop. Receiving a smack leaves them to associate that fear and pain with the experience of being in a store.

    People of an older generation seem to accept smacking, as it’s how they were bought up. That’s just it though… When you’re young, you still have a lot to learn and you look up to and trust your parents. You accept their punishment and even their abuse, assuming that it is ‘right’. If our parents ‘believe’ in it then, we’re also going to experience that, as it passes down through the generations until one person is able to take a step back and ask a question. Any abuser is probably only repeating the effects they’ve suffered earlier in their own life.

    But then, what are the alternatives and how might they affect a young mind?

    If you send someone to their bedroom or sit them in a corner, could that be seen as a form of rejection? Would that be setting the child up for a life of isolation?

    I’m not an angry person following my own experiences (at least, I hope not!). Far from it; I try hard to be unlike my father. I only really get angry when someone I know personally is being abused because it isn’t fair. No-one deserves that.

    • Hi Brandon,

      Thanks for your response on this topic. Also, for sharing your personal experiences, I appreciate it completely.

      Yes, you have mentioned some of your feelings and experiences with this previously to me. The points you raise regarding the psychology behind it (for parents and children), and also the therapists opinion, is interesting. I can see how negative association with a smack could possibly hamper a child in certain settings.

      If any smack or discipline could be seen as akin to accepted abuse, because of the parent’s status/role in a child’s life; what would be the best way to ‘modify’ a child’s behaviour or teach them right from wrong??? What do you feel would have been best for you??

      Thanks again Brandon,
      Bex 🙂

      • I honestly have no idea, Bex! But smacking comes as too strong a shock; alerting too many senses when I already felt guilty for being caught or found out.

        Obviously, that feeling of guilt and the fear/expectation of being caught wasn’t enough to hold me back. Perhaps that has more to do with age?

        Do you have any thoughts???

        • Hi Brandon,
          Well I see your point. Thanks for adding to your previous points, I hoped you would 🙂

          I actually think all kids are different and respond to different things. I do know, time out or the naughty step can work. I also think a good relationship with your kids has to be essential, and talking to them, explaining things – not just disciplining them when they make a mistake or whatever; is important.

          Perhaps it is trial and error – as parent’s are people after all and make mistakes, they don’t have all the answers.

          Perhaps different situations warrant different actions too; a smack for everything would be ridiculous, but perhaps for something serious – well then OK. Perhaps it is the last resort to something, rather than first response????

          Bex 🙂

  2. Agh, you have two of these opinion things today. My poor brain is going to explode! If you asked me this last week I would have agreed that there might be some situations where corporeal punishment was warranted for certain infractions. Now, my opinion has changed. (I’ll have a blog entry later about what has changed since last week, don’t want to hijack your comments).

    I can remember only one time my father spanked me. I feel I deserved it. I was being a spoiled brat. But I’m not sure now that the spanking actually changed my mindset.

    In his book, “Terminal Man”, Michael Crichton talks about the cookie jar theory. I’m summing this up from memory, but it goes like this: If your child goes into the cookie jar when he shouldn’t, if you gently take him away and show him affection, the child associates doing something he knows he shouldn’t with love and will only be encouraged to keep going for the cookie jar when he shouldn’t. Whereas, if you smack his hand when he is reaching for the cookie jar, he is going to associate pain and think twice before doing it again.

    Knowing what I know now, I’d ask this question: what will the child do when you’re not there? In either scenario the child will most likely still go to the cookie jar, because his mindset hasn’t changed. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

    Now when I was spanked, do you know what the worst thing was for me? It wasn’t the spanking, it was knowing I had displeased my father and that he was angry. As a child, I understood this, and this is what hurt the most.

    Now back to the cookie jar child. When a child does something wrong, we will most likely get angry, even if just a little. The child will know we are angry and he (or she) will know, most likely, why we are angry. At this point we could punish him physically or we could do something else. You can reason with a 5 year old. Children are not stupid, but they don’t always grasp everything.

    Now here is what I think the best course of action would be. It’s not enough to sit down and explain why what the child did was wrong. We should look at it as an opportunity to help the child grow. We should sit down and explain simply and clearly what he did was wrong but then we should explore ways of things he could do to earn a cookie. We should help create the mindset that by working hard and accomplishing goals, the child can earn a cookie. If he does reach for the cookie jar when he shouldn’t, he is put in the penalty box for a time out and then after start over again with his goal to earning a cookie.

    It’s not enough to simply punish a child, we need to provide for them a path to grow. I would say the lack of a work ethic is correlated with the decline of society rather than the lack of smacking.

