Over the last five decades, Australia has experienced a cultural transformation due to increased migration. Migration brings with it some serious challenges. Family dynamics and gender roles change. You lose social networks and cultural identity. Then there’s the difficulty of interpreting and negotiating a new legal system.

Bottoms up… this will help society a lot more than it hurts you

Yet one of the biggest challenges, that indeed divides Australian society, is that of parenting and parenting rules.

Parenting in the new culture brings with it many intergenerational conflicts, simply because family values differ across cultures. Traditional parenting practices used in the home country may not be the norm in the new one.

Many of the recent migrants and refugees relocating to Australia come from predominantly collectivist societies, such as Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Within these societies, parenting styles are geared toward reinforcing hierarchical roles, and authoritarian parenting is generally the norm.

Corporal punishment – mainly smacking – is one of the key threads of an authoritarian parenting style. Obedience and respect for authority is valued, and inter-dependence is encouraged. Self-assertion and independence, on the other hand, are discouraged. Parenting is couched within the context of a ‘family’, which encompasses grandparents, parents, children, uncles and aunts, and close neighbours according to clan membership. Each of the extended family members has a role to play in the nurturing of the child and is a source of support, but also plays a role in enforcing the values or rules.

But once in Australia, aspects of these parenting standards – like smacking as a form of corporal punishment – are often either against the law, or not in line with the dominant parenting style of an individualistic, autonomy-oriented society like Australia.

The power of state intervention to separate a family over their disciplinarian practices is unfamiliar, and an ever-present threat. It also appears to have far reaching effects on the family functioning. Migrant parents may become more rigid over time as a result, and less likely to make a transition from the authoritarian to the autonomy-oriented parenting style, as a coping mechanism and a way to reinforce cultural identity.

Studies have found that conditional smacking – non-abusive smacking of a child who responds defiantly to milder tactics such as time out – is an effective disciplinary method and does not promote any more antisocial behaviour in children. Compared to 13 alternative disciplinary tactics, such as reasoning, removal of privileges, love withdrawal, ignoring and restraint, conditional smacking reduced antisocial behaviour more significantly. Only overly severe and predominant smacking compared unfavourably. So why does smacking continue to be a controversial parenting practice?

The focus seems to be on migrant parents to come to terms with the expectations of their new society. But it is important that service providers and policy-makers have the knowledge and awareness of the diversity in parenting approaches within migrant communities and that the dominant parenting constructs and strategies not be ‘one size fits all’.

As a migrant myself, from a collectivist society, I was aware of the challenges associated with parenting in a new culture. My wife, who is Australian, and I opted for a contract or agreed behaviour plan with our children.  Our children were asked to list behaviours that needed to be rewarded and match them with what they perceived to be commensurate rewards for good behaviour. Then, together as a family, we drew up a set of rules, with rights, responsibilities, rewards and consequences for non-adherence:

- If you choose to be pleasant, smile and communicate, we will do the same.
- If you choose to grunt, grumble or be grumpy, you will lose your mobile phone.
- If you ask pleasantly to be driven to school, we will sometimes drive you.
- If you are grumpy or ungrateful, you will take the bus every day.
- If you keep your room clean, tidy and organized, we will do your washing.
- If your room is a mess, you will do your own washing.
- If you are polite and appreciative, we will sometimes prepare your meals.
- If you are grumpy or ungrateful, you will always prepare your own.
- If you are clean and attend to your own personal hygiene, you will be provided with deodorant, shampoo and toiletries of your choice.
- If not, you will buy your own with your own money.
- If you keep up with your homework without being reminded, and keep your books in order, you will have access to the internet at home.
- If not, you will lose internet access.
- If you are pleasant to your parents and siblings, you can go on outings with your friends at the end of the week, and be entitled to some pocket money.
- If not, you will be grounded.
- The contract was negotiated and agreed by all, and helped us to formalise shared values, maximise cooperation and minimise disputes about discipline in our family home.

It is important that migrant parents from collectivist societies are provided with sufficient support not only to help them understand norms, values and expectations associated with parenting in their new environment, but also to help them negotiate nuances and differences in parenting practices and to implement some changes in their parenting approach.

