Your say: Do you agree with the Pope’s very controversial view on smacking? 506

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When I grew up, if my brothers and I messed around and got into the mischief we weren’t allowed to, it was simple. We got smacked. It was on our bottom and our Father normally delivered the goods. It was normally done by a hand but sometimes we had the wooden spoon and sometimes that spoon even broke.

We aren’t traumatised for it – in fact I think it worked as punishment. But this long time act of discipline has been called abuse by many and now the Pope has weighed in on the debate.

Pope Francis has outraged people all around the world with his statements that smacking your child can be “beautiful” as long as it is their “dignity is maintained”.

People have gone to town with these comments. MamaMia, a website for mothers, has suggested smacking children “out of love” is the same reason that justifies domestic violence.

Now there are two very different camps here – the first is those who believe a smack as a form of punishment, when deserved, is an effective method that can help a child to understand not to do that again. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s swift and more often than not, it works. It’s not to bruise them, it isn’t for a parent’s own enjoyment. It is punishment, simple as that.

Then, there is the other side that touching your child in a harmful way is abuse and something that should never be done. This often comes with a link to domestic violence (as previously mentioned) and parenting beliefs that discipline should be verbal only.

I’m not sure what is right but I sure did get smacked as a kid and I think it worked. I don’t agree with other people smacking children, as we grew up with our teachers punishing us like that, but if it’s your child then it’s your prerogative.

Tell me, what do you think of the Pop’s statement on smacking children? Did you smack your kids? Did you get smacked as a child? Is he right or wrong in his comments?


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  1. No.. Hitting anyone for ANY reason is wrong….l wasn’t hit, l didn’t hit my children and l’m sure that when they have them, they won’t hit either. If you can’t discipline without violence, do a parenting course.

    11 REPLY
    • `
      Not that I am in favour of smacking… *However there is a vast difference between a smack, and hitting.* They are not the same!* My father repeatedly hit me in anger; hence I never resorted to smacking my children.

    • I agree with you Louise. Big difference in a little slap as opposed to hitting and belting. I only slapped my daughter once and she ran upstairs, turned round and said “well that didn’t hurt” then slammed her bedroom door. We still laugh about it.

      1 REPLY
      • The first thing one should teach a child is that for every mis-deed, there is a reaction; and the word to be learnt is CONSEQUENCES. The meaning of the word may not be the same for each child- but they have to learn it and it ‘s up to the parent to explain or show what will happen when ‘Kiddiwinks’ does not do as his parent advised him, for or against. The one thing that must be remembered is that the response to naughtiness must be immediate and repeated in response to the repetition of any mis-deed. ‘Light dawns’ quickly when consequences are understood. It doesn’t take long.

    • Why don’t you just do a ‘ common sense course ‘ because that’s what parenting is ! Telling little Jonny to go sit in a corner for 10 mins is nothing short of stupidity , who cares If they have to sit in a corner for 10 mins ? Who cares that they go to their room and play with their toys for 10 mins ? Get real ! What’s that teaching them ,? Consequences for your bad behaviour are !!!! Go sit quietly for a time .! Really ??

    • At the end of the day it’s what works for each child I have three and my son didn’t respond to a smack. The good ol 1…2…3 worked and a sit quietly in his room with no toys was enough deterrent… I believe so long as the child isn’t abused this shouldn’t even be a discussion it’s always going to end in no real answer parenting can’t be put in a manual it’s learn as you go and child by child (case by case).

    • Yes Jarred a crack over the back with a broom from mental mum & poke in tender beasts with a potatoe peeler was torture at 14 yrs.No wonder I went to bed at 14 yrs old with bottle pills.but fell asleep before I could take them
      Thank god for a sense of humour

    • Yes a smack has never hurt any child, most just laugh at it, where as a belting is very different, I’m so glad the Pope is on the side of smack

    • ok if smacking causes violence there must be alot of smacking going on because police say our early teens are the most violent people they meet PLEASE EXPLAIN

  2. Nothing wrong with a smack when it’s deserved

    1 REPLY
    • couldnt agree more it got me on the straight and narrow , have a look now no disciplining allowed look at the violence and all the othr bad things happeing , wouldnt if they had to learn disciplin!

