Back in my day, children were seen and not heard at adult gatherings, and a swift kick up the arse soon fixed any problems. But sadly, gone are the glory days of dispensing a little well-deserved public discipline to an insubordinate child.
Over the years we’ve seen avid debate around topics like smacking, mollycoddling, and more recently around the exclusion of children from some realms (or more specifically, venues for adults) of society. Parenting’s difficult of course, but for God’s sake, let’s stop making a science out of it. The application of a little common sense will in most cases find a solution to any problem. And, to help, I’m offering some of mine completely free of charge!
To smack or not to smack?
In case you didn’t get that from the second paragraph, I believe a single quick smack to the backside immediately sends a message to a child that they have done something wrong, that they’re misbehaving, and that that behavior will not be tolerated.
Enter the child welfare advocates: smacking can cause anxiety, aggressive behavior, lead to substance abuse, crime and violence, and yep, it can even increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. What is not often pointed out with these so-called “findings” is the number of other variables that can influence the results. Name anything that can occur throughout childhood; it’s probably a variable that affects the outcome.
Growing up I was spanked on occasion, in most cases as a last resort, and even though it hurt at the time I now look back on it with a certain kind of fondness and as a positive, character-building exercise.
I remember my mum driving me and two of my cousins home from Saturday sport one morning and we were being rowdy as hell in the back. She’d told us numerous times to keep quiet because we were distracting her from the task of driving. Alas, we were kids being kids and we’d probably just had fifty cents worth of sugar from the club canteen. She pulled over to the side of the road, opened the back door and let her hand do the talking. After she gained our attention, she explained (again) to us the dangers of her being distracted while driving by our backseat hullabaloo. And guess what? This time we got the message! We now all have a laugh about the time Aunty Colleen had to pull over and administer some tough love, and the experience has been one my cousins and I have bonded over. Cognitive dissonance that, haters!
One of my [un]favorite scenarios though has to be the screaming child in the supermarket. We’ve all experienced it: little Billy can’t get his own way so resorts to screaming and carrying on because he knows that when he’s in public mummy and daddy will inevitably give in so that he’ll shut up.
Ever notice the volume of teens/young adults these days that don’t want to work hard for anything? I’ll bet they had parents that gave them whatever the fuck they wanted when they wanted it, ultimately moulding them into the laziest shits out, who’ve never had to work for a goddamn thing in their lives.
Solution: a short sharp smack to Billy’s buttocks. He’ll soon learn that screaming and a tantrum isn’t going to get him what he wants and he’ll soon learn to modify his behavior. Instead he might just get what he wants by being rewarded for his good behavior on future shopping trips. Wow – what a novel idea!
Yes, I even advocate smacking in public if it’s warranted. It will be a sad day if it is ever outlawed in Australia. And to all those that scream ‘child abuse’ at the drop of a hat I say, it’s a goddamn smack we’re talking about, get over it, your child soon will and they’ll have learned a lesson to boot (almost literally!).