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Do you follow parenting advice?

13:03 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Two announcements about smacking and toddlers' TV habits have put a spotlight on parenting skills and the impact on their children. What makes a good parent?

The deputy head of the Council of Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, said a ban on physical chastisement would improve parenting skills. Smacking is currently allowed for parents in the UK for the purposes of "reasonable" punishment.

Meanwhile, a study found that children who watched too much TV as toddlers have a higher possibility of doing badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10. Dr Linda Pagani, who supervised the study, said that parents should "limit the exposure and encourage other one-to-one language-enhancing activities that centre on talk at mealtime, bathtime, shared reading and imaginative play."

How can parenting skills be improved? Should parents follow the advice of academics and government agencies? How has parenting changed from generation to generation?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Smacking is a highly useful tool in disciplining children, especially younger ones whose reasoning abilities may not respond nearly as well to explanation as to a short sharp tap on the hand or backside. It doesn't even need to be particularly hard - but it makes them take notice in a way that no amount of speechifying or shouting ever will.

    Yes, beating children is bad but so is poisoning them - that doesn't mean parents should be banned from feeding them! There's a difference which is obvious to any "reasonable" person.

    And yes, the laws are different for hitting adults. But then so are the laws on sex, on drinking, on school attendance etc. Children are not adults and so different rules apply.

    As for the TV, it sounds like sloppy science to me - correlation is not causality as we scientists say. Are the homes with lots of TV also those with generally poor parenting, lack of reading encouragement, lack of educational motivation etc? Because I reckon they probably are, in which case TV hours would be an effect and not a cause.

  • Comment number 2.

    Once again the EU shows who daft they are. Britain out of the EU asap.

  • Comment number 3.

    Lack of smacking has led to the mayhem you see in schools and on the streets. You only have to look at the case of the teacher who was so goaded by the class that he snapped and lost complete control of himself. Sometimes Contolled smacking is the only answer. I was smacked as a kid and it made me determined not to do something which would result in another smack. It certainly did not make me want to go out and kick the s**t out of anyone as the so called "experts" claim.

  • Comment number 4.

    If you cannot control your kids without hitting them, then you probably shouldn't have children. It's all in the nurture. Except those with defined behavioural difficulties, badly behaved children are in my view a product of the parents... At least whilst they are young.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think for SOME parents television is an easy solution for the kids because they spend too much time at work and haven't the energy to properly play with their children. While they complain it's difficult to raise a family and make ends meet (and I'm sure it actually is), SOME parents still devote too much to their work in order to afford big-screen TVs, sporty cars, holidays and new mobile phones, things no normal person would want to live without these days.
    These parents are so caught up buying all kinds of tat like all good consumers should, they've forgotten what real sacrifice must have been like for many of their parents. They want children, but they also want the same standard of living they had before, and something has to give in that situation.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was in favour of physical punishment for children; although I only restored to it once my with children.
    However, as my wife works with children that have been excluded from school for bad behaviour, I now have a range of strategies that don't involve smacking. Therefore my granddaughter benefit from much better parenting - ironically a lot from having watched programmes like the House of Tiny Terraways and Supernanny.
    Similarly, there is some brilliant TV for children; In the Night Garden (which actully puts my youngest granddaughter to sleep), Handy Mandy, and the Disney programme based on classical music.
    Obviously too much TV is bad, just as too much chocolate is bad; etc. Non of this is brain surgery.

  • Comment number 7.

    The TV article states that:
    "quite aside from good or bad parenting, children's daily screen time is a major independent health issue."

    Surely this is not aside from good or bad parenting, but an intrinsic part of parenting, the parents who allow their toddlers to watch hours of TV are the ones that have least interest in their development and therefore I find nothing surprising in this article. It is not TV itself that is the problem but the dependance to TV to entertain children rather than crafts, reading sport etc.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yet more people living in cloud cuckoo land.

    A ban on chastisement would not improve parenting skills. Part of the skill of being a good parent is to know when and how to chastise. Sensible discipline is an essential part of learning.

  • Comment number 9.

    The people who need to listen to parenting advice "didn't do nothing wrong" and "can't help it none if my child aint behaving".

    The ones that will take on such studies don't need to be told how to raise their children.


    Well, maybe I'm being stereotypical, but it's my opinion from personal experience.

  • Comment number 10.

    Quote: "Dr Linda Pagani, who supervised the study, said that parents should....."

    That will work only if parents are willing and able to do what is required. I suspect many are not able to, even if willing.

    50 years ago, uneducated parents reared uneducated kids (with some exceptions)who "fitted" our society; they took jobs that required little education and worked long hours for low pay (relative and absolute). They did as they were told. Society is now very different. The changes in our society have been so rapid in recent years we have not adapted to them. Ther is no longer a demographic/economic/social "fit".


    About 40/50 years ago Sir Geoffrey Vickers noted a significant feature of our society was it was changing faster than our capacity to adjust. Out capacity to adjust is probably related to educational levels. I suspect educational potential is much influenced by early home life, which in many cases may be inadequate to the needs of people in today's society. We might achieve more if we ploughed resources into schools rather than phoney degrees in phoney universities. Stuffing people into degree mills will not produce educated people; you can't educate adults, just provide opportunities for them to educate themselves. First they must have the interest...which surely starts early in life for most. I saw a lad on TV yesterday complaining he could not find a job "I've done a degree and everything...". Thats sums things up well. Recently I saw a job advertisement for a "nail technician" at £35,000; £35,000 p.a. to teach kids to stick guitar picks on people's fingers. Colleges are running "beauty" and "fashion" courses to mop low achieving up kids. They may help get kids off the street but they will not contribute to the nations economic wellbeing...they may produce parents who are not adequate to today's needs. Nor tomorrow's, a vicious circle of educational deprivation.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not counting to 3... Not repeating sit down, sit down, sit down, then counting to 3 again and still not disciplining them. Never EVER back down on a decision. Make them stand by the choices they make. These are a few simple rules that can be the difference between a delinquent and a child with a sense of self respect and, there fore, respect for others!

