Should spanking children be made illegal?

Well this is a bit like suggesting kids should have their ears pierced at birth!

Or my other favourite whether to breast feed or formula feed – people go absolutely wild on this issue.

People with kids, people without kids, people who might once have seen a child, people who really have no business commenting on anything child related – all of them, are throwing their hands up at this one.

Everyone has an opinion.  Yes, just like  a marmite star-fish.

We all have them – but ours aren’t always as important to others as they are to us, and most people do not want to hear or see your marmite star fish.

But as I have a blog, I get to put my opinion out there.  Yay for me!

Should spanking children be made illegal?

I think that it is something parents should decide.  I do not think that this is something that can be legislated.

I am concerned it might become a stupid law – one that once made, is practically impossible to police.

Do you know smoking in your car when you have children in your car is illegal.  It is, tell me again how this is going to be policed?

Most people do not smack their kids in public – only those who are particularly brazen – most people opt instead for that breathy-raspy-low whisper “what until we get home…” which often works particularly well.

I wish to suggest from the outset that there is a difference between beating your child and giving your child a smack.

I do accept that the fact that both these decisions are left to the individual can sometimes lead to a child being physically abused – but again a “no smack” law is hardly going to prevent a person who beats their child from beating their child just because there is a law that prohibits smacking.

I came from a family where we got hidings/smacks on the bum.  I once was hit through the face by my slightly-less-than-loving father.  I did ask him he was drunk.  I was about 6.

Clearly the right answer was yes, and he felt that launching me across the room might be swifter than slurring “yes” – ah well, good times.  Not.

When I became a parent my parenting-toolkit was starkly empty, and I did not realise it.  I thought I was all up to scratch and mildly rational.

I had a clear idea of what was permitted, and what was not.  I did not want to be “those people” who were shunned from social gatherings because they had the child that would make Rosemary’s baby seem like a bonny wee lad.

I wanted a disciplined child, who listened, and who would pay attention when we spoke.  Kennith and I both agreed that we did not want to be over the top strict parents, but we wanted to be clear and consistent on our parenting.

Connor probably did not need as much discipline as I measured out.  He definitely did not need as many hidings as I gave him.  But (and this is not a defense plea) I did not realise there were other methods of teaching a child, and disciplining a child.

When Georgia was about 18 months, I took a trip to the UK, and my sister in law told me about “The Nanny” “Jo Frost.”  I had never seen her, had no idea there was a programme about parenting, and more importantly out of control kids and I watched in amazement.

I stopped at a bookstore the next day and stood there with my mouth hanging ajar, because I did not realise that there were more ways to discipline a child than:

1.  Saying NO loudly.


3.  Warning that if it happened again there was a hiding coming.

4.  Final warning issues – and then a hiding.

That was pretty much the order.  Sometimes the delay between 3 and 4 would be short, depending on the transgression.

Jo Frost gave me great ideas for alternate discipline, and we used time out, and a host of other actions since then.

I believe the there is a place in a home for a measure of discipline that works. Each home. Each child. Each parent is different.

I personally am okay with my kids having McDonalds once a week, and them having a set bedtime.  That suits me perfectly.  I get that this will make other parents shit in their khaki pants, and that is fine.

I am not suggesting that “children who get smacked are better behaved” and I am not suggesting that “children who are NOT smacked are better behaved” but I do suggest that “parents who discipline their children with love and patience, and remain consistent will have a better chance at a “child who respects discipline and who realises that there are repercussions to negative behaviour.”

Do I smack my children?  Yes

When was the last time I smacked my children?  Ages ago, like easily a year or two if not more.  No, I take that back I gave Isabelle a smack on her bum about two weeks ago.  She was throwing one of those mammoth tantrums and was screaming at me.  Yes, I felt we had crossed the line – and I had spoken to her rationally and warned her to “calm it down” and she decided otherwise – so I felt that a smack on her bottom was the right thing to do.  It suddenly calmed a situation that had been escalating for some time.