Learning and understanding the dimensions associated with raising children is a two-way process. Host societies stand to learn from migrants’ parenting approaches.

Associate Professor Andre Renzaho is the Director of Migration, Social Disadvantage and Health Programs at Monash University, and has looked closely into the parenting challenges faced by migrants and refugees in Australia. Andre and his wife Catherine have drawn up a contract with their twin sons and daughter to promote good behaviour. Andre will appear on SBS’s Insight program tonight, at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Tony says:

      01:28pm | 15/08/12

      I must admit I smacked our children at times when they were small. It think it would, generally, be ridiculous for people to be subjected to legal action for smacking their children. In my opinion, action from authorities only has a place where the physical punishment has become excessive. Both in the case of parents exercising authority through smacking and government authorities enforcing the Law, there is a need to exercise this authority with firmness tempered by wisdom and understanding (i.e. empathy for the child). With the Contract described above, some households may be able to enforce that, whilst some may end up with children running around hungry and semi-clothed, a bit like we actually see in parts of the Third World now - where we see authority without understanding exercised by selfish groups (e.g. warring factions and corrupt officials) every day of the week.

    • alec says:

      09:35am | 15/08/12

      Children that swears are definitely smacked in our house…friends l know that allow their children to swear or deliberately misbehave are not welcomed ..it is the parents job to set the young child on the correct polite road of life, what they decide later in their own lives is up to them..but we know that we had set them on the right path in their early formative years…to allow total non control to a young child is just absolute laziness and sluttiness on the parents parenting and they put more effort into trying to make their way accepted than in all their child rearing years..they are parenting FAILURES !

    • alec says:

      09:20am | 15/08/12

      A young animal gets cuffed from its parents to LEARN its life boundary’s…Humans don’t believe we are .ANIMALS !...We have now seen in a very short time how DESTRUCTIVE the NO SMAt so wrong for the MAJORITY !....REPEAL this stupid disruptive Law, brought in of course by the SEX DEVIANT LABOUR PARTY .. they don’t want rules at all…the Law Labour wants to destroy is the law that stops them from sex with babies and youngsters…they have started the rot of our ‘human kind’ and they won’t be satisfied, as deviants aren’t with just any Laws that interferes with their SEXually DEVIANT DNA CORRUPTED minds!
      A smack ...after 2 warnings, shows and enforces the parents demand to the child that what they have just done is NOT ALLOWED ! ...and any idiot that denies this basic training are NOT fit to be parents and should be BARRED from child contact..they are PARENT FLAWED humans.

    • Ja says:

      10:44pm | 14/08/12

      Anyone who has been smacked knows that it is not violence. You don’t do it to hurt the kids. When you give your kids too many choices you are hurting their young mind that ultimately will be susceptible to mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Talk to anyone who has been smacked before, they will tell you they love their parents.

    • Dave says:

      05:32pm | 14/08/12

      Sorry, but coming from a country with a different culture doesn’t give you the right to use violence against children. They are better ways of dealing with migrant male loss of status and self esteem. Violence begets violence and the sooner we start to embed this idea in our society the better.

    • Robinoz says:

      04:25pm | 14/08/12

      While people in some countries are struggling to stay alive because of wars and food shortages, lack of medical care etc, we are so fortunate that we have time to worry about corporal punishment. My wife and I smacked our kids infrequently and not too hard until they were old enough to understand our reasons for not wanting them to do something ... often to do with safety or health. Now they are well adjusted, law abiding adults who have never been on drugs, smashed other people’s property or made a menace of themselves. At school I received a couple of well-deserved canings that didn’t do me all that bad either. While I believe that it’s up to parents to determine how they discipline their children (with the obvious exclusion of excessive or unreasonable force being applied) I’m not so sure that the softly, softly approach has worked given the problems evident among kids today although I admit it may have more to do with violence portrayed in movies, on TV and the general lack of respect shown for others evident therein.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:51pm | 14/08/12

      I touched my daughter lightly on the hand with my finger and never smacked her again fo the rest of her life. If I spoke to her in rebuke she would cry because she might have offended me.  He mother occassionally smacked her.  Our two sons sometimes needed smacking usually when they would not obey their mother.  They said that their mother smacked them more often but mine were more memorable. When I went to school if we did not do as we were instructed we got the cuts. It was asimple lesson that did not often need repeating. Our society is collapsing through the illdiscipline of the media and schools and the idiotic ideas of the modern groups in it.  The system will change and we will introduce the levels of punishment to correct the problems wee ourselves have created.

