By Gabke, a fulltime mom to daughters Keira (3.5) and Gabby (2), and devoted wife to husband Etienne, a true gaming addict. Read about the everyday challenges she faces raising daughters that are only 18 months apart, and the often frustrating but always rewarding journey of being a mom. Find her on twitter @kirstymarais
What an insanely difficult topic to contemplate. In my opinion, only a question you can answer for yourself. I, myself was smacked as a child, to the extent that I would call it child abuse today. Let me put it to you this way, the thought of hitting my children with a belt or a sjambok has never crossed my mind and never will. However, I still do not find myself opposed to giving your child a good smack on the bum, or the hand depending on their age. I tend to lean towards the thinking that is; children under 3 seldom understand anything other than a good smack. If you need the behaviour to stop immediately (especially dangerous behaviour like running in the street), sometimes a smack is the only thing that works, and sometimes it has no effect at all, but you can’t tell me you’re going to be able to put your irate 2 year old on the Thinking Chair and get them to sit there for 2 minutes… And on that note, if you are out and about, where does this time-out take place in any case?
Having said that, smacking is no longer effective on my 3 year old. We tried a number of different discipline routes, including the “Thinking chair / Get Good chair”, I just could never get my kids to sit on it, no matter how hard I tried, so I ended up putting them in the bathroom for 1 minute per year of age. This didn’t last long as, in true Keira style, she started playing with the soap and the water and this was no longer a punishment 🙂 We are now onto the Reward Chart. Today the Reward Chart is one week old and so far so good. Keira needs to get 9 stars and then she gets a sweetie as a reward. With all the ups & downs, it took her an entire week to get her sucker, but the threat of removing a star has proven most successful. On the other hand, Gabby is too young to understand the reward system and thus it fails horribly on her.
Children need to understand boundaries, we as parents are teaching them the difference between good and bad behaviour. And honestly, different strokes for different folks, just don’t leave the behaviour unchecked. And the current topic under discussion: Proposed changes to the Children’s Act could make it illegal for you to smack your child. Seriously, banning smacking in the household is not going to stop the sickos in the world abusing their children. Think about it…