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Last Updated: Monday August 18 2008 11:01 GMT

Should parents smack their children?

Silhouette of a family

A dad in Manchester has got into trouble with police for smacking his 13-year-old daughter after she banged on a neighbour's window in the middle of the night.

Smacking is allowed in the UK, although parents can get into trouble if they leave a mark on their children's body when they smack.

But should parents ever be allowed to smack or slap their children? When do you think it would be OK?

Do you think a light smack works as a shock or punishment, or does it depend on the child's age?

Maybe you think all smacking should be banned?

Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index

Your comments

"No! They should just be told off!!!"

Jack, 10, Newcastle, England

"I think it is bad, because if an adult hits another adult it's an assault. That shouldn't be any different for us kids."

James, 11, Formby, England

"I think that smacking a child is OK as long as the kid is not hit out of anger, just smacked as a punishment."

Lucy, 14, Herts ,England

"I think smacking a child isn't nice but I wouldn't call the police because of it."

Emma, 13, Aylesbury, England

"I don't think parents should smack because it is cruel to children and the children who get smacked could go out and smack one of their friends because they think it's ok."

Liam, 12, Arbroath, Scotland

"I was smacked when I was younger and it never did me any harm!! It taught me a lesson and told me not to do something I shouldn't again or it would hurt! I'd rather have two minutes of pain than be locked in my house for ages - that's no punishment at all!! Parents are in control of their children, not the government!! Unless things are out of control it's the parents' responsibility!"

Sharn, 13, UK

"I don't think smacking should be allowed because if the child is being naughty you can give them a firm telling off, especially if the child is young. They don't understand why their mum or dad is hitting them. It's definitely not fair on any child. I completely disagree with hitting a child."

Alison, 12, Chester, England

"I think it's fine to smack your kids, because it makes them learn their lesson. Smacking is a punishment for something wrong. After the first few smacks, it's the child's own fault if they get smacked for doing something naughty."

Katie, 13, Stoke, England

"I think parents should smack children because the children will learn not to do it again - but only if they did something really wrong."

Sophie, 10, Telford, England

"I think parents should not smack their child because it frightens people and it hurts them. If my child was like that, I would give them timeout. That's what I have so if I was bad now my mum or dad would give me three warnings then put me in the porch for ten minutes."

Rebecca, 10, Hemel Hempstead, England

"I think parents shouldn't smack their children because it makes kids hit others, which leads to major violence."

Ghaydaa, 12, Oxford, England

"I don't think smacking children should be allowed. There are other forms of discipline for children and it's just adults lashing out in anger!"

Sinead, 12, Bournemouth, England

"I think it's a good idea but it shouldn't be done all the time because it could separate the parent from the child and it can be upsetting. Most children would want to tell their friends but can't because they're scared what their friends would say."

Lucy, 13, Berkshire, England

"I think children should not be smacked because the children could get really hurt and they might smack children when they are older."

Nihal, 10, West Sussex, England

"Smacking someone when they've done something wrong does nothing because the child being slapped just forgets what they have done wrong and may do it again without knowing it was wrong, creating more violence."

Claire, 13, Worcester, England

"I think it's wrong that adults smack their children as it may affect them in years on. Also, you can punish children other ways, not by smacking them. I feel sorry for any child who gets smacked; it's just not right."

Samantha, 15, Cardiff, Wales

"I think it is right and wrong because it is good in the way that you are disciplining your children but if the parent is doing it all the time for no reason or over something silly, then no. But I think it should stay legal."

Poppie, 12, Manchester, England

"I think it is OK to smack your children else they will never learn. If you let someone do what they want and not discipline them then they will grow up to be a bad person."

Sam, 14, Cornwall, England

"I think parents should smack their children because it's the only way they will ever learn from their mistakes."

Jodie, 12, London, England

"I think parents should be allowed to smack their children if they deserve it. This will teach them to behave.!!!"

J, 15, Manchester, England

"No-one deserves to be smacked; it just sets a bad example for the children. They wouldn't want us smacking them, would they? When some parents are stressed they take it out on their child and cause harm."

Laurence, 10, Sheffield, England

"I don't think parents should smack their kids because it's not nice and then kids might not like their mum and dad for it and might be scared of them when you are meant to love your parents and be the ones you can talk to."

