Smacking: is the short sharp shock really so bad for kids?

Posted on: 20 July 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

Are we selling kids short by not instilling discpline from an early age - and why is correction now seen as abuse?

I was pretty lucky having two well behaved daughters who seldom needed rebuke from me or their mother. They weren’t angels – on one occasion my youngest filled the grooves of a radiator with Vaseline; you can guess what happened when the heating was put on! In another incident my eldest daughter (aged three at the time) let the handbrake off my car (with her inside) and it rolled out onto the road and crashed into a pile of bricks. We’ve all got stories to tell about how naughty and mischevious our kids were, but the one that takes the biscuit is the story of little Kai Llewellyn.

Young Kai thought it would be great fun to prank his grandmother by putting super glue onto the toilet seat. Unfortunately for master Llewellyn, Dad caught him and gave him a slap that unfortunately came up in a bruise. The outcome? His father was landed in Crown Court on an assault charge! Fortunately, the judge heard the evidence and decided that the people who spoke up in support of the father were right and he was given a probation order.

Now here’s the dilemma: When does a slap become an assault? As a child I can remember getting a clip around the head from the local bobby or truant officer. From my father, I just got shouted at, which, in many ways, was more frightening than a good wallop. None of this did me any harm – in fact, I think it did me good. I quickly learned there were consequences for my actions that came home to roost very quickly.

When we hear the stories of violent child abuse such as in the case of ‘Baby P’, no one can comprehend how a parent can treat their children in this way and a punitive prison sentence seems the only appropriate punishment. Most parents love their children and discipline is more about teaching the child the ‘rule of life’ rather than making them the victims of assault. I’m only glad I am not the one to have to make these judgments. That fine line between love and a crime is very hard to discern in this day and age and clearly open to abuse – both ways!

Tighten you seat belts!

Have you noticed how quiet I’ve been recently on the economy! Two reasons: the editor told me I was getting a bit fixated and the other not much was happening that was evident or conclusive. Well strap yourselves in I think the ride is going to start getting bumpy!

At present there are strong global indicators that the great recovery is not as great as we would like! We still have problems in the Euro zone with Hungary having a falling out with central bankers over new loans they need to balance their books. In the US, jobless figures are getting no better and Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve is rumoured to be considering more ‘quantitative easing’ (printing money in yours and my book). On the home front the recovery has been similarly stifled as stagnant High Street sales provide a good indication of how hard retailers are finding it. There has even been talk in the last week that Sterling was going to be down rated.

All this flux suggests that we are far from out of the woods and we may still be in for the ‘double dip recession’ that many of the pundits talked about earlier this year. What ever happens it’s not going to get better in the foreseeable future in the UK as the government’s cuts start taking effect.

The history books may well record this as ‘The Great Recession of 2007-2017’ but I hope not!

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