Is Smacking OK?

Like it? Share it!

Posted by: Kevin Mulryne

Get it on iTunes Get in on Android

Show notes:

In this special edition of the Sue Atkins Parenting Show I discuss with global parenting and child experts the damage that smacking /spanking does to children mentality and physically and we look at positive alternatives.

This is not about judging, finger pointing or blaming but all about supporting, changing and empowering parents with different solutions to the age old problem of raising happy, confident, well behaved kids who push our buttons but need our kindness, respect, trust and love

My global  guests are  Swati Popat Vats from India, who heads up the #IwillNot Campaign, Robbyn Peters Bennett from the USA who heads up the ‘No Spanking Challenge’ & Jane Evans from the UK a trauma specialist.

This is ahead of the new Anti-Smacking campaign for England which is launching on Monday. A week of raising awareness globally, as the UK Government considers ‘reasonable punishment’ a loophole in the Children’s Act 2004 surrounding the corporal punishment of a child.


Spanking also known as smacking is a global problem that affects most children.

It is currently in the news as England debates whether or not to ban it. It is being debated in Scotland and Wales & globally as 52 Countries Now Ban Spanking.

Recently a new law in France banned the spanking of children, making it the 52nd country to prohibit the practice 3 Jan 2017.

The Dictionary defines a smack as ‘to strike (someone or something), typically with the palm of the hand and as a punishment.

“Jessica smacked his face, quite hard”
synonyms: tap, slap, hit, strike, spank, cuff, clout, thump, punch, rap, swat, thwack

Studies globally show that smacking can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety & other mental health issues.

There was a time in history when we “cured” headaches by drilling holes in people’s heads to let evil spirits out. There was also a time when we sent messages on horseback. But times change as we evolve, gather more information and learn more about the detrimental side to smacking.

People often say ‘I don’t smack my child that often or that hard. Most of the time I show her lots of love and gentleness. An occasional tap on the bottom won’t bother her.” This rationalisation holds true for some children, but other children remember smacking messages more than nurturing ones.

You may have a hug-hit ratio of 100:1 in your home, but you run the risk of your child remembering and being influenced more by the one hit than the 100 hugs, especially if that hit was delivered in anger or unjustly, which happens all too often.

This is 2018. We no longer have to smack children to have them understand the “error” of their ways. We have made advances in parenting. We now know how to communicate in a way that actually teaches, rather than punishes. Doing something because it’s always been done that way isn’t a good enough reason for continuing to do it. We’ve learnt about the damage of smoking and sugar – perhaps it’s time to learn about the damage of smacking.

The Latin root of discipline means “to teach,” while the Latin root of punishment means, “to inflict pain.”
Today’s podcast will be looking at more humane ways of teaching our children our version of “right” and “wrong” — instead of trying to “inflict pain.”

They will thank you.

Their children will thank you.

And their children’s children will thank you.

The Experts joining me in this discussion

UK: Jane Evans: Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Expert

Jane regularly delivers training to Early Years settings and speaks at conferences focusing the impact of childhood trauma and anxiety on early development. Jane does this tirelessly and passionately through delivering training, speaking at events & writing as a Global Ambassador of Creating Champions for Life.

Jane is a passionate international speaker, writer, trainer and trauma informed parenting and behaviour expert, who has featured on Channel 5 series ‘My Violent Child’ & is a TED Talk Speaker on anxiety. She is also the author of a wonderful series of books for children around trauma.


Jane Evans – “Why in the world are we STILL smacking children?”

Jane’s website

USA: Robbyn Peters Bennett LPC, CMHS 

Robbyn is a psychotherapist, educator, and child advocate who specialises in the treatment of mental health problems due to early abuse and neglect. In her TED talk, she addresses the long-term effects of spanking and other forms of domestic violence on long-term health. Her life’s work is aimed at ending child abuse and all forms of violence against children.

She is the founder of, a non-profit dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of spanking and on positive parenting alternatives. Robbyn is on the board of the US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, a nonprofit organization that brings together individuals, groups, and organizations to create a unified voice calling for, and working toward, the end of all forms of physical and emotional punishment against children, through educational and legal means.

Robbyn specialises in Trauma and has co-published with the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Tracie Alfie et. al. on the link between spanking, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Long-term health. This adds to the literature of the ACE Study, the largest epidemiological study on the effects of early adversity and family dysfunction on long-term health.


Robbyn’s website

India: Dr Swati Popat Vats

An educator, an avant-garde educational activist, a teaching expert and a parenting guru, Swati Popat Vats makes compassion and an empathy with the environment the sole language of integrated learning that she advocates. As the director of Podar Jumbo Kids, one of the most successful and the parent preferred brand of preschool chains in India, she’s also the person behind India’s superlative daycare chain, called Podar Jumbo Kids Plus daycare.

If that’s not all she also spearheaded the college of teacher’s training called the Podar Institute Of Education, that conducts a one year program in Early Childhood Education. A parenting professional, an educator, an advocate for child’s rights, a curriculum consultant, an entrepreneur, a school director, an author, a teacher…

The president of Podar Education Network –India, may play many roles. Beneath all this is the intrinsic need to give childhood to children in as many ways as possible.

As the President of Early Childhood Association, she is active in ensuring that people from all walks of life come together for early childhood as she deeply believes that, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’

She has recently begun a Campaign to end spanking in India with the very successful #Iwillnot hashtag, which NEyTCO has adopted to promote the UK Campaign.


Parents, Thou Shall Not…

Where the heart beats and not the hand…#Iwillnot

Join the Conversation

Twitter: use the hashtag #Iwillnot

NEyTCO Facebook Event

NEyTCO Facebook Campaign


Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A

positive parent daily workout ebook

Free ebook, The Positive Parent Daily Workout

Simply enter your details below to get your very own copy of “The Positive Parent Daily Workout” and learn tips and tricks to use every day with your own children.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Like it? Share it!