Research on Smacking
I notice today that another piece of
'research' claims to show that smacking children is not a good idea. In other
places on this website you will find that the evidence from this 'research' is
simply not consistent with the evidence from a wide variety of sources (e.g. see
The Smacking Myths).
Most importantly, the research doesn't
even make an attempt to show what effects a proscription on smacking would have
for the parents, for the other children in the family, and, indeed, for the rest of
Here are three reasons why I oppose any ban on smacking.
1. I have seen parents
smack their children mostly in circumstances where I have no doubt that, not
only was it the right thing to do given the situation, it was the BEST thing to
do for the child and for the people concerned, and, further, that, in these
instances, the smack probably had very beneficial long term consequences.
the usual conclusions from the 'research' on
smacking are completely invalid. They are worthless ...
2. The usual conclusions
from the 'research' on smacking are completely invalid. They are worthless in
that, at the very best, they only take into account the immediate effects on the
child being smacked. They take no account of the long-term effects of denying parents the
opportunity to smack as a sanction. They take no account of the parents
themselves, of the other children in the family, of their personal situations,
of the particular circumstances resulting in the smack, of the differences
between children, or of the rest of society insofar as it might be seriously
affected by having hordes of undisciplined children running around happily and
wantonly growing up into relatively undisciplined adults.
3. The anti-smacking lobby
seems to consist mostly of people who subscribe to a politically-correct view of
the world. Such people believe the facts to be as they would like them to be,
rather than what they actually are. They also seem prone to lying or fudging the
evidence; or they have proved themselves to be too intellectually impoverished
to understand the full implications of what they are proposing.
For example, I was completely opposed to the National Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's
advertising onslaught at the beginning of 1999 when it started its Full
On TV, on billboards, in the newspapers and in the cinema, the
NSPCC was bombarding the nation with images that fairly graphically depicted
children being abused physically, mentally and sexually.
I wrote to the NSPCC as well as to MPs and
journalists in an attempt to make them think again about what was being done.
The NSPCC withdrew their adverts as a result of this complaint together with
those received from others - about one third of whom had actually been victims of
So, how did the NSPCC get into this mess?
How could they get it so wrong? Aren't they supposed to be the experts on our
children? On what proper evidence did they launch such an advertising campaign and what did
they hope to achieve?
In my view, their adverts were not only
harming our children, they were also happily
demonising ALL parents by portraying them as abusers or as potential abusers.
And I can think of little worse that one can do to the nation's children than to
alienate them even further from their parents.
So, what research had the NSPCC actually
done before they launched their media onslaught upon the entire nation? Had they
consulted the most objective, the most highly-respected child psychologists in
No. As I eventually found out, the
'research' on the effects of these adverts was conducted by Saatchi and Saatchi
- an advertising agency.
It was unbelievable.
So, some questions that I want to ask
here of those who cite smacking 'research' in support for their position against
smacking are these?
If smacking is made illegal what effects will it have
on parents who are already unable to cope ...
If smacking is made illegal what effects
will it have on parents who are already unable to cope with children who
are being particularly difficult, or who have children and circumstances that
make dealing with their children extremely difficult or impossible given that
they themselves are, after all, only human beings - and, in many cases, not 'strong' and/or
particularly intelligent human beings?
Will the further stresses that these
parents might have to endure lead, statistically, to further violence, family
breakdown or to a greater increased likelihood of 'abandonment' of the children - ranging from,
can't be bothered any more," to "Let them watch the TV all evening," to
now such chaos in the apartment that the children will have to go into care."
Has anyone done any research on this?
If smacking is made illegal what will
happen as more parents are prosecuted for overstepping the mark? How many more
calls will be made to Child Line, to the police and to the social services, and
how many more families are going to be investigated by these very busy bodies?
Currently, 40,000 INNOCENT families are already being investigated every
year by the social services for 'child abuse' of one form or another. How many more
families will have to undergo such investigations?
How many more calls will be made to the social
suspicious neighbours - or by those bearing a grudge, or by those who are motivated to
create trouble for those, perhaps, of a different race or ideology?
How far back in time will the law be
allowed to reach back? For example, if smacking is made illegal tomorrow and Sally gets her
bottom smacked by her mother next week, will the law, in ten years time, reach
back and prosecute, should Sally claim that her mother broke the law and smacked
her when she was a child?
If, in three months time, Sally is angry
that her mother won't allow her to go to the party and she telephones Child Line
to report the earlier smacking incident, will the mother then be
If so, or if such is possible, what hope has Sally's mother EVER got of being able to deal with Sally effectively
given that Sally will now have her 'under her thumb'?
What hope will any parent
have once they have smacked their child?
Further, given that, for example, some
3,000,000 people every week break the law in taking cannabis or ecstasy, and, I
imagine, some 10,000,000 people will at some time break the law when it comes to giving a smack,
what hope will there be for those parents who have smacked, given that their
children could easily report them, and will be encouraged to do so by the
anti-parent lobbyists, at any time in the future?
what effects on parents and society will result
from transferring even more power into the hands of the children
So, what effects on parents and society
will result from transferring even more power into the hands of the children and
taking even more away from the parents? And have we not already gone too far in this
Have we got any research on this?
