A South Australian judge has ruled that smacking a child does not make you a criminal. This landmark ruling has prompted an interesting discussion about whether children today could benefit from this traditional discipline.
Supreme Court Justice David Peek overturned a man convicted of aggravated assault for smacking his 12-year-old child on the thigh. The judge found that disciplining a child does not “transform” a parent into a criminal.
A smack left the child with redness but no bruises. “Some temporary pain and discomfort by the child will not transform a parent attempting to correct a child into a person committing a criminal offence”, Justice Peek said.
“Indeed, the very suffering of temporary emotion may be calculated to impress the child and correct the behaviour, just as much as the accompanying physical discomfort”, he added.
Whilst there are some modern parenting experts who say that smacking a child is wrong, Justice Peek found that a disciplinary action is often required.
“Some level of pain is permissible, and in the present case there was little… The mere existence of red marks caused by the punishment does not prove unreasonable correction”, he ruled.
This judgement has been welcomed by most families online. “I have the right to raise and discipline my kids how I think is best, we threaten smacking and mostly that’s enough”, mother Natalie Paradowski wrote on Facebook.
“If other’s choose not to then that’s their kid and their business, but don’t try to control me and our family because you think differently”, she added.
Others agreed that a smack on the bottom is sometimes what modern children need. “A smack reminds them that there’s boundaries in what they choose to do, consequences for their actions”, Leanne Butler said on Facebook.
Today, Starts at 60 welcomes your thoughts on this polarising topic.