Without getting into a big old debate about smacking, I really do not know how a grown, and apparently intelligent, adult can justify hitting a child.
If you subsitute the word "wife" for child, see how it reads.
At that moment, what my ranting, rude and hormonal wife needed was a short, sharp reminder that she’d overstepped the boundaries.
There have also, I’ll admit, been a few times when I have smacked simply because I’ve lost control. I’m not proud of those moments — although they have, at least, demonstrated to my wife that I can be pushed only so far.
I am, after all, only human and if someone screams at the top of their lungs how much they despise me, while simultaneously kicking their bedroom door, I will eventually snap. I think that is a valuable lesson for the wife to learn.
Some may say, ah but they are children, and need to be shown who is boss. If you cannot assert authority without thwacking a minor, you are in serious trouble.
Well said, BellaFiga. A very good illustration of just what's wrong with that DM writer's argument. (When I first read the article, I found myself doing a similar substitution exercise to the above, but this time swapping all the respectable middle-class references for something more downmarket (Imagine all that slamming around and hitting was going on in a run-down council flat instead of a leafy Hampstead house, and Mummy's wine and Daddy's G & T etc became lager and cider, etc. Suddenly it doesn't look quite so cosy and respectable!)
There was something really creepy about the mother's perverse pride in what she's breezily admitting to. Like Liz, the writer showed a breathtaking lack of insight and intelligent analysis, yet still seemed to think she is somehow in a position to pontificate to the rest of us. It always takes my breath away when people trot out the old "My parents hit me as a child and it never did me any harm" cliche while in the same breath proudly admitting they hit their kids, which is clear proof of the harm it has
done. Like I said, the lack of insight is staggering. I'm very glad I don't live in that scary, volatile, melodramatic household.
Smacking kids certainly does teach some lessons, but they're extremely dangerous and unhealthy ones, and they all add up to a training ground for domestic violence in adulthood. A child who regularly gets hit by his/her parent is learning that (1) It's OK for violence to be an intrinsic part of domestic life,(2) It's OK to hit someone you love, and (3) It's OK to be hit by
someone who loves you. So, an impressionable youngster becomes acclimatised to living within that pattern--the stronger person lashing out, then gently explaining how "you brought it on yourself by your bad behaviour." Consequently, they fail to develop that knee-jerk "Whoah! I'm not putting up with being hit, I'm outta here" mentality that should be built-in as self-protection, and instead they develop a tolerance and acceptance of violence that all too often conditions them to either hit their partner or be hit themselves. Its what they've always lived with, after all....("Hey, it's what families do, isn't it?")
My blood always runs cold whenever I hear parents describing the "loving" lecture they give, post-smacking, to explain to their kids why they got hit (aka "justify the unjustifiable"). As BellaFiga eloquently points out, this is exactly the same trick that is used by domestic abusers to "train" their victims into modifying their behaviour, so they don't "provoke" another slap.
Shame on the DM, not just for this article but also the follow-up. At only 14, that poor girl absolutely shouldn't be used in this way. And who's getting the fee for a full-page piece in the paper, I wonder?