Family Lives responds to Minister defends parents right to smack children

“Parents that contact Family Lives are often unsure about whether smacking children is a good or a bad thing and what ‘reasonable chastisement’ means in reality.  We believe that many parents want to find alternative ways to discipline their children.  Sometimes parents smack children in anger, frustration or out of a desire to protect their child from perceived immediate dangers – such as busy traffic. Perhaps parents fear that if they do not smack their child they will lose their authority with their children?   Family Lives believes that physical punishment is an ineffective method of discipline. While we welcome any press debate shining a spotlight on the difficulties that many people face in parenting their child and exerting their authority, we believe that parents need support to help them regain control and manage their child’s behaviour using much more effective positive parenting methods than smacking.

There is no doubt that for many families, managing their child’s behaviour is a major concern, and many of those parents feel so desperate that hitting their child may seem like the only option.  Family Lives received 7692 calls to its helpline recently regarding child behaviour.  Some from parents who were so intimidated by their children that they suffer physical and verbal aggression from their child.  We have seen that interventions which help parents communicate effectively, regain their confidence and understand their child’s behaviour better can be very effective in getting that child’s behaviour back on the right path.”

Jeremy Todd

Parents can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 2222, or to get involved with Family Lives