There's nothing like a good smack!
I strongly feel that in the correct situation, a smack is a good deterrent and also provides a poignant reminder of inappropriate actions. Obviously, beating a child, repeated hitting and having a child live in fear of a slipper, belt or other implement is NOT appropriate in any circumstance.
Is it hypocrisy to teach children not to smack or lash out at others by smacking them yourself? Generally yes, if a parent smacks their child the likelihood of the child seeing this
as acceptable behaviour has been increased. If all problems were initially solved by physical violence the playground would be a truly unhappy place.
A holistic approach is surely the only way forward with smacking as the 'death penalty' of the household rules system- the ultimate deterrent. If the parents set the correct example of how we treat each other and mutual expectations, the likelihood of a situation leading to smacking is already reduced. Talking about unacceptable actions, 'don't bite' and showing the consequences and asking the child to put themselves in the particular situation is a good first step. From there, a loud clap, withholding either treats or fun activities would be the next step and then either a 'naughty corner' or chair or exclusion to the bedroom/laundry room could follow. Each of these strategies must of course be accompanied by a discussion to ensure the child understands what was not acceptable and how they could better have dealt with the situation. This has got to be the preferred option.
What about when the toddler takes a metal fork and decides to see how well it will fit into an electric socket?
Here, in my mind, a smack is appropriate. There needs to be a lasting reminder of this DANGEROUS action. A toddler may not have the vocabulary or reasoning capabilities to discuss the rationale of electricity but they will more likely associate the electrical point as a no go area. In a situation where there is danger and a young child, smacking is an option. Also as an ultimate deterrent which is very rarely used, the threat or understanding that a child could be smacked for unacceptable actions is important. A parent has to follow through with discipline the same way as providing a consistent bed time routine, answer to requests for sweet food or can I have a ..... on a day to day basis.
The older a child gets, the more sit down, discussion and providing alternatives to the action they have taken eg. suggesting walking away, reason or diffusing a situation are ways to prevent situations that would have lead to a smack. It is obvious that smacking does not have a place in adult life, although there are some people and bosses who probably would benefit from a good smack, children see it doesn't have a place in everyday adult life. We have to guide our children towards this understanding and correct form of social convention.
As a smacked child and a smacker, my understanding is that hitting or abusing a child is very different from a smack to show something is dangerous or unacceptable.
How about you, do you agree or am I a violent parent who needs to keep my hands to myself?