Friday, 17 February 2012

To smack or not to smack...

Today has been a seemingly endless and frustrating day. It's one of those days where I seem to spend the entire day saying no to Miss K. I hate days like this because you can only say no so many times before you start feeling like an ogre.

I know that it's part of my job to discipline Miss K, to make sure she stays safe, and also to make sure she doesn't grow up to be one of these uncontrolled little brats that are everywhere these days. And I know that she understands me when I say no, because quite often she throws a decent temper tantrum, or demands to be picked up and cuddled. But five minutes later, what I have just said is long forgotten, and she's back into everything she's not meant to be playing with. It's enough to make me want to pull my hair out.

I've read on forums about disciplining children, but a lot of the tips given deal with toddlers, once they hit the terrible twos and the you-know-what hits the fan. But I don't want to wait until she's two and then start bringing the pain, and a lot of the tips for older kids will just go way over her head because she's too young to understand them. How do you keep a 10 month old sitting in a naughty corner, and how do you make her notice that you've taken her toys away, when the minute something is out of her eye sight, it's completely forgotten?? One thing children of this age understand is the good old smack, but these days, a slap on the hand is enough to have you hauled in front of children's services for abuse.

The debate on whether to smack children is one that can be a tricky mine field as everyone has an opinion on this, and few will change their mind once it is made up. The people who aren't opposed to smacking their children use the age old excuse "well I was smacked as a child and it never did me any harm", but the scientists are even working to disprove this theory. How they will do that I'm not sure, because short of going back in time and banning parents from smacking their children twenty, thirty or forty years ago, and then coming back and seeing what society is like now, there is no way to prove that the smacking had any negative effect on people now. Sure it can lead to fear of confrontation, resistance to authority and a spate of other problems, but so can a lot of things. How can we say that it was the smacking and only the smacking that turns a person into what they become as adults? (I have to stop now and tell you this is actually a very hard post to write without swearing.)

I am one of the people who was smacked as a child, and I can remember a lot of them. I can't say whether their influence on me was positive or negative, as it's probably a combination of both. I learned very quickly not to lose our family dog, not to try to set the house on fire with the kettle, and not to smack my sister in the head with a rolling pin. And to this day, I have not done any of these things again. I did however hit Ady in the head with a frying pan one day, but in my defence, he gave me his permission before I did it.

I'm not going to use this post to try and condone smacking your children, because number 1, I don't feel like receiving any hate mail, and number 2, I feel that sometimes it isn't the answer. A lot of people take smacking to extremes, and anyone who has a Facebook account has probably seen the chain letter posts with photos of the results. So I'll leave the final decision up to you. If you feel that smacking is the only way to get through to your child, remember to take a deep breath first, and make sure you're not smacking your child just because you are angry right now, as that can make you do things that you will regret very quickly. And if you feel that smacking is completely wrong and just sends the wrong message to your children, then good for you, and good luck with disciplining your child in whatever fashion you feel is proper.

As for me, I hear Miss K singing my song now so I'm going back for another round of no, no, I SAID NO!!!!!!!!!
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