    • I am sorry, I couldn’t resist!!!! I just read an article about this, and felt it was something still relevant for everyone, whether; parents, teachers, guardians or just us all remembering our childhoods! Yet, thank you for your considered input and opinion, which is much valued!!!!!!!!

      I find your points interesting and fascinating. I certainly don’t mind the ‘hijacking’ of the comment section!!! Opinions and thoughts are always welcome en masse here!!!

      Certainly I think back to being little, and remember I was smacked, and this worked for me as I refrained from bad behaviour. I can recall twice when in particular the motive for the eventual smack, and ‘the talk’ accompanying that, really stuck with me. Yet, as you have said it isn’t all about the smack – it is about talking to the child too, ensuring they understand their behaviour is not tolerated and can make connections with that as to why. ‘A path to grow’, rather than being stunted with just a smack, explanation and ‘teaching’ needed.
      I was smacked rarely as actually I would only have to have one particular look from my Mother, and then I knew I was being naughty, and refrained. So, perhaps learning to respect a parent, their authority and knowledge can also help children to understand bad behaviour is wrong?

      As you have said, I think for me too, it was knowing I had displeased or upset my parents. That hurt me, and therefore I didn’t want to repeat the action.

      I also think the time out theory can work too. I have used that with children of family members. I was actually surprised how effective it was!!!!!

      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

  3. I think the concept of a light smack on the bum when your little does work to tell the little one that yes they are naughty and are in the wrong but this right to smack if given to the wrong people can be used wrongly by the people who think repeatedly battering or hitting a child and making them scared of them in order to make themselves the superior is the wrong thing to do as it does either damage the child emotionally which is linked to developing anxiety issues and mental health issues or unintentionally following in the same footsteps of their aggressive parents and doing the same to their kids. You don’t know if that would happen so I would say don’t allow snacking you can discipline children in other ways.

    • Thanks for your input and opinion on this Faye. I appreciate it completely.

      The points you have raised are interesting; it is true you can never know how a child will react or develop after being smacked. Also it is never certain how ‘smacking’ will work if implemented by all parents/guardians and so on.

      Their are always abuse of powers, so of course this may not be any different. It would be person specific, and there in lies the problems.

      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on The Musings of Lady Gwendolynn and commented:
    To see my FULL 3 page Rant/Comment on Bex blog, please visit the official page of this story of hers to see my comment when it’s up. Thank you!
    P.S. Reason you didn’t see it in this Reblog comment…apparently Reblog hates 3 page replies/comments. XD You’ve been warned!

  5. Merry Meet Bex!

    Immediately when I saw the title for your latest topic I knew I HAD to comment! Lol
    I’m re-blogging this too so I know it’s going to look like a “WALL” of text to my readers, so for those of you who want to read this comment in its proper format, please see “The Savvy Senoritas” blog for the proper formatted comment so it’s not a “Wall o’text” for you. 🙂 Thank you!

    I do have my own personal feelings on this, because I was someone who was spanked and often hit as a child growing up. Some people I know, many of my friends, kind of wear this “Badge of Honor” about it to say we aren’t as “Spoiled” or feeling “Entitled” as many of the Teens and young adults (I do fall into this category but I don’t feel anyone owes me anything, for the record 😛 ) do now. I think there are a few major factors as to why a child can turn out to be “Bad” or at least not a very good “Citizen” when they reach Adult age, but that’s a tangent for another day.

    Let’s get back on topic.

    I don’t think kids should be “smacked” or “spanked” unless it is a LAST resort. There are several other forms of punishment that do not “require” physical actions of this nature that parents can devise. However, parents also have to be careful what they make as a punishment as well. Making a “Chore” like “Washing the Dishes” or “Taking out the garbage” would not be ideal as punishment because it doesn’t build a positive association with the task on a Psychological level.

    I figured, if and when I have children of my own the 1st thing as a parent I’m going to do is, sit them down and ask them what they did wrong or what they FEEL they DID wrong. No one did this for me as a child. They smacked, hit or spanked THEN asked questions later and even then I didn’t get to give my side of the story. That’s NOT how it should be done. By giving children the courtesy and chance to “own up” to their actions, they may be more inclined to “trust” their parents, guardians or authority figures in general, possibly a stronger personal “Bond” as well. They will also see that “telling the truth” can be a “Good thing” so long as the appropriate actions are taken.

    My next step would be to ask my child, “What do you want to do as a form of punishment to make amends for what you have done?” If the child can’t think of something, maybe the parent and child can brainstorm together about it until they can possibly agree on something. If the child can’t come up with anything, then of course the parent thinks of something. Simple.