  3. To me hitting a child is used by people that don’t have the intelligence to discipline without physical means, why is it ok to hit a child but if you hit an adult it’s assault.

    2 REPLY
    • Because (in NSW at least) of section 61AA of the Crimes Act 1900/40, that’s why, “defense to assault of lawful chastisement”. Read up on it sometime, you might learn something.

  4. That’s why kids are soooo out of control these days AND no respect!

    25 REPLY
    • I agree, the kids have no respect for family, friends or anyone who wont give in to them – that is why the kids are out of control and do not care!! A smack when deserved, but not a beating as many do………

    • A smack when deserved is a good deterrent, you cannot reason with a 2 or 3 year old. Kids have to learn that there are consequences for their actions! If they’re allowed to get away with bad behaviour when they’re young they will expect to get away with it when they’re older.

    • People like you Lyn are EXACTLY the reason why there are so many kids today that have no respect for anyone or anything.There is a BIG difference between a smack and child abuse and a smack has and always will be the best deterrent to unacceptable behaviour.

    • Wrong Lyn. Well said Gary! No smacks when young today is a main reason why we have so many juvenile criminals out there today – no consequences for their inappropriate behaviour.

    • I see children everywhere these days who are never smacked, and I see them hitting out at their play mates, parents and anything in their way! They have not been taught to do this! However if they were mine they soon would know what it feels like! And to the lady who is silly enough to think you can’t teach respect by hitting a child, you are wrong!!!!!!!!!

    • as children, my brothers, sister and I received a smack on the bottom or the legs if we crossed the line. We soon learnt what was expected behaviour and never became delinquent – as we grew older we appreciated the lessons learnt and never lost respect or love for our parents.

    • Why a smack when there are many other deterrents. I found by the time my son got to 8 years of age smacks no longer worked. he used to ask me to smack him when I started sending him to his room without TV but I refused. There are some children more difficult than other but there is always a way around smacking. My daughters never had the issues my son had and soon learnt what was right and what was wrong and always were obedient because they did not like the consequences we dished out to their brother. Persistence is the key and not giving in to them. saying NO teaches resilience.

    • Lyn some kids are born bad.sounds like you got one.!!!! Look up “we must talk about Kevin” chilling movie.
      Boys are behind in every part of life!!!!! Socially.domestically,emotionally,sexually!! Physically he pleaded to be smacked ? Concerned!!!!! He loved it? must been soft smack. Lyn lol
      The thing that stands out to me as babysitter IS
      It’s the parents not kids.always grandparents report get the bloody crippled fearful parents off the scenes and kids are excellent for stranges
      They want somebody to control them.but patents to fearful.I got bashed because mum got bashed.
      So do nothing and get into trouble.result is i spent my life pleasing people& being a wonderful human being
      Smack is the only language little ones know. Love Jo the super nanny show.The news reflects boys,no control as a kid.gets to 18 yrs drives car full into pole result pain& misery for all families so give them bit of pain& they just might not keep killing them self and many others.

    • If your husband gave you a whack, he would be up for domestic abuse! Yet you feel it is ok to hit children! It is proven that violence leads to more violence! My grandchildren are very well mannered and behaved, neither of my daughters hit!!! Of course they have things taken off them and that is better than violence !!!!!

    • a very interesting subject.. all id like to ask is why these days there is so much bullying?… from my point of view its because the kids of today are allowed to get away with there actions .. not the childs fault but the parents

    • As a grandparent I look on and admire the discipline handed out to my grandchildren and it is not by smacking. The Pope is not in a position to comment on this subject. Parents can take away a pleasure for a time for any age child.

    • Diane you are missing the point and it’s not child abuse getting the cane at school was

    • I believe a child if needing a smack should get one we were all smack when we were kids never hurt us we grew up with respect and never back answered nor swore at an adult children now days have no respect for anyone or anything not even them self’s
      Its not only the parents that cope a mouth full from these children but any one that’s in their reach even the teaches are fearful of some students those that don’t like discipline lash out at teaches and other students teaches are there to teach not be hit or sworn at by a student and what’s their punishment sent home if any off my children were sent home from school for hitting or swearing I’d of slapped their backside good and hard a slap on the leg or backside never hurt any one

    • Kids are out of control these days as there is no discipline in the house to start with and they are not shown how to show respect. They end up being copy cats of their parents. Not all mind you but the ones that do, most parents are not there for them and they end up following someone they look up to in a friend. I know, my son did that as his dad wasnt there for him, but he did turn around with my help and now is very well adjusted

    • Be “the parent” if you imagine you can be the good guy/best mate with your child, you’ll be in for a rude awakening one day, who else can a kid rely on to keep them straight (?) their peers, or the pedo down the street..
      if you confide your secrets, failings & weaknesses, along with your regrets, you’re just another weakling with no answers..