Rebekah, 11, Cardiff, Wales

"I don't think adults should hit children because they become scared of their parents. I think smacking should be banned because children, if they are young, don't know any better but if you are older they should know better but still shouldn't be hit."

Sophie, 12, Rochester, England

"I don't think parents should smack. A light tap, yes, if you've been naughty, but never a full smack - it could hurt you really badly!"

Hollie, 11, France

"I think the parents should smack their children within reason (not too hard) otherwise how do they learn? Is this why there are so many naughty kids - because you're not allowed to discipline them?"

Laura, 13, Dorset, England

"If parents want to smack their kids they should have a pretty good reason for it! I think it should be against law and they should punish kids in a non-violent way."

Vinny, 11, Dorset, England

"Slapping your children is wrong, and parents/guardians instead of slapping their kids should take away a 1 of their pocket money every time they do wrong."

Evie, 11, London, England

"I think it's wrong for anybody to hit a child even if they have been bad."

Emily, 14, Scarborough, England

"Children should not be smacked because it sets a bad example about the way to solve things."

Megan, 11, York, England

"I think that it is OK to hit a child if it is for a reason because it tells them that it is wrong to do. But if it leaves a mark then it is wrong and then they will think that it is OK to smack and will smack their children."

Hannah, 11, Lincolnshire, England

"I think smacking should be allowed as long as it's not facial and it's only light."

Emily, 9, Wigan, England

"I think it is wrong to smack kids and it should be banned. There are other punishments for a child other than to smack them!!!"

Bethan, 12, Slough, England

"I hate smacking it is so awful. Parents should try to think of more punishments like grounding or confiscating fave things, smacking is soo wrong!"

Freya, 14, London, England

"I think that smacking should be allowed because children that don't listen should be disciplined."

Sophie, 13, Harlow, England

"I think it's harsh but, I also think it depends on your age and what you've done. Sometimes you either don't know you weren't supposed to do that or you didn't know any better because your parents didn't bother telling you."

Myra, 13, London, England

"I don't really know, sometimes parents need to teach children what is good and what's bad but I still don't think adults should smack their kids at any age."

Chloe, 11, Morecombe, England

"I was smacked when I was younger and it didn't do me a lot of good. It would just make me frightened and resentful. I think smacking is wrong especially when the adult is out of control when the do it."

Bree, 13, England

"No, I think that parents should tell their children off by simply giving them a warning. Hitting children can cause a lot of damage in later years."

Megan, 14, East Kilbride, Scotland

"I think it is a cruel thing to do but calling the police about it is a bit over the top though."

Adam, 11, Solihull, England

"I do not think parents should smack their children because they wouldn't like it if they were smacked would they?"

Abbie, 11, Bristol, England

"I think it is totally fair but my mum never smacks me because she just says that kids will be kids."

Sophia, 11, Bristol, England

"Yes because if they are bad what else can you do? Nothing."

Courtney, 8, Plymouth, England

"I never get smacked I dunno why. But I feel so sorry for the people that do get smacked."

Lindsay, 11, Kintyre, Scotland

"I think if the child has done something REALLY bad then they should be very lightly smacked but if the child is bad a lot of the time I don't think you should smack her/him because they won't take it as a shock anymore and they could be very badly hurt if they are smacked a lot, it could damage the way they look at things in later life :("

Ruby, 10, Dover, England

"I used to be quite naughty when I was 3-5 years old but now that I'm 11 if I do something really naughty I get grounded for a week or two. I think that the law should be that you can only smack your children when they're 3 to 7 years of age because that's when you're most naughtiest."

Frances-May, 11, Kent, England

"No. Smacking is a terrible thing to do because it makes the child fear the parent. And it's basically bullying. It should be banned in every country."

Eleanor, 13, Ireland

"I think parents should not smack their kids, mainly because when they grow up they will learn how to be aggressive. Their are many other ways of punishing a child and smacking them is not one of them. For example a teacher won't smack a child with a stick just for turning up late but they will give them a detention, which is what the parents should or something like restricting times on the telly or computer or mobile phone or sending them to bed early. Smacking a child is just like being a bully. Adults are always telling children and teens not to get into fights or trouble - what kind of example are they showing by smacking them? At the end of the day it's pointless because the child will hate the parent and the adult would have felt guilty so you lose on both ends!!!"