  • Comment number 12.

    What never ceases to shock & amaze me whenever topics like this come up is the sheer vehement mistrust & hatred visible in British society, directed at our own children.

    The vast majority of whom are no worse than those any other generation, and probably better behaved than many.

  • Comment number 13.

    A prize to the first person to mention flogging, national service or the death penalty for child offenders under 10.

  • Comment number 14.

    Smacking children teaches them nothing except that a big person can use violence to get a smaller person to obey them. Absence of smacking does not mean absence of discipline. Of course children need to learn boundaries and obey their parents but there are better ways of doing it than resorting to violence.

  • Comment number 15.

    'Do you follow parenting advice'?

    Parenting varies in this country, also internationally and culturally?

    In such a fast-moving and media-driven world - parents are often struggling to parent themselves?

    The most important things we learned (and it has to start early; not babies, but before the so-called 'terrible twos):

    1) Don't respond to negative behavour.
    2) Respond to good behavour.
    3) Try and plan your day and encourage a routine whenever possible.
    4) Never disagree with your partner about your children in front of your children.
    5) If you are a lone parent - ask your friends/and or family to stick to your rules.
    6) Whatever you decide on as a parent - keep an open mind, consider advice but, above all be consistent - it's not easy, but children instinctively push, but emotionally need continuity from you.

  • Comment number 16.

    Smacking has nothing to do with better parenting skills. Smacking is about teaching a child a lesson. You do not learn not to touch the hot stove by not being allowed near it, you learn through the mistake and the lesson is taught well as a result.

    This is pathetic.

  • Comment number 17.

    Parenting is quite simple really, you get back what you put in so if you don't spend the time, don't expect well behaved children. It is far easier to be a "best friend" to your children that a parent but this teaches them nothing and one of the many roles of a parent is to ensure they fit in with society.

    A child needs parents to keep them in line, not parents who are at work all day and leave their children at playgroups.

    I smack my children, not very often but as a means to administer a reasonable punishment for something I feel is not right. If someone can't tell the difference between a smack on the bottom and a punch, they shouldn't be parents. The lack of discipline has created generations of thugs and young people generally not willing to work.

    I look at a large majority of the children today running riot and the parents not doing a single thing. These children are growing up thinking they are entitled to everything for not doing anything. This country is far too politically correct. People worry about upsetting the minority so the majority have to suffer. I am ashamed to live in this country when I see how these young children behave. I feel sorry for the elderly who must be terrified.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Removee physical punishment and we are left with the supernanny style mental punishments. God knows what sort of damage that does long term.

  • Comment number 20.

    The government should stop interfering with parents raising their own children.
    Yes give advice, yes stop child abuse.
    But when doing a study, actually get someone with a brain to interpret the results, unlike the so called experts that seem to have left their common sense in a taxi.
    Such as the recent advice on TV, I suspect its not the fact they watch TV, but the fact the parents don't interact with their children and teach them.

    I ignore the government on raising my child, he will get the best I can give him, and if that means a smack on the bum if he is naughty then he gets it. The only advise I listen to is some health advice, but even that is drivel.

  • Comment number 21.

    Some adults deserve to be smacked, let alone children who are, after all, animals unless they have been given guidance as to what is acceptable or unacceptable.

  • Comment number 22.

    I was smacked lots as a child. It teaches the child who's boss, as simple as that. If I was given a warning not to do something bad again, and I still continued to do it, I got smacked extremely hard. Yes it hurt at the time, but sometimes there is simply no other way to teach kids the rules. I'm 20 yrs old now so we're not talking too long ago. Needless to say it gets young children to obey their elders and develop understanding of authority - both of which are essential for when they begin school and start living in the big, wide world.

  • Comment number 23.

    My ex wifes favourite was to chase the kids with a wooden spoon, will you be able to lock her up for previous crimes. With 4 kids she must have thousands of previous to take into consideration. We now have 5 lovely grandchildren, I think even they have got past the wooden spoon stage, its now the threat of being grounded that pulls them into line. Everybody has differant ideas on how to bring up children so why do these cleaver people try and manipulate us into being non thinking do as your told or else people. Sounds a bit like communism to me.

  • Comment number 24.

    Rachel Blackburn wrote:
    Smacking is a highly useful tool in disciplining children,

    ----

    Yes, when all else fails you can hit your kid. So the message is basically:

    'If you are unable to control a situation, rather than looking for alternative means, just resort to violence to get your point across'

    You never have to resort to hitting your child. Ever.

  • Comment number 25.

    This is just my personal observation.

    I have seen what some would deem unacceptable parenting within my community. Years later it is these same parents who are the most cared for by their grown children. The youngsters seem to appreciate more the parent who shows that they care enough to punish.

    I am not speaking of unwarranted violence but just a reminder that there are boundaries and rules which must be kept.

    Soft touch parenting may be fashionable but nine times out of ten the child grows up to be a spoiled, ego filled, demanding and self centred adult. Trying to reason with an out of control child weakens the parent and ends up with pent up resentment on both sides.

    I followed my heart when I brought up my own children, as have they with my grandchildren and there's not a lot wrong with any of them.

  • Comment number 26.

    I am in no way shape or form an anti-European BUT no-one in Brussels has any right to tell me or anyone in the UK how to bring up children. How can we allow the whim of one politician dictate how we as UK parents tackle the enormous responsibility of parenthood? Totally ridiculous and an insult to UK parents.

  • Comment number 27.

    It is shameful that Scotland, which played such an important part in the European enlightenment in the 18th century, had to wait for a European court to force the banning of corporal punishment in its schools in the late 20th century. The UK is still lagging behind the rest of Europe by allowing parental abuse of children.

    Andrew Middleton #3, and the others that believe that lack of physical punishment is the cause of "mayhem on our streets and in our classrooms", would discover, if they looked more closely, that the children who cause the mayhem have almost invariably already suffered plenty of physical abuse, under the guise of punishment, at home.