    • WE grew up with violent father who belted us black and blue, that was abuse, but to smack the hand or leg of a screaming child will generally stop them…in shock… In the supermarket the other day this 3 year old utterly screamed the shopping centre down,ohhh if only the mother was game enough to smack her legs it would have stopped I am sure. but the children dont know respect or discipline today and parents are brain washed about how to discipline their children…growing into all sorts of unruly adults.

    • I shudder when I see or hear the “respect” comment. It’s not an automatic requirement when you reach a certain age. It’s earned by the example you set and the way in which you treat others. There’s nothing soft about setting out consequences to actions & following through with them when necessary & any form of smacking or hitting is not an option. I’m immensly proud of the people my family have grown up to be

    • Manna Rose Hansen….but you didn’t learn punctuation….Don’t mean to offend as l would like to read your comment, but need commas etc to do so.

      1 REPLY
      • Sue, before you check someone in their writing skills maybe you should spell their name correctly.

  5. I’m not sure, I was but rarely and I did but even more rarely and I’d cry both times, because it was rare the message sunk in

  6. I don’t believe in hitting a child. I can still remember my mother hitting me at times as they did in those days and it is a negative thought you don’t forget. I remember something was frustrating her not that I’d behaved in any disturbing manner. As for the nuns don’t go there that constitutes child abuse. Being caned for not understanding something!!!!

    5 REPLY
    • Back in the old days it was accepted. Schools had the headmasters cane. Boys suffered the cuts. Teachers used the ruler sometimes the edge over the knuckles. Wasn’t just nuns who belted public schools did too. Catholic boarding schools and orphanages were worst for all sorts of abuse…. Today even very destructive abuse happens in some places…. I was raised by both parents and my dad was the disciplinary task master.. Kids will always push buttons always have always will. There is a difference in my opinion between smack and belt. To me the verbal abuse is more destructive at any age…

    • No I don’t remember being smacked but I know I was and there are far more ways to upset a child than smacking. Telling them they will never amount to anything, having no expectations for them to succeed and not listening when they did make advances in learning and lastly always telling the child they wish wish they were more like the girl down the road etc. They are the things that you remember.

    • Yes that is different, and abuse, not acceptable.
      But I do agree with the firm discipline to bring a naughty child into line when all else fails.
      I was smacked as a naughty child, and looking back I deserved it, taught me right from wrong.
      And I loved and respected my parents deeply.
      Brought my own children up the same way, and they too in turn with their children, and all are well behaved respectable people.

    • I was always terrified of the words( wait till your father gets home) as I knew that I was in for a good thrashing and When I had my own children I made sure that they didn’t have to go through that but they were always kept under control .
      Some people let there children run wild in places like the supermarket pulling things from the shelves and they do nothing to stop them and that’s when a little slap on the bottom would not go amiss.

  7. There’s a difference between a slap and physical abuse, a slap is ok by me!

    5 REPLY
    • Actually you’re right when you put it like that, no it’s not ok for someone to slap me, but when you have kids that drive you to distraction! Well there was no such thing as a naughty corner, or games to take away from them! But yes you’re right it’s not ok!

    • And that’s the problem Jean, parents smack when they are driven to distraction instead of finding another way of altering their behaviour, I always found there were better ways to get the message through without hitting.

  8. Yes, it was swift,once and effective, many times I have witnessed emotional abuse by parents prolonging the punishment with naughty think about it spaces for so many minutes, the child has forgotten what they have done by the time the parent lets them get on with life

  9. Nothing wrong with a smack on the bottom it’s not child abuse it;s teaching your child that some things are wrong.

  10. A smack on the bottom or.hand never damaged anyone. Abuse does. I was belted if needed and the cane was used at my schools. I think I turned out half decent and sane.

    1 REPLY

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