Sarah, 12, London, England

"Depends on what the child has done and how old they are."

Nizzy, 10, Midlands, England

"NO, it is bad but if you have to then do it, but don't do it for fun."

Mya, 7 1/2, Birmingham, England

"I think they should ground them not smack children."

Amy, 10, Bristol, England

"I think that parents should smack their children because it makes the child learn the consequences of its actions."

Sian, 11, Wiltshire, England

"I think smacking must be banned. How would your parents feel if they were to be smacked?"

Shugri, 10, Swindon, England

"I think it's fine to smack your kids, but only if they have done something wrong like come home really late when their parents are really worried. However it is wrong to hit children for no reason."

Alia, 13, London, England

"Yes I think it's wrong, no mother should ever smack their child!!"

Alexandra, 13, West Bromwich, England

"I think it's harsh, but then again you need to understand discipline."

Tia, 10, London, England

"I think smacking is very effective providing it doesn't go as far as harming the kids. It's a quick and immediate way of telling them off!"

Annabelle, 11, Staplehurst, England

"Often adults do things which are much worse than children and they don't get smacked."

Anna-Rose, 14, Australia

"No it shouldn't be allowed, it's bad to hit."

Amy, 13, Liverpool, England

"Smacking sets a bad example to children. On top of that, it would be considered out of order for a child to smack their parent."

Alice, 11, Harlow, England

"I hate it when adults slap their kids. I was shopping yesterday and saw a mother slapping their child, and it made me feel angry, as the child was little."

Alex, 14, Essex, England

"I think that it is wrong to smack children. They can always be punished in a different way instead of smacking because it really HURTS!!"

Claudia, 9, Barnstaple, England

"Smacking is cruel."

Becky, 12, Leeds, England

"If you think that smacking kids is fair, it's blatantly wrong. I think if you smack your kids you should get an ASBO, or go to jail!"

Caitlin, 10, Liverpool, England

"Parents should definitely be banned from smacking. When adults do it to other adults, it's called assault and they can be arrested for it. But when they do it to child, nothing happens! What happened to children's rights?"

Lizzie, 12, England

"I think yes but only if your parents don't smack you too hard. Because if your parents didn't smack you and you did something naughty you wouldn't learn your lesson."

Tiegan, 9, Cwmbran, Wales

"It depends on what the kid has done and how old they are, because sometimes it's the only option, and they wont disobey you again. But sometimes you don't have to."

Liam, 13, Nottingham, England

"It is always wrong and should be. If somebody did it to a high authority person, like a policeman, they would be arrested. This shouldn't even be asked, as it can badly hurt the child and cause them so much mental trauma."

Anne, 13, Sedgley, England

"I think it is cruel to smack kids! If you want to punish them, send them to bed, ban sweeties and treats but smacking HURTS!"

Chloe, 10, Gillingham, England

"No one deserves to be smacked. How would the adults feel if we went around smacking them? I think they should just ban us from things like PlayStations, and if something you do is so severe, they should ground us. Physical violence should be banned in England."

Fay, 12, Kettering, England

"I don't think it hurts to get a smack, it teaches us right from wrong, as long as the smack doesn't turn into anything more physical."

Ben, 13, Ramsgate, England

"It actually depends on what sort of bad thing they have done. If it's something really bad, they should get one, but if not then they should be grounded instead of being smacked!"

Victoria, 12, Surrey, England

"Smacking is wrong and should never be allowed. If parents want to discipline their children, there are other more effective ways that won't leave their children scared of them."

Abi, 13, Bristol, England

"I think parents should be banned from smacking because there are other ways to punish your children without violence."

Amy, 12, Somerset, England

"I think it should depend on the child's age. If they are younger maybe they should be sternly talked to. If they are over a certain age (six years) then perhaps a light smack is called for sometimes."

Anna, 11, London, England

"I don't think that the dad should have done that; he should've just grounded her or told her off."

Bethany, 13, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

"No, they shouldn't. They should tap them, not smack them, because what happens if it really hurts them??"

Ella, 10, Devon, England