    Putting a child in time-out may or may not work, depending but it’s a good try and start for a non-violent punishment. Taking away anything like Television and Video Games is also good. Maybe restricting their time that they get to play with friends or something as well, but make sure they still get some exercise as I know Childhood obecity is currently a Hot Issue. I know. 😛

    Now you see me talking about “Non-violent” punishments because many people believe that “Violence” of any kind is a “learned” habit. It CAN be – if the now adult child does not decide to “Break” the cycle of Violence, Hatred or whatever. Often children who are smacked or spanked pass it on to the next generation. I mentioned earlier these are the forms of punishment that were used on myself. I did not like them. I did not appreciate them. They really were unnecessary and uncalled for in many instances because no one stopped to bother to ask for my side of the story.

    I am CHOOSING to break this cycle. When I recall moments in my childhood where I’d try to retaliate against my mother by hitting her BACK in return for hitting me on the arm or something, she’d retaliate back in kind. I only returned fire because my thinking was, “If you get to hit me, then I should get to hit and hit/hurt you too! It’s only fair!” As Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, but when I was still so young I didn’t really completely understand this. After getting smacked back in return again though, I realized trying to have a “Hit Fight” with my Mother was a moot point and would get me no where real fast. I didn’t like it but there wasn’t much else I could do.

    Getting to your questions though, let’s address those since I’ve ranted enough about my own opinion regarding child care and punishment.

    Q: Isn’t there a difference in beating a child senseless and a light tap on the hand or bottom?

    A: Yes there is. Absolutely! But now a days you can’t even do the “light” taps because some other parent will get “bent out of shape” over it and report you. Some kids know about the “Child Abuse” laws and threaten their own parents that if they use any form of physical punishment on them, they’ll report them. It’s ridiculous!
    It’s a “Common Sense” issue and unfortunately people have either become, blind, stupid or dumb – something – because they can’t seem to tell the difference anymore between genuine ABUSE and what is a innocent parent just trying to do their best to teach their child about “boundaries” and the like. People are just too “hyper-sensitive” about this topic right now and need to simmer down. They won’t be able to properly address the issue until they are all thinking clearly without their emotions completely over-riding their sense of “logic”.
    Granted, emotions CAN be good – but if the examples in the news regarding the NRAs behavior and those of the Victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting are an example of anything, it’s what I’m talking about. Tensions are very high right now with the whole “Gun Control issue”.

    Q: Does smacking a child always mean they will be psychologically disturbed when they grow up?
    Or do they become violent adults?

    A: No; I don’t believe so. Yes; sometimes I might playfully punch a friend in the arm, but I’m not strong enough to do any real hurtful damage and I never intend to do more harm than just a light punch to the arm or something like a gentle “Gib Smack” (that’s an NCIS reference. An upward smack to the back of the head for those who don’t know). Full blown violent adult though? I think that would depend on several other factors regarding their childhood and upbringing.
    The only “Psychological Disturbed” feelings I have – is just the general disappointment of how I feel society has “declined” as far as Common Sense, Humanity, Honesty, Integrity and several other key moral values that we used to hold dear like a generation or several before. That’s what disturbs me. 😛

    Q: Is it possible to fully reason with a 5 year old? Explaining to them that their behavior is wrong, and asking them why they engaged in such behavior?

    A: I covered that one in my rant earlier. XD I’m going to TRY!

    Q: Is it the states responsibility to intervene, and create laws forbidding parents to discipline their children as they see fit?

    A: The only time I feel the state needs to get involved – is when it is a genuine case of Child Abuse/Cruelty. No other time should the Local or National Government get involved in such things. I hate to say it, to a certain extent, but it is peoples right to raise their child as they see fit. Other people need to understand that, especially other parents at times too.
    Q: Has this all gone too far – admit you smack your child and face the wrath of Hell?

    A: I think to a fair extent – it certainly has. People are finding new or old ways to get P. O.ed or a stick up their butt about just anything and everything it seems and I think that’s kind of sad. Makes me wonder, “Don’t you have anything else better to do other than to complain about how other people want to live their lives?” Granted I do know Child Abuse is nothing to snuff your nose at and I think it’s very important we EDUCATE people in how to IDENTIFY signs of abuse, but that doesn’t mean either that we should have people jump to conclusions, running around crying “Wolf” either.

    Q: After all – extreme cases of abuse and diabolical stories of children suffering go unnoticed by the powers that be. They don’t intervene , they don’t arrest anyone, they don’t remove the child, they don’t work to change the child’s environment. So, why are they so concerned with one tiny tap on the hand?

    A: It’s a good question and I think the only real reason they are sticking their nose into it – is because there have been so many cases of Child Abuse reported over the years and because there are people out there making a NOISE about it wanting JUSTICE for all. However, the other question you really need to ask is – at what cost? To what extreme are we going to go with this? That’s what I’m most concerned about.

