SMACKING MUST STOP

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PUBLISHED BY RIVERSIDE TRAINING (SPALDING) LTD

From a very early age we teach our children moral values and principles - honesty, generosity, compassion, and never to strike out at someone, even in anger.

Yet, there are parents across the UK who completely forget their own moral compass when they continue to smack their children.

They would say this is done for the right reasons and doesn't do any harm as long as the child 'feels loved'.

But when can it ever be right to raise you hand against someone who is smaller, weaker and emotionally immature?

There are far more effective ways of disciplining children and there isn't even any reliable evidence that smacking will actually benefit a child.

While they may be more obedient if they fear another smack, the effect is only short-lived.

And, unsurprisingly, analysis of the effects of smacking also found parents are less likely to have a good relationship with their children.

Child charity NSPCC states smacking

  • Gives kids a bad example of how to handle strong emotions
  • May lead kids to hit or bully other children
  • May encourage kids to lie because they fear being smacked
  • May make defiant behaviour even worse
  • Leads to a resentful or angry child, thus damaging the family relationship

It's also been proved that adults who were smacked as children are at higher risk of having low self-esteem, depression and alcohol dependence.

Not a pretty picture.

That's why I wholeheartedly support the news that smacking children is set to be outlawed in Scotland - and support those who are calling for a ban across the whole of the UK.

Green MSP John Finnie brought forward the Bill banning smacking and it has won wide support in Scotland with ministers saying they will ensure that it becomes law.

The Bill is also backed by the former Scottish Children’s Commissioner Tam Baillie, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and NSPCC Scotland, which called it ‘a common sense move’.

It will remove the current 'justifiable assault' defence in Scotland, which allows parents to use physical punishment to admonish a child.

The UK is currently one of just five EU countries that still allows smacking.

Since Sweden banned smacking back in 1979, 51 other countries around the world - including France, Germany, Norway, Greece, Brazil and Argentina - have followed suit and made the physical punishment of children illegal.

Once the Bill becomes law in Scotland, parents in England, Ireland and Wales will still be permitted to use, what can only be described as, physical violence to punish or discipline their children, provided it can be considered 'reasonable punishment' and does not cause injuries or bruising.

It's worth remembering corporal punishment in schools was banned by parliament in 1986 and, since 2010, nursery workers, child care workers and tutors in England are not permitted to smack youngsters.

However, this does not include someone employed privately by a child's parents - such as nannies, au-pairs or babysitters - who may be given permission to smack young children in their care.