Would you smack your child again even though you know alternate options?  Yes.  I would definitely not smack my child as an initial reaction.  I would not smack a child who has no comprehension of the warning that I am issuing.  But a child that continues with a behaviour that is inappropriate and when a warning has been issue, is heading for a hiding/smack as a remedy should it be necessary

I still use it as a “final warning” when I have exhausted all the others.  The key is to follow through – you cannot keep threatening a child that you will do something and then never do it, because again that breaks the consistency and a child realises that they can keep pushing-pushing-pushing because nothing is going to happen.

Do I support a law that will outlaw smacking?  No.

Do I support a state that will focus on supplying better parenting classes? Or some sort of parental support and thinks about how a single mom or dad who is unemployed, and has five children and struggles to cope in her or his day – and probably did not come from a well parented home to begin with?  Yes, definitely.

I am not one of “those” people who when faced with something tries to deflect the attention from one bad thing to one that “appears worse” i.e. “why do you ticket me for driving 70km/h in a 60km/h zone, should you not be ticketing the taxis because jeez have you seen them drive?”

Nope, I really am one of those people who follow the law and the rules even when no one is watching.

But really really — why are we expending so much energy on this law to stop parents choosing how to parent, when we live in a society that has such rampant violence against women and children, it is actually enough to make you weep into your wine glass.

Sort that shit out people – sort that shit out – give parents support whether it is in social services, or classes or something.  What is the point of arriving with a law that takes care of a symptom but does not address the problem.

Should spanking children be made illegal?  No!


Notice how mom is going off her fking rocker in this image, kids are screaming and dad, well, dad is reading his Sports Illustrated and wondering why everyone won’t just pipe the fk down!

I think mom needs to stop smacking the kids, and maybe use that leather thing to smack dad across the face and at the very least knock his stupid glasses across the room.  Then mom needs to go out for a drink and maybe catch a nap.

But otherwise they are totally rocking that vintage look!!

Leave a comment


  1. As a kid who was hit maybe a few too many times as a kid, in a disciplinary manner (I was hit until I left home at 18) I understand that banning spanking will not stop those want to abuse their kids, but I really hope that all parents will strongly consider using alternative methods of discipline. We are not allowed to hit other adults and yet we are allowed to hit the smallest, most vulnerable people on this earth who are not able to defend themselves at all. It is just odd. I think the bans on spanking force parents to consider how they discipline and to make an effort to use other methods. I see some good in that. I do agree it cannot actually be stopped, but I do hope the trend is to take it out of parenting. It did not do me one bit of good at all, I know that.

  2. I love this blog post of yours because I too feel that this needs to be left to parents to decide. As you said, (and my boss said this as well yesterday), that when an abuser wants to abuse, no law is going to stand in his or her way. Secondly, I know that schools educate children about these kinds of laws due to the fact that they are in the learning modules. So when this law is passed, this will surely be included in the learning modules and kids who are smart enough will hold this against their parents.

  3. The Blessed Barrenness

     /  July 30, 2013

    Very well said Celeste! I totally agree with what you have said above. I am not a spanker, it doesn’t work for Ava, at ALL and I hate how it makes me feel so we practice alternative forms of punishment which work best with her.
    My biggest concern with this legislation is that it won’t be policed so what is the point?

  4. Tania

     /  July 30, 2013

    I’m guilty of spanking in public. The looks & remarks I do see & hear, I offer to do the same spanking to those persons also, including asking them if they are aware of the circumstances behind the final build up to a good spanking in public. My son, aged 2, received a good wallop inside Checkers, never again needed a spanking in public, he learnt his lesson. My daughter, needs to be punished then and there, she cannot be threatened with later at home, or wait until Daddy gets home, time out doesn’t work for her either nor does counting to 5. I do not give her a hiding but a good slap on the buttocks works to keep her in line. If her misbehaving continues into the home situation then she receives her hiding. In saying all this, I do agree that hidings are not always the right punishment for some situations, neither do hidings work for all children. Parenting is not easy.

  5. Brigitta

     /  July 30, 2013

    Well said 😉 Couldn’t agree more!


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