Especially For Young Women



Research on Smacking Children

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 society.

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 Stop Campaign. 

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 abuse!

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 the land?

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, "I can't be bothered any more," to "Let them watch the TV all evening," to "There is 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 services by 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 prosecuted? 

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 direction?

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, perhaps, he 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 parents, will 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 Bottoms)

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 herself.

And yet, despite all this, am I really supposed to have to answer to her? 

How many parents are going to feel the same way?

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 above.


I 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 circumstances. 

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! 

Now that's saying something!

That's 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. 

Yet, 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.

3rd Jan 2010 ...

Smacked Children Perform Better Children who are smacked by parents often turn out more successful than those who have not, research has found.


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