By MIA FREEDMAN
I’ll never forget the first time I smacked my son.
He was 4 years old and riding his scooter on the footpath outside our apartment while I roller skated slowly next to him – out of practice after more than a decade. As I wobbled along, he thought it would be funny to push me over so he reached forward and gave me a shove.
I stacked, hurting myself and getting a huge fright. Without thinking, I immediately swung around and smacked him hard on the bottom.
I will never forget it. The mix of shock and puzzlement on his face. The way my hand stung.
Instantly, I felt sick. And mortified. I was not a smacker! I was never going to smack my child and yet here I was. I smacked my son in anger – is there any other way? I wanted to hurt him because I was shocked and angry and it was totally instinctive. I lashed out. In that moment, I was not in control.
Fortunately, probably because I’d never smacked him before, he was as surprised as I was by what happened and burst out laughing before lightly smacking me back as if we were merely horsing around, having a playfight.
It was the first and last time I would ever hit any of my children.
And are you ready? Because I’m going to express an opinion that will no doubt provoke howls of protest from some.
I think it is a breach of your parental power to smack – or hit – your kids. An irresponsible breach of power. I think smacking is unilaterally wrong. I think it’s poor, lazy parenting. I think it’s bad for kids physically, mentally and emotionally. It harms them. That’s been proven.
And I find the reasons smackers give for hitting their kids to be utterly preposterous.