Is it time to ban smacking? 367



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When it comes to the law on smacking children, Australia is becoming an odd one out.

There are 45 countries which have made it illegal to use physical punishment as discipline including New Zealand, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, but it’s still legal to smack children in Australia.

Paediatricians are now stepping in, saying it’s time for the profession as a group to advocate for a ban on smacking.

Kim Oates, Professor of Paediatrics at Sydney University has told ABC Radio National, paediatricians and other health professionals should lead the charge against smacking.

“All children need discipline, we’re absolutely clear about that, but physical punishment is just one form of discipline,’” she told Life Matters. “It’s not particularly effective in the long-term, a lot of research has shown that”.

“It does have a temporary effect. All parents who’ve smacked their children know it works in the short-term, but long-term it’s not an effective measure”.

According to Professor Oates, physical punishment teaches children that violence is an effective means of imposing their will on others.

“In an individual child it may not cause harm. Most of us were smacked as children and we think we’ve turned out OK. But there’s accumulating research evidence — a big study from Canada showed that half the cases of physical abuse of children started as mild smacking and the parent gets out of control … there’s certainly evidence that it makes children who are smacked regularly more aggressive than other people”.


Were you smacked as a child and did you, in turn, smack your own children? Does smacking cause more harm than good, as this new evidence suggests?  Is it time for Australia to fall in line with 45 other countries who have made it illegal to smack children?

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  1. I can’t understand why it is not illegal here, most violence starts with a slap and then slap escalates to something far worse, there are other ways to discipline your children, such as time out, or saying no to an outing

    19 REPLY
    • so do you Wendy Bidden , you need to get a bit of dignity..remember this, your trouble making in SAS, then you stupidly went to your home page an put it there..not very bright

    • Janet Farmer you are right slapping is not the answer … Parents have other means …. But need to be consistent… Which I guess is harder than slapping ….. What a slap is to one person is a belting to another

    • A smack is needed and is very effective when administered with the right motive. The violence and disrespect we see today has come about due to lack of discipline. Which is worse: a slap on the bottom or a mouthful of ‘don’t do that! Please don’t do that and the child yelled at? Giving into a child’s demand for whatever with ‘nie behave? What was achieved? The Child learning they misbehave and get what they want! There are so many example of this everywhere! Sorry a slap is much better.

    • Gee Janet Farmer don’t know what family you grew up in . But a smack on the bum does not start violence . And if not smacking children when they are naughty is so wonderful and the correct way to bring a child up . Then can you please explain why the youth and kids of today are running amok and have no respect for themselfs or others

    • So because Janet Farmer you never needed a smack no one does correct ? Have you ever been to prison ? I would say not so I guess no one deserves to go to prison . Everyone is different , no 2 people are the same what works for some won’t work with others .

  2. Even if it’s illegal the bashers will still do it behind closed doors.

    1 REPLY
    • Those who bash children are not going to take any notice of any new laws.

  3. I thought it already was.

    5 REPLY
  4. I think most kids need a smack occasionally. ….not every time yhey are naughty but as a last result…..and i do not mean a bashing!! A smack with the hand on the backside, when all other avenues have fail to get the correct behavior from a defiant child. Trouble is, many parents aren’t consistant enough with other punishments and so , very often, kids are not punished for their bad behaviour and therefore don’t learn the consequences of bad behaviour!

    10 REPLY
  5. Smacking and bashing are two separate things. Toddlers don’t grow up with any kind of damage if you tap them on the hand when they are naughty. Time out is a waste of time and only controls the temper of the adults. There are more uncontrollable kids these days then when I was a kid. We didn’t take knives to school with the intention of doing any harm to the other kids. Don’t blame the food they eat. Blame the parent. They treat the children like little adults. They call their sons their little man. A little bit of discipline goes a long way. A lot of parents out there have no idea how to bring up children.

    10 REPLY
    • Where’s the research that shows ‘toddlers don’t grow up with any kind of damage ….’ – or is this just your opinion?

    • I am not being nasty. You are just a bit too thin skinned. Life is worth a laugh. You mustn’t have much of a life if you can go hrough these pages and pick out a conversation I was having with someone else on this page. Maybe you need a hobby?

    • read this Wendy Bidden, because you are offensive, your rude to others who do not agree with you. Your comments to Janet Farmer were not called for

    • Joy Stennet is my sister and I can remember our mother giving her a flogging one day because she dared to say the word DAMN. Only time I ever saw my mother lose it.

  6. Well the time has come to take a step back and look at the garbage that is now ok in this fantastic world we live in look at the results of no punishment to children what good has come out of this just go down the street have a good look and spare the rod ruin the child I gave our children a smack when they would not listen ask them now and what would they say we deserved it I rest my case

    13 REPLY
    • Good on you Don. Must be because you are a male that none of these women will have a go at you. Whenever I say what you just said I am being nasty.

    • Good for you, saying what everyone really thinks but too afraid to say. Yes, I was smacked, and countless of my generation…and it didn’t do us any harm whatsoever. Today’s generation would be better off for a few sharp smacks!

    • You missed something Don. It is NOT about no punishment. It’s about no smacking. You have to actually extend some thought and energy into creating discipline.

    • oh yea – and like it works Pauline …….hahahaha, dont make me laugh, I was smacked – yes smacked not beaten and it didn’t do me or my many friends any harm, however I look around now a days and see very little respect for adults by children who have had it far to easy ……

    • it’s the parents that need to have a smack these days and wake them up that children need to have discipline.

    • Today , kids smack the parents and teachers ,I think theyre deserve a good smack to teach them some discipline and respect , like we were use to do

    • Once no smacking comes in,there will be no discipline either…a smack on the hand teaches little ones when older you can reason with them…but once Governments starts making rules on how to treat your families it won’t stop there…the naughty chair would be barred too…sending them to their room to think about their bad behaviour would not be allowed…my children are all grown up and l have grand children all grown up and in UNI,they have respect for their elders and not one of them ever gave me cheek, discipline and ABUSE are worlds apart …

    • A smack on the backside never hurt me . And it taught me to respect my elders . Now look at the youth of today . Most are spoilt rotten and have no respect for anyone or anything .

    • I agree with you 100% Don and just look at all these little DARLINGS as we call them, they do as they like, NO RESPECT FOR ANYBODY OR ANYTHING. This is all the DO-GOODERS doing. It started with MALCOLM FRASER I REMEMBER very well

    • My 2 year old daughter got a light smack on her well padded nappy behind, turned to me and said “How can you hurt someone who loves you?” Even then, she had the makings of a good lawyer lol

    • Well said Pauline, it’s not about not discipling when they behave inappropriately it’s about discipling a different way & educating parents that their are other successful ways that work without physical punishment. Time to change the way we all behave & never too old to learn another more appropriate way.

    • I was in a supermarket recently and witnessed a child throwing chocolates on the floor and screaming! Apparently he wasn’t allowed to have a bar of chocolate because it was nearly lunch time! All the mother could do was look on at her son in horror, she had absolutely no control over him! This was a child that needed a smack on the bottom for sure!

  7. I started my parenting believing that good parents needed to smack and as a very young mum i did so ,only to find that with two boys 13months a part that they were hitting each other as preschooler’s. I stopped hitting and so did they and I went on to raise 4 children without any physical punishment. There is a better way!

    2 REPLY
    • Smacking is just another word for hitting and it’s all inappropriate, I used both word’s to make that point!

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