Smacking Hurts

I saw a mother smacking her 2 year old on the bottom when he ran near the road yesterday.  It made me wince then it made me sad.  Where is the sense in hurting a child to stop them hurting themselves?  There is always another way to keep them safe.  Although smacking has been proven to be an ineffective form of discipline, many of us still believe smacking, or spanking, is a necessary evil. Why, in our modern world full of human rights, is it deemed unacceptable to do to an adult, but not a child? A 200lb man can smack a small child as often as they like as long as it is their own!


You don’t need to be a psychologist to conclude that hitting hurts a child. It hurts a child physically. It hurts a child emotionally. It hurts a child psychologically. It hurts the mother-child relationship.  Many mothers claim they do it out of love but no adult would want their spouse to hit them because they loved them. Hitting doesn’t feel like love, it feels like control and power. It teaches our children that it is ok for a bigger person to hurt a smaller person to get them to do what they want. Is that really what you want to teach your child?

About Chaley-Ann Scott

Chaley-Ann Scott is a parenting author, sociologist, counsellor, and mother-of-four. She writes widely on parenting and education for various publications, and is the author of The Shepherdess; A Guide to Mothering without Control.


4 thoughts on “Smacking Hurts”

  1. Only time I learned not to cross the street on my own (and without looking!) was when I was spanked one time. Never did it again.
    Would be great if you had actually included some alternate suggestions here. I’d rather spank my child than see them get hit by a car, I don’t know about you

  2. I can personally say in those situations, it is best to remove them from the situation when they are too young. No discipline, no matter what you administer, are they going to understand until a certain point. Always hold their hand, use a harness, carry them, et cetera. Then prepare in advance.

    When my 5yo and I would go for walks, I didn’t wait until the day she ran into the street to respond to the danger. I sat by the curb on a friendly slow traffic street and we talked. I waited for a car to pass (there were cars lining the street so neither of us could see or hear it coming) and explained the mechanics of it and compared it to something she was familiar with. When children don’t have experience with one thing, I always resort to an analogy, so they begin to build an understanding. I also only ever walk down slow moving traffic areas, but I understand not everyone has that available.

    Something along the lines of “What if we had walked into the street just before that car passed? What would have happened?” With her response of I don’t know followed by, we could have been hit by that car, I remind of her the time she fell and skinned her knee and how much it hurt.
    I told her it would be more painful if the car hit because she was so much smaller and it so much larger, and is moving much faster. Some children aren’t ready to be introduced to the concept of death, some are, depends on the child.

    Everywhere we walk, we talk about road safety. I walked her through each step saying everything out loud as I completed them until I saw her doing them herself (such as looking both ways automatically and always holding my hand).

  3. To that, also, I agree with you on never hitting a child. I worked for the Boys and Girls Clubs for 3 years. First year with the most rebellious teens, second year with outstanding special needs cases, and third year with troubled youth. My aunt is also a child psychologist who worked in a home for the most severe cases. Young children who were gang raped, set on fire, and worse (and yes it gets much worse). We were able to work with all of these children and saw them more frequently than there parents did, many of whom didn’t have parents at all. If we can conform their behavior and restore their respect for society non violently, there is no reason someone can claim that some kids *need* to be hit. I think this tells them that hitting them is okay, and that they do not own their own bodies. I think that is morally and ethically wrong. I may be an authority in my household, but I do not have authority over anyone’s body except mine.

  4. I agree, questioning mom.
    But I think the spank should sting at least.
    pain can really wake a person up.
    and if it wakes a child up to really realize the danger in getting
    hit by the car. I think its worth it.

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