Views sought on proposed Scottish smacking ban

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Spirithorse
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A proposed Scottish ban on the physical punishment of children is being put out to consultation. A committee of MSPs is asking for the public's views on whether smacking children should become illegal.

The Scottish parliament's equalities and human rights committee wants to know what people think about the bill, which is backed by the government.

It would remove the defence of "justifiable assault" in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment on children.

A public consultation on the issue last year received more than 650 responses, with about 75% being in favour of the ban.

What do you think?
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AperfectBalance
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A little smack can be beneficial no real reason to ban it.
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Stiff Little Fingers
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Smacking is nowt but child abuse. It serves absolutely no benefit to the child, if anything it increases the likelihood of behavioural problems in later life. It's the reserve of incompetent parents who shouldn't be allowed access to their kids.
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fallen_acorns
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being nice to someone in the short-term can be awful for them in the long-term.

There are far far better parental methods that don't involve physical contanct...
But
The parental methods that don't involve physical contact (smacking, restraining, confining etc), are far harder to do, and require a greater understanding of child psychology and parenting

For those parents who are capable of reaching the higher level of non-physical discipline strategy... its best not to smack.

For those parents who are not capable of reaching the higher level of non-physical discipline strategy... a smack is better than no effective discipline

---

So what you get when you move away from physical discipline is a polarization, a divergence:

the educated middle and uperclasses raise better children, with more money and resources to put into parental education, and training for their kids. Their kids become better behaved as you move away from phyiscal discipline

the less educated lower and working classes raise worse children. They don't have the time or resources to devote to more complicated forms of discipline, and knowing that physical discipline is taboo, they end up doing less
discipline in general, and the kids suffer for it and become worse behaved.

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In general:

Best
non-physical discipline
physical discipline
no discipline
abusive discipline
worst

----

(the only way the move to an entirely non-physical disciplinary society could work is if it were met with huge increases in the provision for parental education, and resources)
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the bear
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a quick clip round the earhole would solve many of society's woes

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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
Smacking is nowt but child abuse. It serves absolutely no benefit to the child, if anything it increases the likelihood of behavioural problems in later life. It's the reserve of incompetent parents who shouldn't be allowed access to their kids.
your going to be taking kids away from a hell of a lot of parents. Better hope those kids like care homes. You should try talking to people in your parents generation - the vast majority of whom were smacked. First ask if they liked it - of course they didnt - but then ask if they would rather have grown up in an orphanage, or have a few smacks.

Many things can lead to an increase in the likelyhood of behavioural problems later in life. If we are going to take kids away from parents who do things hat could lead to more behavioural problems - lets:

take kids from parents who divorce (worse for kids outcomes than smacking)
take kids from parents who let them get fat (life-outcomes decrease signfiicantly)
take kids from parents who put them in nursery care 5 days a week..
etc. etc.

There are so many things that you can do as a parent that could have a negative effect on your kids, if you start outlawing things that could have a negative behavioral effect - then that opens the floodgates.

---

The sanctity of the parent-child relationship, is something we mess with at our own risk. Its a very dangerous bond to start to play with.. and in my opinion the state should only involve themselves legally in extreme and severely dangerous circumstances. Otherwise we open the sytsem up to far to much subjective judgement, and we give the goverment far to much control over the relationship between us and our children.
Last edited by fallen_acorns; 2 years ago
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katf
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Smacking is abuse. There is no defence to it. It's just abuse. It hurts the kid physically, but the biggest damage is psychological. It should be illegal.
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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by katf)
Smacking is abuse. There is no defence to it. It's just abuse. It hurts the kid physically, but the biggest damage is psychological. It should be illegal.
it did awful things to the countless generations before us didn't it? The majority of your parents generation were smacked.. the vast vast majority of your grandparents generation were smacked etc. Generations that went on to be highly successful, and built the modern world that we now live in.

100% I believe there are better and more effective methods of discipline than physical-discipline... but, there is no need to be so dramatic and over the top when talking about it.
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Stiff Little Fingers
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
your going to be taking kids away from a hell of a lot of parents. Better hope those kids like care homes. You should try talking to people in your parents generation - the vast majority of whom were smacked. First ask if they liked it - of course they didnt - but then ask if they would rather have grown up in an orphanage, or have a few smacks.

Many things can lead to an increase in the likelyhood of behavioural problems later in life. If we are going to take kids away from parents who do things hat could lead to more behavioural problems - lets:

take kids from parents who divorce (worse for kids outcomes than smacking)
take kids from parents who let them get fat (life-outcomes decrease signfiicantly)
take kids from parents who put them in nursery care 5 days a week..
etc. etc.

There are so many things that you can do as a parent that could have a negative effect on your kids, if you start outlawing things that could have a negative behavioral effect - then that opens the floodgates.