    How else do children learn how to behave but by copying adults? If some of those adults use violence to get their way, and appear to enjoy doing so, it is not surprising that some children do the same.

  • Comment number 28.

    Violence is never a solution; an option, yes, but it will always lead to resentment and, often, the desire to retaliate. It's not that hard to see, is it?

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm sorry but Ms de Boer-Buquicchio is talking utter twaddle when she claims that a legal ban on smacking doesn't erode parental authority. Of course it does! How can it do anything else?!

    If standards have dropped I think it is precisely this kind of undermining of parental authority and self-belief that caused it. We are forever being told that we're doing it all wrong and even if they say you've got it right this week, next week there'll be another study or piece of advice telling you that you've got it wrong. I don't even think that it's accidental because an infantalised population, conditioned always to ask for an 'expert' opinion and to believe themselves not to be good enough is so much easier to control than self-confident, well adjusted adults.

  • Comment number 30.

    No one who loves their children "wants" to smack them - but we do understand that they "need" discipline and guidance. The pace and pressure of modern life makes it difficult for parents to be perfect all the time and we don't always have the time to distract or reason with our children in the way that we want to when they are having a tantrum for example, but we do want our children to grow up with respect for people, animals and our environment.

  • Comment number 31.

    Andrew Middleton wrote:
    Sometimes Contolled smacking is the only answer...

    --------

    Controlled smacking? Presumably you have already lost control if you are resorting to smacking. I do feel that some parents don't have the patience to try alternative methods of discipline, so a ban would force the parent into doing this.

    We need to break this cycle somewhere.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Surely smacking and tv are the least of our worries when it comes to childrens' healthcare...
    Whilst we still allow drug-addicts to have children and for parents to smoke in confined spaces with their children (cars, for example), I would suggest that there are more pressing health issues to consider.

  • Comment number 34.

    The biggest obstacle to eliminating smacking is the absence of a wide range of effective alternative methods for disciplining a child. Many parents don't have the time or the inclination to find out about such methods. These often include those that are the main offenders. Invariably it is middle class parents that have fairly effective strategies and these have been learned through a combination of thinking about it, their own values and drawing on methods that were used by their parents. It is tough to get effective strategies to work - they require real persistence and sometimes a change of personality/approach. Poorly implemented strategies can result in the opposite and result in a difficult child. It is also difficult to change people's behaviour when a smack is so effective (at least in the short term).

  • Comment number 35.

    I get annoyed at the thought that we as a society do not see the uses for physicality anymore.Instead words such as violence tend to be implemented in arguments to make those who use such measures as a smack on the bum or a clip around the ear, feel like violent pariahs.It is not violent, it is physical.The use of the term "it never did me any harm" is also useless as , yes , it did me harm, and it worked....I learned respect and understood that some things were/are important within my social group.It is time we brought back our physical nature without violence.

  • Comment number 36.

    2. At 1:39pm on 04 May 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:
    Once again the EU shows who daft they are. Britain out of the EU asap.


    Once again the rabidly Eurphobic HYSers show they can't distinguish between the EU and other non-EU European institutions such as the ECHR and Council of Europe.

  • Comment number 37.

    23. At 3:03pm on 04 May 2010, steve wrote:
    Everybody has differant ideas on how to bring up children so why do these cleaver people try and manipulate us into being non thinking do as your told or else people. Sounds a bit like communism to me.

    I would agree that the use of a cleaver is a step too far, although what that's got to do with communism is beyond me. Maybe a sickle would do the trick.

  • Comment number 38.

    Anyone who allows their child to have a TV in their bedroom, uses it as a child minding tool and expects their child to develop good communication and social skills needs to have their child removed from them.

  • Comment number 39.

    20. At 2:59pm on 04 May 2010, mrxavia wrote:

    "actually get someone with a brain to interpret the results, unlike the so called experts that seem to have left their common sense in a taxi"

    Experts are called experts because what they know is so much more than common sense. Sometimes common sense is simply wrong. Surely you want to know when your common sense is wrong, rather than just blindly following instinct and ignoring facts.

  • Comment number 40.

    Excessive "smacking" has no place but its rare use must remain the ultimate sanction for wanton naughtiness. To claim that its ban would mean better pasrenting is total utter nonsense.
    Clearly the EU and related organisations want to have CCTV in every room of every house in every town to enforce such a ludicrous idea.
    To legislate on this is to be mad - laws state what should or shouldn't happen not that something will or will not occur. If it was the latter, there would in theory be no criminals - legislating against the unenforceable will not succeed.

  • Comment number 41.

    Some of us don't have children you know BBC

  • Comment number 42.

    you should never resort to violence to resolve a problem! if you start smacking children they'll think it's ok to go around smacking people. we are in 2010, not 1950! smacking and corporal punishment are wrong end of.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hyperstar wrote:
    Some of us don't have children you know BBC

    -----

    Ok well perhaps the BBC should only make Have Your Say on the things that interest you personally then?

  • Comment number 44.

    The most important parental advice I can think of, as regards chastisement, is to be consistent, logical and calm, don't wimp out, and don't lose your temper. Or, to put it another way, use the "one two three" warning system.

    My tried and tested solution to the child who won't stay in bed, is the "one two three" method where they've been told they can stay up as long as they like, and sit with me watching the TV, if they get to three.

    What makes this work, is the occasional reminder (completely outside the scope of the warning system) that quite often I switch the lights off, and put on a horror film, before going to bed.

    I've never told them that getting to THREE in this situation will result in them being forced to sit through a video nasty. When they have come down at midnight complaining of a headache, the telly's not even on.

    If they go back to bed, I reward them with a cuddle when I escort them back to bed. No tears, no fuss, no threats, no pain.

    One day they'll call my bluff, but I have a nice stack of films which have far more scary titles than content, and we'll just have to see how it goes. But my eldest is twelve and at the moment even he makes a strategic withdrawal before I've turned the TV on.

    I think Roald Dahl understood children far better than the progressive liberal thinkers do. All children have a powerful imagination and if you encourage it right, children will moderate their own behaviour.

