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Parenting Guide Sheets
16. Applied Discipline

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Page 16C
d) The Illogical Nature of Opposition to Smacking
Putting this on the Internet in the year 2011 means that we have plenty of illustrations that suggest that, in authority quarters, proposals to ban smacking are merely expressions of political correctness that are little to do with human rights or the logic of the penal system or law and order generally.
We will go on to carefully define smacking and suggest it should only ever be a last resort form of discipline, but controlled, careful use of limited pain in a loving environment can in no way be even considered in the same sentence as so many other things that are considered acceptable in our society today.
(I have deleted a range of instances of worse things accepted by our society as I do not wish to detract from the subject by wandering into the wider aspects of modern society.)
Psychologically I believe that shutting a child away in their room for any length of time as a punishment is far worse than a short sharp quick smack on the bottom followed by a hug. I'll explain that more in a moment. A child whose punishment is being shut away for any period, has time to allow all sorts of negative thoughts to build up – resentment, anger, frustration, bitterness, hostility, revenge – all things we would hope to keep out of our family life.

For many young people today, being sent to their room simply means being sent to their ‘play area’ where their TV and computer games are located!
e) Ground Rules for Smacking
If smacking is the be an ultimate deterrent, and I believe it is, then the following MUST be the guidelines followed:
i) Specific wrong-doings must be clearly identified and warned against beforehand.
· A child should never be disciplined without a clear knowledge of the infringement.
· There should always be a clear warning of the discipline that will be incurred.
ii) Smacking must never be done in anger
· If you are going to use smacking you must be in total control.  
· Our child should know that this is an objective form of discipline and in no way detracts from your love for them.   

iii) Smacking must never be hasty
· There perhaps need to be a distinction between a quick rap over the hand and a several times repeated smack on the bottom.
· A quick rap, to keep hands away from an electric hotplate say, can be instant after an ignored warning, whereas a repeated smack should be ‘an event' not a rush.   

iv) The nature of the smacking should be appropriate to the misdemeanour
· A protective rap as indicated above is simply to warn off
· A wilful rebellious outright disobedience or something serious warrants anything from say one to four severe smacks on the bottom.

v) After the smack must come affirmation
· An affirmation of a hug afterwards reinforces your love and acceptance despite the necessary discipline.
· On the rare occasions our children were smacked they learned the family dictum, “After smacks, cuddles!”
vi) Smacking must be the ultimate deterrent
· A smack should only be used when all else has failed.
· It should be seen as a means of deterrent to stop your child entering into a habit of repetitive rebellious or dangerous behaviour.
· It should also cause no physical harm except brief and limited physical pain.

vii) Smacking must not be used because of your failure to use all other means first
· When we say it is the ultimate deterrent we do mean it when we say 'when all else has failed'.
· This does mean that you will have tried other means of discipline first.
f) Personal Testimony
Those who would say that violence demeans, fail to see that other of the more psychological disciplines that are used – isolation or deprivation – are far more demeaning.
Those who would say that smacking teaches a child that violence is a means to an end, have no concept of discipline applied with love as an objective, controlled, deterrent event.
Those who would say that smacking should never occur are unrealistic and we suggest that teaching controlled discipline is far better than the often uncontrolled anger outburst of the frustrated parent who has reached the end of their tether (of whom there are very many in our society.)
I have witnessed children isolated, deprived or even shouted at, and in every case I have seen a child who resents what has happened to them. On the other hand I have observed children being smacked as above and observe young people who walk away free and happy, accepting the justice that came on them and they are now free to move on.  
One of the key features of the smack, even where it is particularly painful, is that it over quickly, is soon a past event to be forgotten and allows the child to get on with life quickly with no feeling that the parent is going to hold onto the misdemeanour, for that is now well and truly dealt with.
I can perfectly understand the hostility to smacking by those who were beaten throughout their childhood by violent fathers, but that emotional anguish should not be allowed to equate that which we have been describing with what they experienced.
3. Recap
So, let's check out again what we have considered on these pages:
1. Specific Techniques for Discipline
a) Understand what we're doing – this is now dealing with the present problem.
b) Dealing with Younger Children – approaches for the younger child
c) Dealing with Older Children – things you can do as they get older
d) Look again at your child - recognise their uniqueness
2. To Smack or Not to Smack
a) The Background to my Comments – why I believe I can, and need to, comment
b) Some Parents Will Smack – this is a reality
c) Some Parents Will be in Fear – this is also a reality
d) The Illogical Nature of Opposition to Smacking- the alternatives are not as good
e) Ground Rules for Smacking – essentials if you follow this path.
f) Personal Testimony – some things I've observed over the years.
So, as you review this page, see the range of options open to you to bring discipline and IF you need to resort to smacking on rare occasions, then make sure you follow the ground rules.
Somewhere in all this we hope you will find something useful. Congratulations if you have managed to work your way right through it!

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