Let’s talk: Could children today benefit from a smack?

A South Australian judge has ruled that smacking a child does not make you a criminal. This landmark ruling has

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.

Do you think that some children today need a smack? Do you discipline your grandchildren using a different method? Or do you think smacking is wrong?

  1. Carol Teasdale  

    My mother used to say “That is what bottoms are for in children!” So very occasionally our girls were smacked on the bottom when all else failed. But because we did we hardly ever had to. Another saying of my mother’s that I based my parenting on was “Let your Nay be Nay and your Yea be Yea!” Think before you say Yes or No! The follow through and if discipline is needed in the way of a smack the lessons will be learnt. Another one of mum’s “if I don’t discipline you a Magistrate will have to try to!!!”

    • Maggie  

      Sometimes it also saves their lives. i.e. if they go to run across the road & you need to get message thru urgently.
      7 of us so sometimes hard to control all at once. Never hurt us and none have become bullies, in fact I was bullied.
      I saw five year old smack his mother across the face as hard as he could when she bent to do his jacket up. He was not punished either. Bed without dinner is good too. No child has ever starved by missing a meal. They will eat the next one without fuss too.

  2. Neta Williams  

    I was raised fashioned way. Smack when I needed it. I am happy to say I did not turn out too bad. Thanks Mum for teaching me right from wrong. The other day I was witness to a young child I say 5ish telling his mother off and swearing at her and she did nothing to correct his behaviour. I was so itching to give him a good smack on the bottom and tell him to apologise. Today’s children are being dragged up not raised to show respect or anything else. The do gooders need to answer for all the little criminals running around today because they took the parental right to discipline our children away from the family unit.

    • You are a criminal if you smack a child in New Zealand. The law does not allow it .

      • Robin George  

        Crazy law really,

        Sometimes a young child needs a light smack(consequence) for doing something that could be potentially dangerous to them(Protection) they understand that and don’t do it again (when they are toddlers they don’t understand reasoning or talking as their language is not fully developed). The law makers for this, are those who have never had kids of their own.

  3. Audrey Haines  

    In the highly acclaimed ” natural world’ – where animals cannot read or talk – the parents (mostly the females) take charge immediately after birth’ and guide their offsprings to adulthood … maybe we should follow their examples and give our naughty kids a bit of a’ çuff’ to teach them some respect and help to develop their ‘çommon senses’ …. not pass it off with some smart term like ‘it’s the terrible twos’ etc.. the only reason that some wild animals become an endangered species is because of the stupidity and greed of humans …. they managed to survive long before we came on the scene.

    Parents should not be shamed by their childrens’ behaviour either in the home or elsewhere.

  4. Magda Felix  

    I have given my children the occasional smack when all else failed. They have now grown into adulthood with families of their own and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are wonderful, respectful and loving kids.

  5. Children need to know actions have consequences, preschoolers respond best to a quick smack on the hand or leg. Older children also benefit from a short sharp response to certain behaviours. However, I am not in favour of berating children in front of their peers as this is embarrassing to them.

  6. Anita Spinks  

    I’m very much against this practice. What is it that you’re actually teaching? That might is right? That lashing out physically is the way to correct behaviour? It takes a bit longer to reason with a child and modeling good behaviour oneself is the most effective method to convey what’s acceptable and what’s not.

    Quite a few years ago now, corporal punishment was banned in schools. The children did not become unruly as a result. Very little changed, but the fear disappeared. I don’t think fear is a suitable teaching method and this applies to parents as well as teachers.

    • To Anita. Children Have become more unruly since corporal punish ment was banned. It is obvious you do not work in schools!

    • obviously anita you have never been in a school lately or a shopping centre or anywhere else you may encounter children punching and kicking or spitting on teachers or their parents ,you havent listened to the vile words that come out of the childrens mouths some as young as 4 or 5 the cane was used when i went to school and it didnt induce fear but you knew it was there so you behaved which made it a perfect place to learn

    • What you are teaching a child with a smack which is not given in anger, is that there are consequences to bad behaviour, which is something that seems to be sadly lacking in this generation where red pen can’t be used on an essay and everyone has to get a present at a birthday party. Life is hard, and kids need to learn that, as long as they are not abused and are loved.

  7. Cheryl Rickards  

    A smack can be just what is needed. Different from a belting which should never happen. Less kids would be in trouble now if they had been better disciples and have clear boundaries set when they were young.

  8. Sheila mitchell  

    Children need discipline it makes them feel more secure in their family and they learn respect both mine were smacked when necessary but mostly threats were enough they now have children who were bought up the same way and are a credit to their parents

  9. Dave Green  

    Well the ‘new fashion discipline’ certainly isn’t working, with more and more kids being suspended from school, and more crimes being committed by teens. There has to be definite boundaries set for kids, and they should be taught that they will suffer the consequences if they cross that line. Sadly today, there is no fear factor, as they know their rights better than parents.

  10. Just the thought of getting a swat on the bum especially in public was enough for me….I did not want the embarrassment…kids do know this….they need the boundarys…..Mum used to hang up the strap on the hook and we knew she would use it if she had too…we made sure she didnt’…lol

  11. Rosemary Shearer  

    A good old smack when needed does no harm in my book, as long as the child does not get physically hurt by it. The children of today are mollycoddled too much….too much talking & reasoning. NO should be NO and YES should be YES. Don’t make threats you can’t carry out….kids are smart & they will learn to work you out. Parents these days try to be their children’s “friends”, to be the groovy parents, the “with it” parents. What a load of rubbish, parents are the adults & children have to respect them & other adults too.

    • Patricia Krebs  

      I so agree with your comments

  12. sandra brown england  

    yeah great role modelling people! unbelievable!

    • Bryan Humphries  

      Yes Sandra Brown I agree with your words what can I say, but then voilence was used so much against children and loved ones and we thought it was normal yeah right nothing bloody normal about it

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