    If you do have to administer the punishment, even if you really don't want to do it, then make sure your child sees you do it with an overt sense of regret. But nonetheless you MUST follow through. Otherwise all you do is teach your child that it's okay even for a parent to break their promises, duck their responsibilities, and leave their own messes for other people to clear up.

    I'm no advocate of smacking, but then again I suspect very few parents who are against a ban are actively enthusiastic about smacking. Ultimately, that's true of all forms of punishment. You have to be a pretty weird person to want to lock your child in a bedroom, or want to make them sit on the naughty step, or want to take away their toys.

    But only a bad parent avoids doing chastising their child simply because they don't like doing it.

  • Comment number 45.

    22. At 3:03pm on 04 May 2010, air4917 wrote:
    I was smacked lots as a child. It teaches the child who's boss, as simple as that. If I was given a warning not to do something bad again, and I still continued to do it, I got smacked extremely hard. Yes it hurt at the time, but sometimes there is simply no other way to teach kids the rules. I'm 20 yrs old now so we're not talking too long ago. Needless to say it gets young children to obey their elders and develop understanding of authority - both of which are essential for when they begin school and start living in the big, wide world.

    ------------------------------------------
    If smacking works then why are you advocating it. It clearly did not work in your case because you think hitting children is okay.

  • Comment number 46.

    We need to stop idiots having children. That's the only way to deal with the problem. 95% of disruptive children have thick parents. ie People who have kids and have absolutely no idea what to do with them.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Nanny state imposing how people should raise they kids.
    How can these "expert" who usually dont have kids and live in posh quiet suburbia tell us "peons" how to raise are kids.

  • Comment number 48.

    I don't need advice. I'm a natural. And I don't need to hit a child.

  • Comment number 49.

    Smacking is only useful in communicating that it is acceptable to be violent as a solution to a problem behaviour. Regardless of the childs behaviour it is never acceptable to hit a child, or abuse our power as bigger people. There are always different solutions, and we should search for the underlying cause and feelings behind a childs mis-behaviour, not punish them becasue we cannot tolerate it. If a child is abusing himself or others then they can be restrained physically, but that is very different to being violent.
    There is ample evidence to show that children who are hit as toddlers are more likely to be show disruptive behaviouror aged 5.

    Bring on the smacking ban.

  • Comment number 50.

    There is a vast difference between a smack on the bottom to tell a child 'no' and beating a child senseless. Unfortunately, the do-gooder brigade do not see the distinction, only seeing it in terms of black and white. Sorry, 'light and dark' - can't have anyone perceive it as racist now, can we?

    Has nobody else noticed that as power and authority to enforce discipline has been removed from parents and teachers, society has degenerated? Have none of these do-gooders seen the correlation? You take away a parent's ability to discipline their child and you only cause this to get worse.

    As I say, I'm not advocating thrashing the child, but if they're playing up and you give them a clip around the backside you aren't doing any harm.

    "But smacking kids makes them turn out violent!" I hear the cry. Let's look at the following ratios:
    1) Amount of kids who have been smacked and turned out ok (A)
    2) Amount of kids who have been smacked and turned out violent (B)
    3) Amount of kids who have not been smacked and turned out violent (C)
    4) Amount of kids who have not been smacked and turned out ok (D)

    A > B+C+D

    I was smacked if I played up as a child. Never did me any harm. I'm not violent, I'm not aggressive or antisocial. My worst personality trait is being bafflingly cynical, which has more to do with my observation of the world around me, not of being disciplined.

  • Comment number 51.

    No, we did not follow "experts" advice and on rare occasions, when a repearted warning was ignored, smacked. We now have a polite, well behaved child who has a set of morals and a work ethic. She's not perfect, no one is. But does not hit people or tease or steal and looks out for those less fortunate. Our neighbour never smacked thier child. He regularly assaults the other kids and is loud mouthed.... oops so much for the "experts" advice!

  • Comment number 52.

    "you should never resort to violence to resolve a problem! if you start smacking children they'll think it's ok to go around smacking people. we are in 2010, not 1950! smacking and corporal punishment are wrong end of." So how to you explain that my once or twice smacked child has never hit anyone themself yet my neighbour, who does not believe in physical chastisement has a son who goes around thumping people? These trendy theories don't work in the real world!

  • Comment number 53.

    My son had a TV in his bedroom from age four, his favourite programmes were from the O.U. He was read to from an early age, and encouraged in his sport. It was when he fell into the hands of the 'Professionals' that his education fell to pieces. Although we knew from an early age that he had a problem with reading and similar activities, it took educationalists 10 years to discover that he was Dyslexic.
    If I had followed parenting advice he would not have attended Uni and obtained qualifications that earn him way above the average wage. The professionals told me that he would never manage an academic education, his school wrote him off.
    I did smack him as a small child, a tap on the hand, nothing more. He is one of the most peaceful and caring people I know.

    If I had followed the advice of the 'experts' I have little doubt he would now be a failure.

  • Comment number 54.


    Smacking is a very simple form of conditioning. If you do A it hurts, so you stop doing A. It works, it really is as simple as that.

    When punishment that a child can instantly and unquestionably understand is removed, at the same time a major incentive to play by the rules is also removed.

    Just look at the rise in disrespect in society and correlate it to the reduction in corporal punishment in homes and schools.

  • Comment number 55.

    At 65, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio is a jolly attractive woman for her age. She's urbane, chic and very well-educated. She also talks a lot of sense, unlike some of the pro-violence comments on this HYS.

    "Smacking is a highly useful tool in disciplining children, especially younger ones whose reasoning abilities may not respond nearly as well to explanation.."
    "Lack of smacking has led to the mayhem you see in schools and on the streets."
    "Smacking has nothing to do with better parenting skills. Smacking is about teaching a child a lesson."

    With parents like this, a kid doesn't need enemies.

  • Comment number 56.


