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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Smacking A Child

'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.' Proverbs 22:15
There is a lot of media attention and what appears to be a growing negative attitude towards smacking children as a method of discipline, even in some countries for it to be banned:
'Smacking children is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish government has confirmed.

The move would make the country the first part of the UK to outlaw the physical punishment of children.'
(Source:  BBC news article)
The argument made against smacking, by the leading Welsh anti-smacking campaigner, Vivenne Laing,
'Perhaps the main reason I believe so passionately in positive parenting and not smacking is because, like so many of my generation, I was smacked as a child.

Five decades on, I still clearly remember being smacked and sent to bed, feeling it was so unjustified.'
(Source: BBC news article)

Is smacking bad?  Is it right that, as the anti-smacking campaigner, Ms Laing says, that smacking is wrong because she as a child, did not appreciate being disciplined?

Let's take a look at what science says about smacking

For this, let's try to look at un-biased sources.  Government funded sources tend to be better measuring sticks than privately funded sources, as the private funder is usually expecting an answer in favour of their company, (ie whichever it is they sell.) 

NCBI - National Centre for Biotechnology, part of the US National Institues of Health study link

From the article:

All eight studies, including four randomised clinical trials, found that nonabusive smacking benefited children when it backed up milder disciplinary tactics with children aged 2 to 6 years.

The article is saying that from 8 different studies, smacking, when done appropriately, was a far better disciplinary tactic than not smacking, for children aged 2 to 6

Eighteen studies in the 1996 review investigated alternative disciplinary tactics as well as smacking. Only grounding was more effective than smacking, in two studies of older children. In contrast, nine alternatives were associated with more detrimental outcomes in children than was smacking.
And that in older children, only grounding was more effective than smacking.

In short, smacking is among the best methods of discipline, and the best method of discipline when used with other milder disciplinary tactics.

What about not using discipline such as smacking?

As the review of studies concludes,
'Young children need correction and punishment, but this is often ignored by the opponents of physical punishment. Time out and disapproval are effective tools but are not sufficient to control all problem behaviour with all children.'
Children, just like adults at times (criminals), do not always respond to reasoning, 'time out', or pleading, but to approprate physical discipline.

Appropriate Smacking

A ban of a medical intervention would never be supported on the basis of such meagre evidence as used by Waterston to support a ban of the parental intervention of smacking.1 “Significant adverse effects” and a failure to “learn the desired behaviour” were based on a literature review that is unpublished and that includes studies that included severe types of corporal punishment such as “beating with a stick,” “still hurt the next day,” “burning,” and “using a knife or gun.”

The article concludes that there is no scientific evidence to support a ban on smacking, and, that the evidence used to support adverse affects of smacking, involves the incorporation of deceptive studies, that is, where children have been beaten and abused to the extent they are still hurting the next day, by being burned, or having been subjected to treatment such as 'using a knife or gun'.

Activities such as burning, beating, using a knife or a gun, is not discipline at all, but, torture, and, such studies are dishonestly used to confuse the truth that appropriate smacking, which is done to show children that life has boundaries, that there is right and wrong, and that punishment comes from bad decisions and actions (even in adulthood) is correct and with no adverse effects. Beating with a stick is also misleading.  When a rod is used (an offset of a branch), it's not done to the extent to beat the child.

Smacking, otherwise known as corporal punishment, is not done by the parent in frustration, but in love, without an abuse of parental authority, which is the correct way to do it,

 'Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.' Colossians 3:21

Correct discipline is never done to create anger, or discouragement, but to bring the child up right in their ways, so that they can learn right and wrong, recognize that wrong doing has consequences and punishment, and to feel sorrow for wrongdoing.

The real reason for people wanting a ban on smacking

As the anti-smacking campaigner Ms Laing says, 'five decades on, she remembers being smacked and sent to bed, feeling it was so unjustified.'  The truth of the matter is that parents don't want to be potentially disliked by their children, by establishing a boundary and discipline.

Everyone knows that discipline is not something which is always desired, but is required.  A policeman may be unpopular, because they dispense the law, but where would we be without law and order, without policemen?  How would the criminal take responsibility for their ways, without discipline?  How would society cope, if everyone did as they pleased, without boundaries established to ensure other peoples freedom of choice also?

The truth is, that if we love someone, such as our child, we will at times have to discipline them, because, although we love them and don't want to be unpopular with them, we know it's for the best that they learn and are corrected, so we do it because we love them,

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24

Conclusion

Smacking is an acceptable, and effective method of treatment.  Not only is this backed up by science, but crucially, and the final authority, is that God tells us that such discipline is the correct way,

Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”


'
Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.'
Jeremiah 2:33

 











25th February 2018

 

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