---

The sanctity of the parent-child relationship, is something we mess with at our own risk. Its a very dangerous bond to start to play with.. and in my opinion the state should only involve themselves legally in extreme and severely dangerous circumstances. Otherwise we open the sytsem up to far to much subjective judgement, and we give the goverment far to much control over the relationship between us and our children.
If giving the government more control means less child abuse then so be it - what is the point of a government if not to protect its citizens?

You also do a lot of parents a disservice if you think being an abusive parent is the norm - and let's be clear, spanking is an example of abusive discipline. It may have been performed to previous generations, but previous generations also burned witches. history is not justification for continuing horrific practices.
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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by Stiff Little Fingers)
If giving the government more control means less child abuse then so be it - what is the point of a government if not to protect its citizens?

You also do a lot of parents a disservice if you think being an abusive parent is the norm - and let's be clear, spanking is an example of abusive discipline. It may have been performed to previous generations, but previous generations also burned witches. history is not justification for continuing horrific practices.
1, what if the goverment in the future decides that how you interact with your child is now abuse? Will you willingly give up your children to them for their own good, or their own protection?

2, I don't think being an abusive parent is the norm... because I don't think that all forms of physical discipline are abusive. You define them as that, not me.

3, history is not justification for continuing practices that are outdated - but it is a good example of when the dialog is getting extreme. The way people talk about physical discipline, would have you believe that the vast majority of previous generations ended up emotionally damaged individuals who hated their parents. As we know that didn't happen - we can conclude that the extreme use of language around smacking is just sensationalist and unfounded in reality.

4, I do believe there are better more modern methods. But all of my work with parents and children - which is the sector I work in - has led me to believe that not all parents posses the ability, or the resources to manage non-physical discipline effectively. The only justification I can see for banning ALL physical discipline, is that if you truly believe no discipline is better than physical discipline - because for a decent proportion of parents, thats what this will result in, no discipline.

I ranked them in my initial response, but in my opinion:
Best
non-physical discipline
physical discipline
no discipline
abusive discipline
worst

The fundamental disagreement though, will probably be that you would put the physical category and the abusive category together - whereas I don't believe they are.
Last edited by fallen_acorns; 2 years ago
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Bio 7
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
it did awful things to the countless generations before us didn't it? The majority of your parents generation were smacked.. the vast vast majority of your grandparents generation were smacked etc. Generations that went on to be highly successful, and built the modern world that we now live in.

100% I believe there are better and more effective methods of discipline than physical-discipline... but, there is no need to be so dramatic and over the top when talking about it.
I agree. People make it out to be awful but it hurts for a moment then it’s gone.

I was smacked maybe twice or something so I know it isn’t that bad and can be beneficial. If that is your only method of discipline though then you shouldn’t be a parent. Smacking just a few times over years should be as infrequent as you get.
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fallen_acorns
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the last thing I would say about physical discipline is that you need to be careful to not remove the nuance from the distinctions.

ALL physical punishment is abuse!

Is it? that puts restraining, holding, a light tap around the head.. in the same catagory as knocking a kid out.

Its as unhelpful as saying

ALL bad things you say to your kid, are Verbal abuse!

No they aren't...

you can't just simplify things down to extremes. All this is that.. and All that is this.. it removes distinctions and dilutes a complicated and importantly varied picture, into an emotive black-white binary issue, that is far from helpful.
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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by Bio 7)
I agree. People make it out to be awful but it hurts for a moment then it’s gone.

I was smacked maybe twice or something so I know it isn’t that bad and can be beneficial. If that is your only method of discipline though then you shouldn’t be a parent. Smacking just a few times over years should be as infrequent as you get.
I think in part it comes from a lot of sheltered kids in england, who haven't really experianced actual child-abuse, and they rationalise that the worst experiances they have had, must be abuse. I have spent 3 years living in a very poor part of rural china though - and here I see propper abuse, bad abuse quite frequently. Not normally by parents, its normally by grandparents here. I have seen a grandpa kick his 4 year old kid to the floor, leave him crying in the snow, and walk away - grandmas just floor their crying kids in anger etc. Awful things that I hate, and think should be 100% illigal, and considered reprehensible.

Then I see through my work here, kind and loving parents, who occasionally use physical discipline as part of the way they like to raise their kid. A tap aroud the back, restraining them and holding them until they are calm.. a smack on the bum if its serrious etc. These parents care a lot, and you can see it in their faces - they don't like to do it.. but its how they were raised and taught to be a parent, and its what they believe is best for their kids. They are loving and kind at all other times, and put a lot of effort into their kids.

Then I see people on here who just lump it all together, ALL physical discipline is abuse.. ALL parents who do any phsyical discipline should have their kids removed etc.

And I can't help but feel that they are missing a big part of the nuance and detail in the debate. They are treating the worst things I see, under the same banner as some of the normal parents I see.. and they are giving the state even more control to intervene in the parent-child relationship, if it wants too..

I find it very worrying.