    Smacking children is just one item in an over-arching public culture of domination/bullying that still shapes too much of modern life. People get wound up about violence in the streets but fail to appreciate that much of it is an artifact of a cultural tolerance, even a preference, for 'hard men', 'big hitters', 'top dogs' and the general macho-dom threaded through advertising, video games and cinema.

    This culture of dominance means that the threshold of what counts as harm is shifted, so that even the word 'smacking' massages the truth. 'hitting' children feels more accurate.

    Hitting a child produces distressed learning, we are more likely to be learning how to cope with being hit than with what the perpetrator intends us to learn. And if being hit is extreme or repeated, this is likely to lay down body memories that may be re-stimulated in later life, perhaps as phobias or compulsive behaviour, such as 'anticipatory obedience', or bullying.

  • Comment number 57.

    All these experts, these pronouncements....

    All this waffle. Society is based around TV these days. Parents watch it so their children will follow the example. They get their view of reality from TV. If these egg-spurts are so clever, how come they don't take over the upbringing of our children and let's see if they do any better?

    A bunch of impotent do-gooders who do nothing to enhance society. If they don't like kids watching TV, eating fattening foods etc, they are incapable of doing anything about it anyway. And they're never there when a parent needs support.

    Unfortunately parenting entails conflict between engaging with one's kids, nurturing them, treating them as people and, on the other hand, disciplining them to learn right from wrong (in society's eyes), to live within their means and to contribute to society, etc.

  • Comment number 58.

    Any time you need a good laugh, read government advice on how to bring up children. Ho, ho, ho!

  • Comment number 59.

    45. At 5:37pm on 04 May 2010, Ax0l0tl wrote:
    If smacking works then why are you advocating it. It clearly did not work in your case because you think hitting children is okay.
    -----------------------------------

    This argument makes no sense. If something works, why shouldn't you advocate it?
    Personally, I was smacked by my parents when I was bad. I am now a law-abiding soon-to-be graduate. I have never been in trouble with the police, I have never been violent or got into fights and I have respect for authority and a huge respect for my parents and family. If I have children of my own, I will smack them if they need it. There is nothing wrong with smacking children as a form of punishment as long as you use it as a last resort when it's really needed. There is a difference between abusing a child and using smacking as a punishment.
    Of course there shouldn't be a smacking ban. Parents should be allowed to bring their children up using their own parenting methods.

    I do not believe watching tv has a direct causual link to poor performance. Again, this comes down to parenting. Parents who stick their babies and toddlers in front of the screen to keep them entertained for hours and hours are probably not giving them enough physical and mental stimulation.

  • Comment number 60.

    Situation: 2 year old gets frustrated after being told repeatedly not to do something. They then sink their teeth into your leg. How do you tell a 2 year old who is not open to reason at that point in time that it is totally unacceptable to bite.

    A short tap (not with all your force by any means) on the backside (and she's in nappies anyway) makes her stop biting and cry. A very stern "you must NOT bite" follows.

    Would be interesting to hear from the Smacking Makes You A Child Of Satan Brigade how they would handle that situation.

  • Comment number 61.

    "Let's look at the following ratios:
    1) Amount of kids who have been smacked and turned out ok (A)
    2) Amount of kids who have been smacked and turned out violent (B)
    3) Amount of kids who have not been smacked and turned out violent (C)
    4) Amount of kids who have not been smacked and turned out ok (D)

    A > B+C+D

    I was smacked if I played up as a child. Never did me any harm. "

    Oh no, not another one...
    It clearly did affect you. By your argument, since more smokers don't die of cancer than do, smoking doesn't cause cancer.
    Next!

  • Comment number 62.

    Has anyone else noticed that all the illiterate, ungrammatical, miss-spelled and illogical posts are in favour of smacking? And they were all smacked as kids. Point made.

  • Comment number 63.

    I got the cane once at school for stealing my own cousins pencil case and hiding it in her bag... what did it teach me?

    It taught me that although she was my cousin and in the same class, I had prevented her from undertaking her class properly and therefore I had to be punished for this... from that date I thought more carefully about my actions and behaviour and never got the cane or reprimanded again..

    We wonder why we have children behaving badly, running riots on estates, stabbing each other etc.... whilst there are a NUMBER of Social Issues, one is that we are not supposed to smack our children, the school can't discipline them, the Police can't discipline them - so they grow up thinking they are untouchable and invincible until the day they pick on the wrong person who either beats them to an inch of their life, or takes their life - what a waste.

    Meanwhile, instead of vetting everyone that comes into contact with children (widening the trust gap between adults and kids) how about we vet the parents instead and make sure they are FIT to have children, after all it is a priviledge not a right.

  • Comment number 64.

    In my experience it is children from brocken homes who have the most problems, not smacked children who are loved. Perhaps we should ban couples with children from splitting up? This will never happen. Those who love to control us and dictate to us might have to put some effort into their own families.

  • Comment number 65.

    Unfortunately, violence is the only language most people & children understand because they are not capable of attaining a higher evolutionary level which dispenses with violence.

  • Comment number 66.

    So, when the child is running out into the road chasing their ball, do take some time to discuss this with them, perhaps put them on the 'naughty stair'...

    I wonder though - time in their room or a quick reminder which is over and done with...

  • Comment number 67.

    Suggestion: Before putting your comment, why not say whether: you have kids; how many and what age; Then whether you shout or swear in front of them or at them, do you eat together, do you cook or simply use a supermarket, do they have a TV or electronic game(s) in their bedroom. Then we will know how relevant your comment is.

    Bet you don't!

  • Comment number 68.

    'Do you follow parenting advice'?

    Our family and neighbours feel extremely distressed and powerless since the introduction of 'Anti-social Behavior Orders' or ASBOs introduced by this government.

    Why? Because so-called 'low level' crime is always caused by a minority.
    Anti-social behavior is crime. Full stop. Our community blame Jack Straw for allowing the majority to be victimised by a minority to 'massage' crime stats?

  • Comment number 69.

    So yet again the EU are going to dictate what we do to bring up our children. We have enough trouble here brought by EU criminals who have a total right to enter our country.

    Time to tell these unelected pr4ts to go take a running jump in the Channel.

