Why can we think of endless excuses of why it’s ok to hit children? Every time I share a post about smacking, people want to justify their ‘right’ to hit children.
So many excuses. None of them valid.
“There is a difference between hitting and smacking.” No, there’s not, they are literally the same action. We can’t just give it a more palatable name so it’s easier to justify.
“Sometimes a smack is needed because there isn’t always enough time to explain.” If you have time to smack a child, you have time to put your hand out and prevent them from getting hurt instead.
“Children don’t understand reasoning, so smacking is necessary.” Would you hit a disabled person? No, that’s called abuse. No one deserves to be hit, regardless of percieved cognitive ability. If they don’t understand reason, how can you possibly expect them to understand the backwards reasoning as to why someone who loves them is deliberately hurting them?
“I love my children and they know that. Smacking hasn’t harmed them.” Actually, research has shown that a loving parent does not negate the effects of smacking. In fact, it can make children more anxious. In the words of Alfie Kohn, “How we feel about our kids isn’t as important as how they experience those feelings and how they regard the way we treat them… What matters is the message our kids receive, not the one we think we’re sending.”
“There is a difference between a smack and abuse.” If we’re talking about the effect on children, smacking and abuse have the same negative outcomes. According to five decades of research on over 160,000 children, smacking is associated with antisocial behavior, aggression, mental health problems, and cognitive difficulties. Effect sizes did not significantly differ between ‘smacking’ and abuse.
“I was smacked and I turned out fine.” Firstly, that’s debatable since you are trying to justify your right to hit someone smaller and weaker than you. Secondly, there is no way to know. You have no idea how you would have turned out if you were not hit.
“Each to their own, everyone needs to do what is right for their family.” No, there is a clear right and wrong here. Children are humans with rights. There is no justification for hitting them. It is never ok.
“Yelling is probably more harmful than smacking.” They’re both harmful, we don’t have to pick one. Let’s not do either.
“Children need to learn. It’s our job to teach them right from wrong.” Do you honestly think people learn best when they are afraid? What children learn when they are hit is that love is conditional, people who say they love them can also hurt them, and that next time they should try harder not to get caught. None of these are positive lessons.
“Smacking in anger is wrong, but I always do it calmly.” This is beyond disturbing. Surely it is even more confusing for a child to have a parent intentionally and ‘calmly’ choose to hit them.
“There is research to show that smacking is beneficial too. You have to read both sides.” I have to research why I should hit people? Is this a joke? Did you research the benefits of hitting your partner before you decided not to? Why is anyone even researching that? Why are you trying so hard to find a reason you can hit children? Why is it so important to you to hit them? That’s concerning.
I could go on. Let me cut to the chase.
There is no justifyable reason.
All smacking is detrimental.
Yes. All smacking. For any reason.
Children are humans and they have the right to feel safe and not be hurt. No child deserves to be hit, least of all by someone who is meant to protect and guide them.
There are other ways of parenting and surely it is worth putting the effort into learning about them when smacking is so clearly harmful. The first step is to stop making excuses. It’s not ok. When you know better, you do better.
It’s time for change.