A social media post by TV star and model Jett Kenny triggered a debate about whether it is acceptable for parents to smack their children, as punishment for bad behaviour.
Kenny, who is the son of Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny, shared a photo on his Instagram page of a misbehaving child. The star was at the doctors when he noticed a child running wild and like many people, decided to share his thoughts online.
“Give your child a goddamn smack,” he said, alongside footage of the child. According to Channel Seven’s Sunrise, the star of The Real Full Monty and Ninja Warrior then asked if any of his followers were smacked as kids and revealed he was if he was naughty.
The topic was then debated on Thursday morning’s episode of the morning TV show as host Samantha Armytage predicted that the model’s post would reignite the age-old smacking debate, but sympathised with Jett because she thought he would be hit by the “outrage machine” that takes hold on social media.
“Well I guess he thinks punishment is a good thing,” Social Commentator Jane Caro said on the show. “If he can hand it out, perhaps he needs to cop it.”
Caro claimed that parents have a tough enough time dealing with their children in public without random strangers giving them “gratuitous advice” about how they should raise their kids.
“I am opposed to smacking,” she declared. “I don’t think it works. There are much better and more sophisticated ways to deal with children who misbehave.”
She then added that people in public should be more supportive and less critical of parents dealing with children.
Armytage said that kids have always had tantrums in public and that it’s always been stressful, while 3AW’s Tom Elliot poked fun at Jett’s incorrect spelling of the word “naughty”.
“Maybe he should have been spanked more at school for not being able to spell properly,” Elliot joked. “I don’t really care about the smacking side of things, but inability to spell, that’s a big no-no for me.”
Kenny later clarified that he intentionally wrote “naughty” wrong and said that despite his post, he hadn’t said anything to the parent.
“I didn’t say anything to the parent, was just observing,” he wrote on Instagram. “I was more worried about the state the pencils were going to be in.”Of course, the segment also sparked conversation for Sunrise’s audience, with many taking to Facebook to share their opinion on the matter.
One person wrote: “If a child is taught right from wrong when they are small there would be no need to smack. My kids got a tap on the hand if they did wrong and told in a firm voice from a very young age so when they were older they knew the rules.”
Another comment read: “Yeah good on him for speaking his mind! Nothing wrong with a smack here or there. That’s the problem these days no discipline creating a generation of kids that just run wild and don’t have respect morals or anything!”
A third added: “It is a well-known fact that smacking reinforces bad behaviour, the child realises that bad behaviour means he or she has all the parent’s attention directed at them, they don’t get the fact that it is not positive attention, they just crave attention.”