Do you smack your child? Do you think it is child abuse?
This is a question that 69% of Australian parents will answer no because 69% of Australian parents do it.
Well, here is a statement bound to raise the hackles of more than half of you reading it and yet I stand by this statement.
Smacking your child is child abuse. Pure and simple. It is wrong.
In fact Australia is far, far behind the eight ball in our attitudes towards smacking – simply because the public do not want to be told how to discipline their children.
45 other countries around the world disagree. 45 other countries say that Australia is wrong. Because in 45 other countries corporal punishment, smacking your child is against the law.
The debate about smacking has re-entered the arena with Emeritus Professor Kim Oates, a former CEO of Westmead Children’s Hospital, a finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards, a paediatrician and author of 14 books asking for doctors to lead the way in taking a stand against smacking.
At The Royal Australian College of Physicians annual meeting in Cairns, Professor Oates said that GPs need to use their influence to change the public perception of smacking.
“We want to use our influence to change public opinion and, once it is changed, the Australian legislation might change,” Professor Oates said.
“There are still a lot of people with a very strong view that ‘I got hit as a child and nobody is going to take my ability to hit my child away’, which is a bit strange, really."
“We are not allowed to hit animals, we are not allowed to hit prisoners, we are not allowed to hit spouses, but we can hit kids.” reports The Herald Sun.
I have screamed at my kids.
Yelled. Sworn under my breath and slammed doors when they aren't in earshot. I have clenched my fists in frustration digging my nails into the palms of my hands in anger.
I can imagine the pressure building which leads to someone smacking their child. I can also imagine the shock and fear that must run through a child.
I can imagine their tiny little bodies tensing as they sense their mother getting angry, their shoulders rising, their eyes alert.
I can imagine getting to the point where you smack your child. But I don’t condone it. Because what I believe is that part of being an adult is learning to keep your emotions in check, learning to regulate yourself, learning control and smacking a child is difficult to equate with being in control. Isn't it?
Instead, it looks all about trying to control.
Under Australian law parents are allowed to use “reasonable force” towards their children.
A Canadian study in 2001 found that smacking children can cause harm later on in life. For more watch this video. Post continues below.