  • Comment number 70.

    It sounds too simple to carry any weight to be effective or be able to nurture children without addressing 'society's individualism damages children'.

    The wellbeing of millions of children across Britain is being damaged by adult's aggressive pursuit of personal success, a three-year inquiry by the Children's Society concluded recently. Bob Reitemeier CEO of TCS said: "Essentially the report brings a taboo into the open which is that we have to confront our selfish and individualistic culture."

    Britain is a liberal society founded upon the secular belief, any criticism of freedom and individualism or to legislate restrictions have been met with harsh reaction by the supporter of liberalism. They say they have confidence in the average person's ability to regulate their own actions responsibly; adults do not be treated like children. Adults must not be restricted regarding where and when they can drink and must not be told what TV shows are good for them and therefore are assumed to make mature decisions themselves. Immunity shuns any negative influence popular culture and all exposure to ideas and values is considered healthy, as they are able to freely make responsible choices.

    Yet, we consider it necessary to have anti-bullying rules in school with tough punishments for children who insult others. This invasion of personal liberty is justified by liberals - as anyone less than 16 years old even by 1 day are considered too immature to understand and live with insults. It is only the selfish arrogance of the self-superior liberals who argue that such influenced people are emotionally weak and are victims of constant psychological abuse by their colleagues.
    Children do not live entirely in TV land. They live in a society and attend schools, yet are becoming increasingly rebellious in their behaviour.

    Britain had a higher rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe. More privacy when both parents work, pressure towards premature sexualisation and a fundamental change in attitude towards premarital sex. “It criticised advertisers who ‘explicitly exploit the mechanism of peer pressure’. Listening to elders’ advice is laughed at. Children are left to make their own mind by mistakes and learn themselves.
    Parents blame teachers and teachers blame parents. Schools should be ‘values-based’ communities’ promoting mutual respect between teachers, parents and children. They must develop character as well as competence.

  • Comment number 71.

    59. At 6:46pm on 04 May 2010, Liz wrote:
    45. At 5:37pm on 04 May 2010, Ax0l0tl wrote:
    If smacking works then why are you advocating it. It clearly did not work in your case because you think hitting children is okay.
    -----------------------------------

    This argument makes no sense. If something works, why shouldn't you advocate it?
    Personally, I was smacked by my parents when I was bad. I am now a law-abiding soon-to-be graduate. I have never been in trouble with the police, I have never been violent or got into fights and I have respect for authority and a huge respect for my parents and family. If I have children of my own, I will smack them if they need it. There is nothing wrong with smacking children as a form of punishment as long as you use it as a last resort when it's really needed. There is a difference between abusing a child and using smacking as a punishment.

    --------------------------------------
    It is worrying that someone predicts that they will beat children and sees nothing wrong with it. Maybe anger management should be part of parent training.

    Clearly smacking children doesn't work because in some cases the victims grow up thinking that beating children is okay.

  • Comment number 72.

    "Once again the EU shows who daft they are. Britain out of the EU asap"

    Oh lord. The Council of Europe is not the EU and the worrying thought is that the ignoramus who posted that message has a vote on Thursday.

  • Comment number 73.

    My wife and I used 'the seat of our pants' thoery when bringing up our boys. The seriousness of events warranted the attention of said flyers, and occasionally a slight physical reprimand would sort of reminded the juniors that the C/O and I were in charge. Credit to my lovely wife but we are the parents of two well adjusted gentlemen, who both worship their mother, despite the odd slap, and are proud to be our sons. Just nice, honest, take them home to meet your mum lads.

  • Comment number 74.

    "Suggestion: Before putting your comment, why not say whether: you have kids; how many and what age; Then whether you shout or swear in front of them or at them, do you eat together, do you cook or simply use a supermarket, do they have a TV or electronic game(s) in their bedroom. Then we will know how relevant your comment is."

    Right: my son is 25; we sometimes swore in front of him but never at him; we occasionally shouted at him; we ate cooked meals together and he did not have a TV in his room till he was 17 and never any electronic games.

    Yes, beating childen should be forbidden by law; yes, their TV hours should be limited but that of course must depend on their parents. Parents who allow them a TV in the bedroom, or a games console anywhere, or who over-indulge them so that they are fat and toothless, or smoke in the home, are incompetent and inadequate and should feel guilty as sin because that is what they are.

    OK?

  • Comment number 75.

    "Has anyone else noticed that all the illiterate, ungrammatical, miss-spelled and illogical posts are in favour of smacking? And they were all smacked as kids. Point made."

    Pity you can't spell mis-spelt!

  • Comment number 76.

    IMO,parents are entitled to use every weapon in their arsenal to teach their own kids how to behave,if all else fails smacking sometimes works instantly.

    I see many parents are quite happy for their own kids to go around bullying and bashing other kids,these are the same kids that cause all the disruptions in our school classes,in my day they'd have been sent outside the headmasters study for the cane,no discipline at home means no manners outside the home.

    It's like our world has gone mad and now the kids are in charge,yes you've guessed it we have given kids too many rights,youngsters now have helplines where they can blackmail their parents into anything or they'll report their own parents as abusive,teachers too are under pressure every day because the kids can get teachers suspended with accusations that cannot be argued about as we've given our children too much protection from the law.

    So now when you see all the louts coming out of late night parties and boozers high on alcohol and drugs remember you should have smacked them when you had the chance because if you were too soft on them then they'll soon be smacking you.

  • Comment number 77.

    Its all about sensible parenting. Banning smacking would not increase parenting skills, nor would it make children behave. My honest opinion is that children misbehave because they believe they can do what they want when they want to, as no one can stop them. In a classroom, a child can stand up and walk to the window. When asked to sit down, and the child refuses, the worst thing a teacher can do to them is send them home, or put them in detention for a bit. Does anyone think that the child cares about this? Whereas a short sharp smack would be a threat enough not to, and this works better with younger children. I was brought up being smacked when I misbehaved, and I will bring my children up being smacked when they misbehave. Im not going to thrash them to within an inch of their life, and I certainly would only use it when justified.

