Thursday, 23 February 2012

Smacking bottoms

I occasionally get asked to be a "layman commentator" for Radio Wales. I have to hovver on a particular spot where the phone sounds best, and then have to make a snap decision as to whether to give my planned answer or to make up something completely new when the question is different to what I'd expected. Last week was a prime example...

David Lammy MP had said that people have told him that the riots happened because parents are banned from smacking their kids. I thought this was a bit of a cop out to say just because some liberal lefty said you can't do something in your own home when the doors are shut. Firstly, people tend to do what they re going to do anyway. Secondly, lefties say lots of things, but no one takes much notice of the other things (I've been called a woodie leftie on many occasions, so I should know, and there are lots of other ways to discipline your kids other than wacking them.

But then I got to thinking...

Lots of people say, "my parents used to smack me (not batter me and I know there is a difference) and it never did me any harm " and we usually nod nicely and move on, but then I thought - my parents smacked me, and I m the goodest person I know! I always obey rules and get very worried when people I am with don't - I still feel guilty for going through a door the other day when there was a notice saying Use Other Door ( I couldn't see another door, so sneaked out anyway - nothing too bad happened!). So maybe smacking does work - PROPERLY work.

Dogs cuff and bite their naughty puppies, cats scratch the eyes out of their naughty kittens and maybe so in Nature we should whack our kids? Maybe we should accept that, no, it's not very pleasant, but neither is nagging children to eat their greens, but we still feel it's right for the greater good to do that.

Maybe we are thinking our kids are more flimsy than they really are - I mean, what would our kids really say if we all suddenly started smacking them again?

"didn't hurt..."
" ha ha - you got told off!"
" can't make me"
" smack him too, it was his idea "


rennieboy said...

Hello Lorraine,

I'm going on 61, so I grew up at a time when smacking children's bottoms was about as natural as you imagined. Still, my own naughty backside was never once properly warmed, not even when everyone (including me) knew I clearly deserved it.

My mum taught school, and I might've been 10 or 11 when I took a phone call from her at home late one afternoon. I've long since forgotten what she wanted, but I brazenly told her she was interrupting my favourite TV show.

It wasn't too long afterwards when she came through the front door. Her first words upon seeing me (likely still parked before the TV) were a distinctly annoyed "For two cents, I'd spank you!" And for everyone's benefit, I think she should've.

Instead of a good bum warming, I was punished with the withdrawal of affection, leaving me feeling bad about myself personally rather than sorry for what I'd done. I'm quite sure a well-smacked bottom (or two or three) would've helped me get a better handle on the critical lesson of Actions & Consequences.

We all know that child spanking has fallen out of fashion, in an age when more and more kids are being technologically spoiled. I've never been an advocate of smacking for every little thing, but if the simple, straightforward application of bare hand to bare bum no longer has a place in adjusting a child's I'm-the-boss-of-me attitude, I think there's a price to pay for it.

Some years ago, my mum admitted that she would indeed spank me if she had it to do over again. The sort of shy, sensitive boy that I was, I don't think I'd have given her much of a fight. I believe in personal accountability. If I had a smacked bottom coming to me, let's get at it. ;-)

Lorraine Jenkin said...

Hi Rennieboy! Thanks for your comments - yes, I think smacking isn't good, but what we ve replaced it with might be worse in many ways. I suppose what we all probably know is that it's not usually the punishment ( within boundaries of course) but the way it's dealt out. This is what I keep telling myself when I scream like a banshee at my children and I see them looking chastened, then when I turn away, they look at each other and snigger...