    Q: Are the powers that be only interested in the ‘easy’ targets? Accusing parents who genuinely care for and love their children of abuse, when really it isn’t?

    A: I honestly don’t know – but they might be unless we EDUCATE normal everyday people about what signs to look for in order to PROPERLY identify cases of Child Abuse so they can more adequately report.
    This reminds me of a case of Child Abuse that really sucked for the child and I wished there was something someone could have done. The child had very little proper or access to healthy foods/meals to eat when they came home from school. The only thing their parent left them was like a bag of Junk Food, potato chips or something. Admittedly, I didn’t always snack on the healthiest of things either when I got home, but a bag of potato chips would not be the thing I’d go straight for all the time or even want if I’m really hungry.
    In this case of abuse though, they said they couldn’t do anything because so long as they child had access to SOMETHING to eat, it was NOT abuse – which in this case to me, is idiotic because you can clearly see it might be, especially if this was a continuous ritual of the child’s daily routine. :/

    Q: Another thought; has a decline in smacking correlated with the decline in society?

    A: I think a proper lack of “Boundaries” and forms of “Punishment” being set to help build proper “Character” is what has helped the decline of society. Whether or not that correlates to Smacking/Spanking and other forms of physical punishment, I cannot say, but I’m pretty sure about the first sentence of my paragraph here that THAT is what is the problem, less so what form it is. Might be part of the problem too but it depends on the child, circumstances, etc.

    I can think of some other stories involving Parent Neglect that I felt were highly unfair to say the “Non-parents” involved, but again – that’s a rant for another day.


    P.S. I was going to “Reblog” this with my comment attached – but I think Reblog HATES that my comment wasn’t short and 3 pages long. ^.^; So I’ll reblog and then make a brief comment about how people should come visit your actual page to see my full 3 page rant/comment on the subject. XD

    • Merry meet Gweny!!!!!!!!
      I am overwhelmed!!!! I truly loved your response!!! I appreciate 100% your candour of your own experiences; for me that makes your response that more pertinent. I was hoping people might state in their comments what they felt growing up, and receiving a smack. I know another blogger has done this already, which I was thankful for. That was the type of response (what you have delivered) I was hoping for. You have covered everything fully and with such interesting added extras!!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. experiences and opinions with me, and the readers.
      I also love how you have addressed my questions; your answers are superb and comprehensive!!! I do agree with your points too, which I won’t cover individually, but ‘educating normal people’, ‘lack of boundaries’ the fact that you talked about building a relationship with parents and being spoken to about the behaviour. All of your points were interesting and so true!!!
      I feel honoured by your re-blog, and for all your wonderful comments/opinions.
      Many, many thanks,
      Bex XD

      • You’re very welcome and I’m glad you feel my comment could help. I do like to be thorough and part of my Journey/Experience in life is to share what I can, not just about myself and my personal experiences, but also that which others have shared with me in a way that is conducive for helping others learn and helping them to grow.

        Maybe become more knowledgeable and being Knowledgeable, especially in regards to this subject – I feel is the MOST important of all. Again, you’re very welcome!


        • Thank you for that Gweny!! So true, and I am grateful for what you have shared, and the knowledge you are indeed passing it on. Being able to have such ‘discussion’ is what blogging is about for me; being able to make connections with excellent writers and people who are willing to share, encourage, support and inspire!!!!
          Thanks again, you are a star!
          Bex 🙂

  6. I remember when my dad gave me a spanking. He told me that if I didn’t finish my homework by dinner time, he’d give me a spanking. It hurt, and I was never tardy with my homework again.

    He never lost his temper, however, and he never slapped me in the face – or my siblings. That was my mom’s deal. Well, not her deal in that she did it regularly, maybe once or twice a year.

    It is when people lose their temper that slapping becomes domestic violence, imho. The slippery slope is the emotional gratification after the release of anger. After a while, the source and the target of the anger are no longer the same, and that is also when children learn from the angry parent that violence solves everything.

    • Yes, it often has that effect as it is a quick and direct consequence.

      Of course, the difference I feel is the same. If someone is smacking their child in temper, or enjoys it, then it is abuse. Yet, speaking of domestic violence – just one push can be constitute to fit that description.Emotional or psychological abuse too are in the same category.

      I suppose we draw different lines depending on our beliefs, our experiences and what is ‘normal’ for us and our society. One person’s discipline is another person’s abuse.

      I do think that a child can learn the anger from a parent. Children pick up on the sentiment and emotion behind all interactions, so discipline would be the same. They could then become ‘damaged’ and might also mimic their parent’s reactions in later life.

      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

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