But, scotland will do it - and england will follow, eventually... its the way the wind is blowing.
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Bio 7
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
I think in part it comes from a lot of sheltered kids in england, who haven't really experianced actual child-abuse, and they rationalise that the worst experiances they have had, must be abuse. I have spent 3 years living in a very poor part of rural china though - and here I see propper abuse, bad abuse quite frequently. Not normally by parents, its normally by grandparents here. I have seen a grandpa kick his 4 year old kid to the floor, leave him crying in the snow, and walk away - grandmas just floor their crying kids in anger etc. Awful things that I hate, and think should be 100% illigal, and considered reprehensible.

Then I see through my work here, kind and loving parents, who occasionally use physical discipline as part of the way they like to raise their kid. A tap aroud the back, restraining them and holding them until they are calm.. a smack on the bum if its serrious etc. These parents care a lot, and you can see it in their faces - they don't like to do it.. but its how they were raised and taught to be a parent, and its what they believe is best for their kids. They are loving and kind at all other times, and put a lot of effort into their kids.

Then I see people on here who just lump it all together, ALL physical discipline is abuse.. ALL parents who do any phsyical discipline should have their kids removed etc.

And I can't help but feel that they are missing a big part of the nuance and detail in the debate. They are treating the worst things I see, under the same banner as some of the normal parents I see.. and they are giving the state even more control to intervene in the parent-child relationship, if it wants too..

I find it very worrying.

But, scotland will do it - and england will follow, eventually... its the way the wind is blowing.
So little hope for humanity as we continue to control what everyone can do beyond what is reasonable. If they would spend resources efficiently on child abuse cases rather than this we would be better off. People need to stop lumping it all together.
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fallen_acorns
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(Original post by Bio 7)
So little hope for humanity as we continue to control what everyone can do beyond what is reasonable. If they would spend resources efficiently on child abuse cases rather than this we would be better off. People need to stop lumping it all together.
it terrified my wife this summer - shes not from the Uk, and when we went back to visit this summer she got talking to my cousin who is a senior social worker - my wife is now terrified that if she moves to the UK, as we plan to do in the next year or two, she will have her future kids taken away from her. She doesn't want to hit a kid at all, but just the notion that someone else can decide that how she wants to raise her kids is wrong, and then take them away - really scares her.

In her mind being from a different culture, she keeps asking 'what if they re-define abuse again, to include X part of my cultures' parenting strategy that I think is right for my kid.. and what if my kid goes into school and tells their friends I do X, and then they report it to social workers etc.'

Its becoming a bit of an issue for her to be honest. For example - she can't understand at all, and finds it abhorent that in the UK she could recieve a fine from the goverment for taking her kid out of school.. and potentially even a jail sentance, should she refuse to comply with the fine. All for a parental decision that she feels she has the right to make as the childs parent.
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Bio 7
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
it terrified my wife this summer - shes not from the Uk, and when we went back to visit this summer she got talking to my cousin who is a senior social worker - my wife is now terrified that if she moves to the UK, as we plan to do in the next year or two, she will have her future kids taken away from her. She doesn't want to hit a kid at all, but just the notion that someone else can decide that how she wants to raise her kids is wrong, and then take them away - really scares her.

In her mind being from a different culture, she keeps asking 'what if they re-define abuse again, to include X part of my cultures' parenting strategy that I think is right for my kid.. and what if my kid goes into school and tells their friends I do X, and then they report it to social workers etc.'

Its becoming a bit of an issue for her to be honest. For example - she can't understand at all, and finds it abhorent that in the UK she could recieve a fine from the goverment for taking her kid out of school.. and potentially even a jail sentance, should she refuse to comply with the fine. All for a parental decision that she feels she has the right to make as the childs parent.
Hopefully this doesn’t go through and set a precedent for them to dictate every action. Eventually it may as well become that you never raise a child and they are kept together in an area raised by a few appointed people and nobody has any freedom, that may be the only way these people are happy. We all rule out child abuse but you can’t baby kids so much that you rule out almost all non-abusive parenting methods.

I hope your wife is OK when/if you make the move.
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bones-mccoy
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There's no reason to smack a child. All these people saying they were smacked, their parents were smacked, their grandparents were smacked etc and never suffered as a result - well, good for you. But that doesn't counteract all the children who grow up to have major psychological problems after experiencing physical discipline in the one place they're supposed to feel safe and loved. Maybe it's not the notion of smacking that is 100% to blame, rather the parents who deliver a punishment that is way over the top and in no way equivalent to whatever misdeed a child has done.
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Stiff Little Fingers
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
1, what if the goverment in the future decides that how you interact with your child is now abuse? Will you willingly give up your children to them for their own good, or their own protection?
This is just a lazy attempt at "muh slippery slope" - that physical punishment is abuse is not something that's up for debate among reasonable people. Change the relationship around, rather than parent hitting child for not doing as they're told, bloke hits his wife for not having dinner ready when he gets home - there's no debate that's domestic abuse, the child-parent version is child abuse. The difference is some people still confuse having a child with having a servant.
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TheStupidMoon
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If you don't smack your kids, the police will be more than happy to do it, when they are grown up.
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