An MP has stated the law about smacking children is complicated and parents should have more autonomy to control their children. David Lammy believes parents should be able to smack their children without having to worry about being sent to prison.
Legislation changed back in 2004 to help protect children against harm at home, but some people are concerned that stringent laws could mean that children aren’t being punished enough when they do something wrong.
Believe it or not, children don’t want to be in charge, and they frequently test boundaries simply to make sure that their caregivers can keep them safe, and when grown-ups offer positive and negative consequences, children develop and learn, but children who have permissive parents frequently experience anxiety because they have to make adult decisions.
Should parents punish their child? Well, the discipline of a child’s behaviour should be for the parent to encourage a child to stop negative behaviours, make more positive choices and finally become a better person, because through discipline, children are taught to become responsible, respectable, kind and sharing people, and parents that spank their children usually believe that it won’t harm them.
Without discipline, children lack the means needed to navigate relationships and difficulties in life such as self-discipline, regard for others, and the capacity to interact with peers, in fact, failure to discipline children frequently results in children who are troubled, hostile, and even resentful.
Various experts have said that spanking teaches children that it’s okay to hit when they’re angry, and that spanking can physically harm children and that it can make them fearful of their parents, but fifteen years ago the government took that right away from parents, and now fifteen years on we have children on the streets thinking it’s okay to stab and kill other people.
Parents should be permitted to smack their children, only if they have been bad. Of course, battery is different from a smack for discipline, and parents should be permitted to smack their children, and back in the day most parents smacked their children, and sometimes it’s necessary to discipline a child, but of course, there’s a wide spectrum of how people determine acceptable spanking.
Why do parents smack their children? Well, the aim is typically to alter or correct a child’s behaviour by creating a little discomfort in terms of altering a child’s conduct, and in the short run, smacking is mostly effective, but children also need their parents to love them, nurture them, and encourage them, but also when children are bad they need their parents to limit their freedoms.
Shouldn’t we all have the freedom to chase our desires? To do what we want? To venture down the road we find most appealing? Isn’t that what our social movements (civil rights, women’s movement, gay liberation) have been about?
So why not children? Why shouldn’t children engage fully in the freedom movement? And, especially throughout their teen years, why shouldn’t parents surrender to their child’s wants? Well, this is why not. We exist in a world with few external restrictions, and we all need to have the sense to say NO to fleeting desires and emotions, and children, except for the most conscientious children, don’t have that ability.
Left to their own devices, how many children do you know who will choose to eat a healthy meal over gorging dessert for dinner? How many do you know who would choose to do homework rather than indulge in video games? How many do you know who would willingly say “it’s time for me to go to sleep”?
The dream of “freedom from” works only if you know how to handle the “freedom to” part. You may think you’re very lucky if you have complete freedom. But if you’re unable to create a viable balance between freedom and restraint, you’re not lucky at all.
Witness all the grossly overweight people, the crazy-in-debt people, the chronically sleep-deprived people, the addicted people, and these are grown-ups who should have more control over their impulses than children.
So what happens when children are free to do as they please? Do you believe their nobler instincts typically triumph over their baser ones? If so, you are a fantasist. For most children have no concept on how to handle an abundance of freedom, even though they’re commanding it.
It’s normal for children to lobby for fewer constraints, and it’s natural for parents to ease up on restrictions as children get older. But if parents make a wholesale submission to continuous and persistent demands for more freedom, the effects are typically shocking.
Here’s the end result when children get to run the household. They eat only what they want to eat. They watch an excessive amount of TV. They play an endless amount of video games. They go to sleep when they damn well, please. They cuss at their parents. They don’t take care of their things. They demand that their parents get them whatever they want. They have no frustration threshold. Their wants become their needs. Their needs must be met. Their needs supersede everyone else’s.
And that’s just a summary of pre-adolescent behaviour. Once puberty hits, teens without restrictions rule the household, defining their most violent activity as acceptable because it could always be worse:
“I can’t get up today; I’m too tired. I’m not going to school. Get out of my room and leave me alone!”
“I’m having a keg party this weekend. I don’t care if I’m underage. You know it’s better if I drink at home than to be out on the street drinking.”
“Yes, I’m hooking up with a lot of girls. That’s good. You always told me not to get serious with any one girl ’til I’m older.”
“It’s only pot. I could be using heroin or cocaine like lots of other kids.”
Children need parents to limit their freedom, to narrow their choices and to put pressure on them to meet their responsibilities. Children may not like all this control, but they need it. And parents need to step up to the plate and implement it, even when it’s so much easier to simply give in to the continuous complaining and demanding.
However, smacking is a complex matter because a smack is just a simple method of discipline, but difficulties occur when parents don’t know where to draw the line, and there are some people that would say that smacking is what makes us who we are, more behaved and respectable to others, and those that were born in the ’60s and before then were frequently smacked and in school were given the cane, and we mostly had pretty decent people on the streets, less brutality, although there were some that would slide through the net, they were usually from extremely troubled family’s, but we certainly didn’t have the brutality we do today.
I myself can remember coming out of my home one day and there was a young boy outside my house, he could have been no more than about 7 years old, and he stared at me and told me to “fuck off”. My reply to him was that his mother should wash his mouth out with soap, his response was “she can’t do that, I’ll have her done by Social Services.”
