DAILY Express columnist and TV and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz dismisses objections to smacking bans such as the one just introduced in Wales, saying she supports a similar measure in England. She says: ‘Some folk guard their right to smack their children. I hear from many of them on my radio show. They usually cite the “run into a busy road/stick their finger in the plug socket” examples. In those circumstances, they opine, a parent can’t waste time reasoning with an infant and only a smack will do.’ She adds: ‘In vain I suggest their parental duty includes making sure their children don’t veer so perilously close to danger. How much better to put protection guards on plugs and hold hands near roads rather than feel the best option is to strike?’
One could also mention the problem of a small child pulling the cat’s tail, torturing a baby brother or sister, or swearing at grandparents. Since so many people seem concerned about this issue, perhaps it would be a good idea to listen. Nobody is arguing for the right to beat their children regularly – indeed, assaulting children is already illegal and perpetrators horribly often appear in court.
It is hard enough to bring up children today, trying to shield them from inappropriate influences in the media, wokeism and premature sexualisation in the classroom, and attempts to frighten them with ‘green’ propaganda about humans killing the planet – not to mention the unintended irony of solicitous enquiries about their mental health – without dumping yet another burden on parents in the shape of possible legal action if someone reports them for giving their children the lightest of taps, on the basis that if they did it to an adult they would be committing an assault. Indeed, just as in Communist China in the days of the Cultural Revolution, the informers may be their own children.
Just to make things even harder, successive governments have penalised families trying to manage on one income, meaning that in double-earner families children have to be left in day care for hours on end, competing for personal attention with 30 other children and making up for this emotional deprivation when they get home.
Anti-smackers may have been fortunate in not having to bring up a naughty child; perhaps they have not got any children, or are rich enough to pay someone else to look after them while they do something more important. However, as a mother and grandmother Ms Feltz must surely be aware of the strenuous resistance of most small children to washing, cleaning their teeth, brushing their hair, eating their meals, not eating too many sweets and going to bed at a reasonable hour – in other words, all of the daily trials of normal life.
It would be far better to campaign against real child abuse rather than imposing counter-productive smacking bans, or at some point in the future, parents may be reported by their children for dragging them to the bathroom and applying a damp flannel to their dirty faces on the basis that if we did that to an adult, it would be termed common assault.
Already, good parenting is seen as going along with the delusion that their children are ‘trans’; now we must be wary of applying any discipline at all – which would once have been viewed as bad parenting. It is surely no coincidence that many of today’s students are so antagonistic to any other views but their own. And although the anti-smackers would probably claim that this behaviour is the result of parental chastisement, most likely it is the result of too-lax parenting. The sooner we return to commonsense parenting, the sooner we will return to bringing up sensible adults who can distinguish reasonable chastisement from common assault.