Will a father with an IQ of 85 on a
council estate be removed from his children and branded as an abuser because,
was seen smacking one of them who was throwing stones at a window?
In the USA,
Charles Faber was given two years for roughly grabbing his son's shoulders when
he was about to throw a stone. Is this the way we are heading? Is this what
we want? Is this sort of thing desirable?
Have we got any research on this?
How will the law punish a single mother
with three children who is seen smacking one of them? Will the children be taken
into care on this basis? Will they have to testify in court against her? Will
she go to prison? If she's a teacher will she lose her job? (One teacher already
has, because he smacked his own child.) Or will only middle class parents be
prosecuted (as it is thus far) since there is little point in prosecuting single
mothers who have no jobs, and there is even less point in prosecuting those who
couldn't care less?
Has anyone done any research on the
long-term effects of not being allowed to smack children in situations where to
do so would be extremely helpful? For example, will children in such
circumstances be less likely to grow up into properly socialised adults?
As children become less controllable by their
they become more aggressive? Will they be more likely to bully others? Will they
more likely engage in delinquent or criminal behaviours as they get older?
How many parents are likely to end up being
criminalised for smacking that they believed to be right and proper at the time?
Are the social services and the police
just going to pick off a few smacking parents every week and completely mess up their
relationships with their own children just to give the public some kind of message?
(This is already beginning - see Smacking
How will social services and the police
begin to react as more and more people turn against them in anger and
frustration at not being allowed to deal with their children in the way that
they consider to be the most appropriate?
And what research justifies the arrogance
of the government to impose upon parents through its employees a system that
presumes that such employees are actually better suited to bringing up their
children than the parents themselves?
Thus, for example, I know my children far
better than anyone else. I know the circumstances in which we live together. I
know who I am. I know what I have to deal with and what my wife has to deal
with. I know the ins and outs. And I know how
to deal with my children far better than does some interfering 30 year old busybody from
the social services who qualified in her position on the basis of a few
politically correct essays and who has no experience of bringing up children
And yet, despite all this, am I really
supposed to have to answer to her?
How many parents are going to feel the
Now, it could be argued by some that a
smacking law will only be used for 'serious' cases of smacking. WRONG. There are
already laws against 'serious' smacking. And they are to do with 'assault'. The new
laws will definitely be about non-serious smacking. And if you think that these
laws will only be used against the seriously 'dysfunctional' families, you are
wrong again. If anything, these families won't be touched by it at all. It will
be normal, healthy families that the government bodies will go after.
How are parents going to be monitored? Are the children
going to be interrogated at school?
How are parents going to be monitored?
Are the children going to be interrogated at school? Will the children be asked to
raise their hands in the classroom if they have been smacked? Will the law react on the basis of anonymous
phone calls? Are children going to be encouraged to 'turn their parents in' with
TV adverts (this has already been done) and with songs? (The NSPCC is currently
getting children to sing songs that encourage them to be 'heard', to
'protest', and to report on other adults, including their parents.)
Are fathers going to be excluded from
their homes for smacking, or for having smacked in the past? (Almost certainly -
See Smacking Bottoms.) Will a smack
from the past be used as grounds for divorce? (Almost certainly.) Will a smack
be termed as 'physical assault' by the legal profession and the hysterical media
to make the 'crime' sound worse than it really is. (Of course it will, just as
shouting is now being categorised as an act of 'domestic violence'.) What will
appear on the criminal record of someone who has smacked? Will they go on the
Sex Offence Register? Will a father go to prison for a smack? Will a mother?
What will the consequences of all these
things mean for the family?
How many children might a law against
smacking actually 'save' in reality? (My guess is, 'not many'.) And how many
children might such a law damage? (My guess is, 'just about all of them'.)
Thus, for example, my little sweet
darling might never need a smack in her life. But a smack and better discipline
for the boy who eventually bullied her, mugged her or disrupted her education
might well have saved BOTH of them from whatever it is that he did.
Perhaps we should ask Saatchi and Saatchi
- because no-one has done ANY proper research on ANYTHING that I have mentioned
once met the head of a major social services division in
Sweden or Finland. (I can't remember the country.)
In her opinion, the damage to
the children, even from really very abusive (sexual or physical) households, was
not nearly as great as that being inflicted upon the children by the system
itself (i.e. by the social services, the police, the therapists) and she advocated
that they should not be removed from their parents except under very dire
And you really
must take this on board. This woman was STRESSING that the social
services were actually causing MORE HARM TO CHILDREN than was, in fact, being done by
very dysfunctional physically or sexually abusive adults within the household!
that's saying something!
how bad the system is. That's how diabolical and incompetent the employees
within the system really are when it comes to dealing with the nation's children.
in this country, we seem to be handing over even further powers to the social
services. And we are now on the verge of prosecuting decent, caring
parents for having smacked their children's bottoms!
On what grounds? Because of some completely useless pieces of 'research'
by politically correct hysterics who are too blinkered to see what harm to
society they are causing, and,
of course, because there's money in it for a host of 'abuse'
professionals and a lot more power for government.