I remember saying to my parents to “watch this space” because in about 20 years time we will have children running about the streets stabbing and killing one another, and look it’s happening all the time now because there were constraints on how parents could discipline their children.
It should be up to the parents if they want to smack their child for bad behaviour, after all, it’s their child, but the government have taken that freedom away from parents, and now we have no powers over our children at all, and now children have rights and are rewarded even when they act negligently.
Punishment was given out in schools all the time, and at home, and more than often, if a child was spanked at school and then they went home to their parents with a letter to say they’d been bad, they would get a smack again, and if we had more control maybe then children would be more well behaved as at present they have no respect for anything, especially their parents.
I had some good slaps when I was growing up and I turned out just fine, but I did deserve it when I got it, and it did teach me a lesson. I turned out to be a trustworthy and decent person with morals, and that’s what my parents taught me by establishing boundaries and making me understand that I couldn’t always have what I wanted, and even though I disliked it as a child, as I grew up I understood that their discipline of me was because they loved me, and not because they just wanted to get pleasure out of it.
Children now are the spoilt generation, and parents are far too soft with their children, and rules imposed on kids today are far less stringent than a generation ago.
Parents give their children an unfettered restraint than they had as children, letting them have later bedtimes and more high-value toys and games, and something should be changed about the way they’re brought up. Tougher punishment should be imposed, and children are permitted too many material possessions and waste far too much time watching TV and playing computer games.
But children of the older generation said that their own austere childhood meant that they were prepared to give their children more liberties, and seven in ten mothers and fathers have said that because their own parents inflicted hard punishment, forty per cent admit giving their children an easier ride then they had when they were growing up, and presently millions of children are underperforming at school because their parents are too soft to impose rules.
Children are now suffering from loving neglect, and many of these children are staying up very late, playing video games or watching television in their bedrooms into the early hours and then going to school too exhausted to work and they can’t concentrate, and children are allowed far too much access to technology and material possessions.
Every parent raises their child in their own way and they make the decisions that they believe are best for that child. Different people prefer to live in different ways, and every child turns out differently because of the way in which they are raised.
There are some who think that children should have a restricted measure of freedom and that most of their decisions should be made by their parents and other adults in their lives.
There are others who think that children should be given multiple opportunities to exercise their freedom and to do what they want, and each person has to determine what is best for their children, but there are times when too much freedom can be detrimental.
Children who are given too much freedom can feel as if their life is out of control. Children who have the autonomy to make all of their own choices may discover that it is scary to be in charge of their own lives and they may long to have someone else step in and make decisions for them.
Children who are left to make all of their own choices might wish for a concerned adult to step in and show them what they should and should not do, and it can be scary for a child to embrace all of what they do.
It can be scary for a child to have to make all of their own decisions without any guidance from adults and giving a child too much autonomy can be harmful because of the way that children with a lot of freedom feel scared in regards to their lives.
Children who are given too much autonomy can make mistakes that can change their behaviour in big ways. It can be difficult for a child to know what is and is not right, and having too much autonomy can lead to a child messing up.
A child needs to have someone looking out for them and supporting them to figure out the best way to live. A child needs to have a grown-up helping them learn what is good and right, and a child who is given too much autonomy can mess up their life in a way that will destroy their future.
A child who is given too much autonomy can become injured because life is not safe for a child when they do not have anyone looking out for them, and every child needs to have their freedom restricted in some way in order for them to live a good life.
A parent who wants to keep their child protected and who wants to make sure that their child will not mess up their life in any big way must restrict their freedom at times, and children who are given too much autonomy may end up having difficulties dealing with authority at varying times in their life. Those children who grow up without having rules that they have to follow may have a difficult time respecting those who try to tell them what they should do.
Children need to know that there are times that they have to listen to the adults in their life, and those children who are given too much leeway will feel that they can do what they want no matter what the adults in their lives have to say.
Too much autonomy can be harmful as it can lead to discourteous and unruly children, and it can lead to adults who will not listen to authority, and it can lead to a bad end for numerous people as too much freedom makes a child believe that they can do anything and everything that they want to do when it comes to the way that they live their life.
Childhood is supposed to be the least worrying period of human life, but presently children are given far to much freedom, and once freedom is given, it can’t be taken back, but children really do want boundaries because they feel a lot safer when they have them.
They want the parent to say, “you must not do that”, and they like the feeling of authority because it’s a feeling of living in a little world where they know what is safe, what is right and what is wrong, and in a consistent world that’s not too complex.
If everything is permissible it can be overpowering, and it’s also unsafe because children don’t come into this world knowing what is right for them, and parents don’t do their children any favours by letting them get away with things.
For the first few years, a parent is nurturing their children, outlining behaviours and establishing structures, but encouraging discipline doesn’t mean that you have to stifle a child’s free will.
Children need to be able to have opinions and to express their individuality, and we should as parents be supporting them by giving them simple choices from a really early age. Such as saying “this drink or that one?” or “these shorts or those?” because it’s a restricted freedom that lets them examine their free will, but later on, the parent can connect outcomes to those choices, and that if they make the wrong choice, then there’s a price that has to be paid.
If the child decides to throw their food on the floor, then they don’t get their pudding, but the choice was still theirs, but the consequences acquaint them with their behaviour, after all, this is what they will have to face out in the real world. Rules, accountability and consequences.