  • Comment number 78.

    There's so much advice out there and with government prohibiting this and that, particularly smacking, parents don't know what to do, they're afraid to do anything. I've heard that parents are afraid to say 'No,' to their kids, that they want to be their 'friend', not their parent.

    Young children are blank slates and sponges. They need to be told what is acceptable, shown and told what is acceptable- the boundaries. They need to learn respect but also to be respected. Parents need to remember their own childhood, learn from their parents' mistakes, be empathetic, then be a parent to their own child/ren.

    Sure, listen to 'advice', but take heed with a pinch of salt!

  • Comment number 79.

    good parenting mmmm. i feel this is a parent who is tough but fair, i agree in smacking a child IF a verbal warning does not work, i was smacked as a child if i miss behaved and it did me no harm, most parents in the UK are too scared to disciplin their children because they dont know where they stand legally, I look at most children in my daughters school and most are spoilt with very little disciplin, i have bought my daughter up the same way i was and the teachers always say how well behaved and polite she is.
    regarding TV my daughter does watch alot but she is doing well in school is not obese, we dont eat in front of the TV so we talk.

    One thing i want to know is WHY somebody who has probably never been to this country should be allowed to change this countries laws or have a say in how this country is run.

  • Comment number 80.

    For all of you that think SMACKING a child should never be used, let me give you a small lesson...

    Your child takes to bullying my child at school to the extent my child has bruises and constantly refuses to go to school.

    I am furious, I demand the school takes action, your child is removed from the school under current bullying guidelines... you appeal and your child is allowed back in and immediately starts again on my child.

    I decide to give my child boxing lessons so that one day he goes to school and beats the crap out of your child -

    What lesson have you learned?

    That for every action there is a reaction, if you had taken the time to SMACK your child so he learned and understood that BULLYING is wrong and there is always someone BIGGER than them, then just maybe I would not have had to teach my child how to use VIOLENCE to defend himself.

    I hate with a vengeance all you wishy washy parents, bet you vote Lib Dem yet dutifully collect your Tax Credits from Labour - get a spine, learn to stand on your own two feet and teach your kids the same, we might have evolved over the last 13M yrs, but it is still survival of the fittest until mankind can behave differently towards each other and ACCEPT responsibility for themselves and their children instead of expecting others to do it for you...

    I can remember once my Mum smacked a child for 'snivelling' in Tescos whilst shopping but when she turned around it was not one of hers she had clumped, it was someone elses -- the child stood still and stopped 'snivelling'.. the mother said to my mum, "Thank you, I can't bear to hit my children", to which my mother replied, "Learn to and learn fast otherwise they will run you ragged as once children learn they can manipulate people they will play mummy off against daddy all day every day in an effort to learn how to control any given situation, they are not as dumb as you think they are!"

  • Comment number 81.

    Self-righteousness really is the curse of the UK. When you have experienced every child in every situation, then you have the right to tell us how to bring up our children.

    As for the TV study, it is sheer nonsense: asking parents how much TV children watch and then asking teachers how children behave invalidates the results completely since you are simply comparing subjective, inaccurate fibs with subjective, inaccurate fibs. Parents who think their children watch too much TV will revise downwards the amount (as we all do with ciggies and drink), completely skewing the results. Teachers who think a child watches too much TV (or suspect so) will tell researchers that they have short attention spans or whatever. Real experiments that actually measure how much TV is watched and then actually measure objective results do not show a correlation, let alone causation.

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm heartily in agreement with Rachel. The time for smacking is mainly before the age of seven; it plays a key role especially between about one and three, in enabling the child to learn respect. This in turn will stand the child in good stead for years after, avoiding many an unnecessary conflict and letting them get on with life without having to decide each time whether or not to assert their own will. They do remain perfectly able to do so when they need to, no question.
    I have seen parents attempting to talk reason into their 3-year-old, or indulging in an extended nagging session... the overall amount of distress to both parent and child is far greater than when a brief smack is followed by a brief cry, and the matter is past and done.
    Sure, it can be done badly; like anything else, good discipline, including the physical bit, has to learned. But not doing it at all is not the answer.

  • Comment number 83.

    Can someone explain to me why, with the no smacking, no chastisement, no discipline culture our children are far more violent than at any time in the recent past? It is an almost everyday occurrence to see or hear of children being not only being violent to their peers but also their parents and other adults?
    What is needed is a return to discipline, starting in the home and with the re-introduction of consequences, which should include smacking.

  • Comment number 84.

    Perhaps Maud de Boer-Buquicchio could enlighten us as to what qualifies her to air an opinion on this matter. I have been unable to find any reference to her having any children of her own. If she hasn't got any children, she should shut up, as she knows nothing.

    It is the withdrawal of corporal punishment in schools that has caused the breakdown of discipline and lack of respect among the youth of today.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ms de Boer-Buquicchio does not state that she has children, but dare I say that her title may indicate that she doesn't. If she does NOT have children I deem her unqualified to make such a controversial statement. If she does then she should come and spend some time in the UK and see what the anti-smacking brigade has done to our children. They are feral, undisciplined, have a total lack of respect for adults and are the most scary lot that I have ever come across. I smack only when all verbal reasoning has failed. Afterwards I explain again why I smacked and what my expectations from the child are so that they know for future reference. We hug and spend some quality cuddle time together and then that is that.

  • Comment number 86.

    When my niece's son came home from school protesting that his teacher had man-handled him she was outraged and immediately took the 10 year old back to school and demanded that the teacher pay for what she had done. She gave no thought to what he had done to warrant being led out of the classroom - all she wanted was 'justice' for her son.

    Later that day she telephoned me expecting a sympathetic hearing but I just pointed out that by leaping to the lad's defence in his company was probably the wrong way to handle the situation. I warned her that children are quick to spot a weakness in both parent or teacher and that I felt she would rue the day she told him that 'no-one' has the right to discipline him.

