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Would you ever smack your child? New survey suggests today's parents are much less likely to


We know smacking children is a controversial issue, and people can feel very strongly about it.

But we're interested by a new poll in the Irish Times that suggests today's parents (those under 35, anyway) are significantly less likely to smack or 'slap', as they put it – with 80% of those polled saying they'd never slapped their child, compared to 40% of those aged 55 or older.

So what do you think about smacking a child? 

Is it something you'd never do, no matter what the circumstances? Or maybe you might do it very occasionally? Or maybe you think that, as long as it's just a gentle tap, it's a useful way to discipline a child?

Do let us know what you think by adding a reply to this discussion thread. 


  • Can't belive no one has commented on this.

    That's a no, I don't think they will ever forget the violence. Trying to install that you are right by inflicting pain doesn't seem to make much sense to them and if it does it's likely to mean they will resort to the same behaviour if they think it will be successful. and when does this stop ? what age ?  2, 4, 10, 14 ? Can you deal with the guilt short and long term ?

  • I read something that has stuck with me. If you slap a child you will get a certain response. The child may cry and seem sorry for its actions but then next time you would need to slap that child a little bit harder to achieve the same reaction. It's was something I'd read in the doctors written by the NHS. It made a lot of sense to me. Those that smack their children regularly will always need to smack that child a little bit harder as the child becomes used to it and then when  do you refer to it as abuse? 

    That being said I think in certain extreme circumstances it's not necessarily a bad thing to smack a child once they are of an age that they understand their actions. In other words I wouldn't chose to smack my child but I also wouldn't judge somebody if they said they had smacked their child in extreme circumstances. For example my friends little boy bit his younger sister and drew blood the bite was that hard. She smacked him for it and he never did it again. I think he learnt that from his mums response his actions were very serious and so were the consequences.

  • As a child I was smacked, and although it didn't 'do me any harm' I don't particularly think it was an effective means of parenting. I just learnt to run fast and lock the bathroom door. 

    DD is nearly 2 and is testing the boundaries and I find warnings and time outs work for us. She needs to learn the consequences of her actions and then she makes a choice to misbehave, and I then remove her toys or give her timeout depending. So far its working really well whilst also promoting her independence. 

  • No I wouldn't snack my child as I do not believe there us ever actually a valid reason to. We wouldn't hit a strangers child so why one of your own? There are far better civilised ways of dealing with behavioural issues that cause no physical harm to a child. I think smacking is outdated and wrong x

  • No, I would never smack a child. I believe that violence can bread violence & a child who is hit only learns that it's ok to hit. 

  • Really felt the need to comment on this one to the point i signed up. I regularly got a smack id like to say as a child but it carried on well into my teens.Sometimes one smack other times quite a few from both my parents.I feel it didnt work i used to get extremley upset and resent my parents.yes i probably deserved it but alot of the time it went past discipline into them just venting on me.Im not blessed with children yet but im pretty sure im not going to raise my hand to them. I think it will be more effective to take away their luxuries and give time outs.

  • Thanks for your post, hannahbanna. It's amazing how much smacking can affect you, even years later, isn't it?

  • Thanks helen .. yes i dont know i just feel like it doesnt give a clear message i just feel the child ends up upset ,angry and confused. A friend smacked his two year old in my company because he was having a histericle tantrum. I was obviously in no position to tell him how to parent but it did not make the situation any better very hard to bite my tongue but hey ho! Xx 

  • Helen if you dont mind me asking did u get smacked as a child . Xx

  • No, I don't mind you asking, hannahbanna! 

    I was smacked – not often at all and never more than once, fairly lightly, on my bottom – but I still remember how I felt. Cross and humiliated.

    And, funnily enough, not nearly as sorry for the bad thing I'd done (whatever it was) as when my mum just told me how much I'd disappointed her...

  • I feel the only way is to use these experiances to learn from and change the way im going to parent for the better. I dont have a close relationship with my family not due to this but this smacking issue is something me and my fiance is something we've discussed . But yes unfortunatley i feel alot of the time it was more so a way to vent anger rather than getting me to sister doesnt smack her children as far as im aware and they behave and rarely cross the line. Xx

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