Calm your tits. This blog post isn’t a film review of Fifty Shades. Although I must say, I have watched it and didn’t think it was too shabby. Let’s face it, I maybe menopausal and have lost my hide the sausage mojo but, who wouldn’t get all giddy over Mr Grey?
I digress. All jokes aside. This post maybe somewhat controversial and maybe, just maybe it may come across as too deep or seem as if I’m airing my dirty laundry. However, I’ve always said I blog as a way of therapy because quite frankly, counselling comes at a price and I much prefer to spend my monthly bonus on soft furnishings from George at Asda these days. (Yes, Asda. And the odd mug or ten from Anthropology) It’s a post that you may find uncomfortable but at the same time, it’s a post that I Need to write. Because some things aren’t always better left unsaid.
The S word in question is “smacking”. Holy shit balls, I’m going there. And I’m going in.
Should we, or should we not, smack our children.
For me, there’s no question about it. It’s a firm, definite, unquestionable NO.
We all know someone in our life who sees a naughty child and says “That child could do with a smack, it never did me any harm”
And there’s my problem. I was that child, I was the child who got smacked daily and let me tell you, it’s done more than harmed me. It’s fucked up my head for years and most likely, years to come. You see, in our household, smacks weren’t just smacks, smacks were full on smacks one after the other to the point where I can understand what it must be like to have had ten strikes from the school came back in the day. Smacks turned to punches, punches turned to kicks, kicks turned to pulling me across the room by my hair which eventually turned to being knocked out being smashed against the door frame. It was so bad, I thought it was normal, so normal that in didn’t see a problem with it for many years. Complaining to be hungry was met with a smack. Playing too loudly was met with a smack. Existing full stop seemed to warrant being smacked.
I always used to look at my Mum when I was being smacked and see the look in her eye, like a crazed animal who wasn’t going to stop until she was exhausted. There was no line between a tap on the leg to a full on smacked bum. It was all or nothing.
I can’t ever agree with smacking a child. The most placid of human beings are all guilty of having a temper and we all know, our children have a great talent for pushing our buttons and all it takes, is for that button to flip and in an instant, one smack can become two. That’s two smacks too many.
Our children are innocent little beings, trying to find a way to pave their way into this world. They are going to push us to our limits, test our strengths and hit our weak spots, they’re going to be naughty little sods at some point or other but that doesn’t mean to say go ahead and smack your child, it doesn’t mean to say it’s ok to leave an angry red mark across their legs, or leave a scar in their memory that will last a lifetime. It does however, mean that as adults, we need to find a way to communicate with our children, sit them down and talk to them. Ask them if they understand what they have done wrong, talk to them. Use the power of words, use the naughty step, take away the iPad but please, do not take away your child’s innocence with violence.
Learnt behaviour is a bastard. I’ve always been scared to discipline Beth if needed in case I lost my cool and history repeated itself, to avoid it happening, I chose to not use the smacking method at all. I’m not a perfect parent and there have admittedly been times when I did wonder if a smack across the legs could fix my broken vase thanks to her running feral around the room despite my pleas. Fact is, I can’t do it, I can’t bear to see my daughter cry because I have caused her physical pain, nor could I cope if she grew up hating me for the way she was brought up. I’d be mortified to hear my daughter tell her children how I’d smacked her. I want my child to respect me, not look at me with contempt because I took away all her innocence.
Let our children be little. Let them make mistakes, it’s a big part of growing up, and let’s be honest, smacking a leg wouldn’t be half as hurtful as removing the iPad for the day. Turn off the wifi, that’ll be enough to make sure they don’t put chocolate fingers on your white walls again.
Should children really live in fear of a smack? Surely their every move would all be based on “don’t do that, we might get smacked”. Do we really want to watch our children play Mums and Dads, watching the children get a smack for being naughty or watching them play with their dolls talking about what will happen if they do it again. No. Just no.
There is so much damage that can be done to a child’s mind by smacking them. Trust me, I know. I live with those memories each and every day, its most like the reason why I’m always defensive. The reason I don’t let people get close to me anymore, the reason I always blame myself for situations that I can’t control. It’s so easy to tell someone not to live in the past. Would you tell a rape victim to get over it? Would you tell a someone who has been sexually abused to deal with it? No. So why expect a child who has been unnecessarily smacked to get over it? That may seem far fetched to some people but it’s not. To me, smacking is child abuse.
And that has to stop.
Smacking our children, in my mind, says that we are ok with teaching our children to be aggressive. You cannot “lovingly” smack a child, you smack them with a smile on your face. Smacking a child will make your child feel hated by the people they want and need the love from the most. It’s not fair to bring them into this world and then make them feel unwanted.
We only get one childhood. It’s important to fill a child’s early years with wonderful happy memories, they are days they cannot get back. They are the days that shape their life and will mound them into the kind of people we will be proud of. The way we parent our children could potentially be reflected upon the way they parent their children in years to come unless, like me, they are strong enough to break that cycle.
Maybe my views on this are biased. And I appreciate that not everyone thinks the same, some of you may have been brought up with equal amounts of love and discipline. But for me, it was the opposite. And if that means I have become a push over parent, so be it. But I can never, ever, condone smacking.
Sweatshirt is from Harls & Ted