    Unfortunately I was proved right and some years later when he became more than she could handle she was at a loss. He would throw back at her that he had 'rights'. As a single parent she had no backup and life for them both became tense to say the least.

    It's taken years for the two of them to regain the relationship they once had. He had taken her concern for his welfare and used it against her. I firmly believe that children should be taught respect above all else.

  • Comment number 87.

    Dear Nanny state, please go away (or words to that effect).

  • Comment number 88.

    80. At 9:09pm on 04 May 2010, Demon Lee wrote:
    I can remember once my Mum smacked a child for 'snivelling' in Tescos whilst shopping but when she turned around it was not one of hers she had clumped, it was someone elses -- the child stood still and stopped 'snivelling'.. the mother said to my mum, "Thank you, I can't bear to hit my children", to which my mother replied, "Learn to and learn fast otherwise they will run you ragged as once children learn they can manipulate people they will play mummy off against daddy all day every day in an effort to learn how to control any given situation, they are not as dumb as you think they are!"

    --------------------------------------------

    A 'clump' for the heinous crime of 'snivelling' in Tesco.

    Crumbs! What next? The death penalty for crying in Tesco?

    Well, at least they won't do it again.

  • Comment number 89.

    The best parents are those who ignore the interfering busybodies and politicians and bring their children up with love, discipline and support with whatever they wish to do.

  • Comment number 90.

    Those who love their children care enough to discipline them, and I believe that discipline can and should on rare occasion include a controlled firm smack to indicate displeasure for poor behaviour, unnecessary tantrums. I am tired of witnessing parents at their wits end intimidated by the nanny state into not disciplining their children. These children grow up in my opinion with a complete disrespect for authority and little if no understanding of consequences until in many cases they brush with the law and finally (too late in my view) face the consequences of not being parented. Lets not disempower parents by removing smacking (and by smacking I do not mean uncontrolled physical abuse or anger taken out physically on a child but a firm tap on the hand or backside to indicate poor behaviour is unsuitable for a future leader). It's time we "man up" as a nation, and as parents and step up and discipline our children properly again.

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm sixteen. I was smacked when I was little and it taught me right from wrong. Those who consider "smacking" as "hitting" probably also consider "a glass of wine" as "binge drinking" - it is the same over exaggeration. This is an example pure and simple of politicians sticking their noses where they don't belong. The notion that the politicians and by extent the state believe that they can parent better than the population themselves is utterly condescending and insulting - it is as if they believe the adults are also children themselves. I suppose I shouldn't expect any less of the European Union, the organization that rammed the Lisbon Treaty down The Republic Of Ireland's neck against it's will.

  • Comment number 92.

    Since sometime around the late 1960s or early 1970s ever more liberal attitudes towards childcare and the child's position in society have taken an ever firmer hold .
    The child in this country is given absolute priority in every conceivable situation.It is almost the case where if the latest pair of trainers is not made available to the precious replicant at first demand then a troop of "child welfare specialists " arrive to sooth the irreconcilable child's apparently permanently damaged well being,whilst subjecting the errant parent to conpulsary corrective classes aimed at "challenging" the blah,blah ,blah of whatever todays state dictatorship says is good/bad for children.
    The entire system makes the child the centre of attention,thus promoting the idea in the child's head that they are indeed the most important feature in society.When this principle is took to task,IE in the real not so nice world where other children also believe that they too should be given centre stage,things start to unravel.
    Children should be loved,but they must not be pandered to.40 years of fashionable "the child is never wrong"policy have resulted in successive generations where they have fewer and fewer aptitudes needed to be balanced individuals.yet the liberals will always blame it on society brutalising the child even when the only thing doing the brutalising is the child itself.

  • Comment number 93.

    91. At 10:56pm on 04 May 2010, Chris H wrote:
    I'm sixteen. I was smacked when I was little and it taught me right from wrong. Those who consider "smacking" as "hitting"

    ------------------------
    At what point does the smack become a hit? Can this be scientifically measured so that we can be in no doubt when hitting has occurred. I would hate to think that an abuser is hiding behind their justification that they were only 'smacking' a child, reasonable chastisement my backside.

    It's the justification of a playground bully, who was after all only teaching someone a lesson, the lesson they learnt from their parents.

    If some parents can raise children without resorting to violence, then all parents must surely be able to.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    The liberal left has one this war,a child who is never punished is a child who will never learn consequence.We have a generation about to hit the real world,who through the media driven sex and violence,do not understand many of the basic skills to cope with reality of lives ups an downs expecting instant gratification .

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am willing to follow "expert" advice only when it doesn't run contrary to the teachings of the Bible. In the case of physical discipline used against children, it contradicts several passages, e.g. Proverbs 13:24. The liberal elites in Hampstead and the EU should stop interfering with Judeo-Christian parents seeking to raise their children according to God's teachings.

  • Comment number 98.

    The majority of parents and families in the UK, work very hard for their children; and ensure their children behave well by example, and respect their elders and teachers?

    Unfortunately, this good news, is not 'news' for some rampaging global manic media? This media is only interested in the negative? This constant minority negative exposure is an insidious poison and damaging to all societies, globally?

    Parents, children and their families and friends have to be clear, and firm. Media has it's place, but is not your family - they only want your satellite subscription to broadcast bad news, or to wind you up? Don't rise to the 'negative bait' or brainwashing by bad news, or vacuous murdoch international rubbish? It's your life - don't waste it watching and listening to the screen? Take a walk outside - just 30 minutes will do - because it belongs to YOU?

  • Comment number 99.

    a good parent need only tell their child one thing - "do what you love" - and for the rest of it they should bite their tounge!!!!

    as for resorting to violence, well they have already lost the argument!

  • Comment number 100.

    YES, it's true. If a child has no boundaries at home and can 'bully' their parents too - then there is a shock for the child when they enter first society - playgroup/school?

    Society only functions well if ALL educational establishment's MEMBERS (children and teachers) function well in the purpose of education. If your child persistently disrupts other childrens' education AND emotional/personal progress - then it should be investigated - for the benefit of everyone, including your child?

 

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