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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Minister should have kept quiet over smacking

THERE are times when it’s wisest to shut up and say nowt – even when you’re bursting to have your say.

EM Anne Pickles
Anne Pickles

Justice secretary Chris Grayling should have known that before he whipped up a storm by defending parents’ rights to smack their children. Big mistake that. Huge.

The Tory cabinet minister said he was not opposed to smacking youngsters, claiming sometimes it “sends a message”.

Well, he certainly did that. Who’s sorry now?

Mr Grayling has two children, aged 20 and 16, and has admitted he occasionally smacked them when they were younger.

“You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me,” he said.

“I’m not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally. Sometimes it sends a message – but I don’t hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school.”

He was immediately condemned by children’s charities and lobby groups, who denounced his confessional as a charter for abuse behind closed doors. You can see their point.

You might well see his too.

But in these days of heavily policed thought and speech, it’s probably best not to say so.

In fact, the best idea would be to work out your own way of raising your children, find the most effective ways of chastising and disciplining and say as little as possible.

Because it’s bound to be wrong.

There is, of course, an enormous difference between beating the living daylights out of a child and slapping little fingers about to stray into an electric socket or unguarded fire.

Violence in the home, as was inflicted on poor tortured Baby P, compares in no way with an occasional smack that says: “For your own safety and for the safety of others, stop playing chicken on that busy road. Now!”

But if you don’t want to land yourself in hot water or be labelled a monster, don’t go there, even in polite conversation.

Smacking a child in anger translates into a dangerous loss of control and an absence of the patience required to reason with a youngster who needs to learn the difference between right and wrong.

Most parents understand that.

Chris Grayling isn’t alone in having been smacked as a child. He’s not the only parent to have slapped to “send a message”.

But he is a politician who really should know he’s on a hiding to nothing when he tries to talk about it sensibly.

Have your say

Another politician who has to say sorry for speaking the truth about unruly children.
Disipline of a child,a parent should be allowed to disiplne his children,he has to control them.
Not some one sitting prone behind a desk in Brussels coming up with stupid ideas.
Disipline did not do me any harm.
I deserved,and took it with out question,when my dad handed it out.

Posted by dicky on 6 February 2013 at 15:53

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