At the grocery store yesterday, I heard a woman smack a child.
I was standing a checkout away.
Now I know there’s still a huge debate about whether parents should be allowed to
abuse smack their children in the name of discipline. And smacking isn’t against the law as long as it is done within certain parameters. (Though I think the Supreme Court is a bit fuzzy in these matters since one person’s reasonable force is another person’s abuse.)
I know I don’t have children of my own. Which, to some people, makes my argument as useless as a diet Coke with a Big Mac meal. (I do want to point out I have a B.Ed, and while I’m not perfect classroom disciplinarian, I’ve yet to resort to hitting children which would get me fired and for good reason. I would be livid if someone hit my kid.)
However, when you smack your child on the arm so hard people can hear you, you may want to consider whether you’re disciplining your children effectively.
And when you’re doing it out of frustration and/or anger, you really need to evaluate if you’re teaching your child how to behave in public, or whether you’re just pi$$ed and need to overpower something smaller than you.
Having said all that, there is the rare, occasional time when a parent may have to resort to a more physical form of discipline than a time out.
Be forewarned, though, that research shows it doesn’t work. And may leave your children with physiological harm.
When all is said and done, I’m really upset that I didn’t say something yesterday. But words choked in my throat.
I’ll admit it: this woman looked angry enough, I figured she would go all Vlad the Impaler on me if I said anything. That, and I knew I couldn’t call the police on her.
See, the law says people can use “reasonable force” in disciplining children. So unless they’re not smacking their kids with a paddle or leaving huge welts, it’s permissible (I know: write your MP).
But you know what?
Little boys sitting in shopping carts don’t deserve to be smacked out of frustration so loudly, it sounds like a belly flop at the pool. Get it together and follow more research-based techniques for making your children listen. If you don’t want to do it for the well-being of your little person, do it because they might be charge of picking a nursing home for you some day and you don’t want them to pick one that will:
- steal your money
- feed you watered down gruel
- tie you into your bed
I think the Criminal Code of Canada should make it legal to smack an adult who needs to learn a lesson. (With a reasonable amount of force, obviously.)
Of course, then there’d be a lot more smacking going on at the grocery store.
And a lot of other places.