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News, Politics

Smacking children: For or against?

Yesterday Assembly members voted in favour of a motion calling for the smacking of children to be banned.

It would make the Welsh Government the first in the UK to change the law regarding smacking.

But the minister responsible for children in Wales, Gwenda Thomas, said no legislation will come into force until at least 2016 when the current Assembly term ends.

Smacking is a subject that has divided opinion not only in the Senedd, but in homes, schools and workplaces across the country.

Your comments have been pouring in via email, Facebook and Twitter. These are just a few of them:

I think someone should give the Assembly Members who tabled this vote a smack to knock some sense into them! Is it any wonder the country is in the state it is with people like this at the helm?
Karl Saltmarsh

How dare the Welsh Government tell me how to bring my children up! I never have and never will smack my children, but what gives them the right to make me a criminal by punishing them? Kids have the upper hand already; this just takes it further.
Gary, Flintshire

I really get annoyed when these meddling do-gooder politicians decide to try and criminalise something that has gone on for decades. How are parents supposed to discipline kids when they have problems arising from such kids’ rights today? Smacking didn’t do me any long-term harm and made me think twice about misbehaving – and, most importantly, the difference between right and wrong.
M. Casey, Pontypridd

So you control using violence? Stunned there are people on here condoning violence towards children.
Jon Dew

If the law on smacking my children was to change then I would have to ask the police to put them in the cells for the night. They are MY children, NOT the Government’s.
A concerned parent

I’m against the Welsh smacking ban and I’m 17. If you think smacking your child is wrong, dont do it.
Lloyd Rees

All this waste of precious time without obviously thinking things through. The law is not a bad law as stated, but a poorly-policed one. If these do-gooders have their way they will criminalise good parents, who may find their children taken from a loving family into care. Spend your time improving the economy, which will benefit children and families more.
A. Pugh, Rhondda Cynon Taff

I think a lot of people will have different views on this. I was smacked as a child and it didn’t do me any harm. I have two children and at times I have given them taps, not hard smacks. It does make you feel guilty – and maybe guilt suggests that it is wrong? It’s a hard one.
Jo, South Wales

Parents should have the right to decide on the method of discipline for their children. Legislating against physical discipline will not make any difference to those parents who abuse their children. Verbal tirades can be equally abusive as physical abuse, leaving a child feeling belittled and/or inadequate. This often has much longer lasting effects. Small children cannot be expected to comprehend rational argument. This is all part of the learning experience achieved to different degrees at different stages in a child’s development.
Jim Couldridge

I thnk it’s terrible that the Welsh Government is trying to stop parents from chastising our children. There is a difference between a smack on the bottom or hand and battering your child. Most parents know the difference. Years ago a smack across the hand or bottom was seen as a deterrent. If you were playing up in the street, a police officer would clip you round the ear and take you home to your parents, where you’d more often than not get another clip around the ear – usually off your father. Disrespect your teacher in school years ago and you’d get caned. It never did the majority of people any harm. These days there are some youngsters are running riot with no respect for people or property. Their parents can’t chastise them because they’re afraid of the consequences.
Vicky Davies

I don’t agree with smacking. There are other ways of disciplining children.
Nicky Deacon

Stopping smacking is the stupidest idea ever. Everyone complains about feral children roaming the streets with no discipline – how are they to learn the limits of their behaviour with a hug? I got smacked when it was warranted and I learned not to do something.
Kris Godfrey

If the assembly vote to ban smacking, there are going to be a lot of kids put into care. And normal parents with criminal records.
Jim Jones

Banning this, stopping that… soon you won’t be able to go to the toilet without filling a form in. I’m 22 and I was smacked – and it never did me any harm.
Rachel Williams

You can still add your comments below. Alternatively email news@itvwales.com, tweet us @itvwales or visit our Facebook page.

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