"Yes, smacking children should be banned in Australia."

In my youth smacking children was acceptable.

Naughty kids got “the cane” at primary school and parents could belt their children at the shopping mall in full view of witnesses with no repercussions.

Now there are fresh calls to ban smacking in Australia because supporters say condoning it makes it difficult to identify abusive parents.

Hear Rachel talk about her experience on the course on This Glorious Mess, here. Post continues…

Australian QC, Felicity Gerry, has argued that it is “not acceptable” that Australia is missing from the list of  49 countries that have reformed laws to ban all corporal punishment of children.

“Slapping, spanking, smacking and hitting a child with a wooden paddle are forms of violence that would amount to assault if applied to an adult,” Ms Gerry told NT News.

Ms Gerry wants to end the defence of “reasonable chastisement” for children.

Could the naughty corner be a better option? Image via iStock.

In an article published in the International Journal of Child Rights Ms Gerry and her co-authors argued that Australia should make smacking children illegal.

Yes, smacking children should be banned.

The "I was smacked as a child" defence.

Many Australians who grew up with smacking condone it as a good was to discipline kids.

"I grew up with parents who smacked my sister and I and we both grew up fine. I know the difference between being smacked into line and abuse," says Bradley Smith on Facebook.

Channelled Livo added: "I look at kids now who don't get smacked and I honestly fear the day they take over."

Like many, I was smacked as a child - not by my mother or father but sometimes in syllables by a weightlifter step-parent, but I didn't need it.


I've always feared authority and have been a stickler for rules. I could have easily been pulled into line with someone being a little disappointed. My mother and father knew that and never physically scared me.

I can't member my mother or father ever smacking me. Image supplied.

The smacks were never about discipline, they were about an adult losing their cool and instilling a physical threat and fear.

But my family became so used to the idea of it as a discipline that I've recently had relatives tell me that my two-year-old son "needs a smack" mid-tantrum.

I'm not for it because it teaches my child that resolving things with violence is acceptable and I'm certainly not allowing others to smack him either.

The slap

I recently witnessed high drama over the issue between mothers at my suburban playgroup when one mum hit another person's child for hitting her son.

It just doesn't make sense. How can you hit a child to teach them not to hit a child?

The next week there were posters in the room explaining to the adults bringing children to playgroup that hitting someone else's child was not acceptable.

Nor should it be okay to hit your own flesh and blood.

The severity

I realise my son needs discipline. When my son runs off in a crowded place I know he needs firm boundaries for his own safety.

Before my son was even two-years-old, I had completed a community parenting course called “About Boys” that was designed to help mothers provide positive discipline for boys under five.


The facilitators encouraged us in a variety of ways how to communicate with our children and handle unruly behaviour.

Charlie escaping his bed. Image supplied.

The organisers said the problem with hitting was it needs to increase severity as the child grows.

A smack on the hand or thigh would suffice for a small child but what about a 10-year-old. Would you need the back of a hairbrush? Or a teen - would you need a wooden spoon?

When we are making such progress with awareness around domestic violence - why are we condoning it with our own children?

To the people that say my son needs a smack, I'm afraid I don't agree.

I'm all for a smacking ban in Australia and I do hope I never find myself smacking my son. I have already hit my son on the hand hard for throwing his food on the floor. There are other options - I could've taken the food away.

I'm only two years in and not a perfect mum.  I don't know how yet but I hope my son builds respect for his parents without me instilling a fear for his physical safety.

Amid epic supermarket tantrums, dealing with baby runaways, or times when can't even hear yourself think I have done it and can see how easily a smack could happen but that doesn't make it right.