    • BruceS says:

      03:12pm | 14/08/12

      Thank you Andre for an enjoyable article. Sane corporal punishment is effective , but not harmful. The hard part is defining sanity.

    • Jay says:

      01:02pm | 14/08/12

      I’ll start by saying that I don’t think the odd smack ‘damages’ a child physically or psychologically. I also think that generally Parents who do deliver the odd smack, are loving ones.

      The main issue I have as a Parent (who decided to stop smacking when my eldest was 7 yrs I felt there had to be a better way) smacking is that from my experience and observation of others, that it is mostly done when the Parent is tired, irritable and frustrated. So smacking that I’ve seen is generally done as venting rather than an ‘educational’ tool and it is an easy ‘habit’ to fall into so it becomes a regular part of life..

      I have dogs and have spent countless hours giving myself the knowledge to train and educate them by using other methods which excludes force or physical violence which has largely being successful. So I thought, I can have the will not to be physically reactive to my dog, surely I owed that to my kids.
      After all if I could go out my way to educate myself to give me the tools to train dogs non violently/physically and really tried to think laterally, why couldn’t I extend that to my children. Which is exactly what I proceeded to do.

      It hasn’t been all easy, I’ve had more than a few jaw clenching moments with my kids along the way.  I’ve also fallen into waving my arms like a lunatic and yelling on the odd occassion, which I know is not particularly productive and in its own way negatively intimidating, but I’ve tried my best. I also look back (as the youngest is now 18) and feel really good about that Parental decision that was made by myself and my Husband to not smack or hit. My kids also tell me they are glad of the decision and said there probably wouldn’t the same level of closeness and respect if smacking/hitting had been in our family.

      Actually, given our genetic predispostion for being somewhat reactive, short fused people, to go down a different path was probably the best thing that could have happened to our family.

    • Peter says:

      01:49pm | 14/08/12

      Sensible comment, Jay.  I agree with your point that most smacking is done out of anger and frustration. 

      Thing is, those dogs you raise, are you talking about the early puppy years or the older dog who is smart enough to understand other methods?  I am no expert, but my understanding is that a very young puppy does need to be smacked on the nose or handled in other ways as they are simply unable to understand other forms of discipline at that very early age.  Is that the case?

    • js says:

      12:52pm | 14/08/12

      By your reasoning we should also allow honour killings, fgm, polygamy and public executions. Maybe we should all crawl back into the mountains and live like animals as this seems to be the “cultural” preference?

      When you live in a country you abide by that countries laws. Pure and simple.

    • Andrew says:

      12:25am | 15/08/12

      Yeah right js because hitting your child occasionly for disclplinery reasons is exactly tyhe same as killing people, deadset, some people are just idiots.

    • M says:

      01:08pm | 14/08/12

      What law is he breaking when he smacks his child?|

      where does he advocate any of the stuff contained within your little rant?

    • david says:

      12:27pm | 14/08/12

      As a last resort, I give my child a smack. Unfazed, my child continues to misbehave and I smack her again. Still she continues to misbehave.

      What do I do then?

    • Andrew says:

      12:27am | 15/08/12

      So david, have you ever smacked your child? Obviously not.

    • wise old owl says:

      03:11pm | 14/08/12

      give her a hug. Tell her you are disapointed and look at her eyes as you say it making sure she meets your eyes as well.

    • FINK says:

      12:40pm | 14/08/12

      Kick the dog, once she sees the dog yelping she might just get the hint of what is coming next. Other than that I found throwing them into a freezing cold shower usually settled them down and they got the gist of what they had done wrong quickly without any violence at all.

    • Colin says:

      11:30am | 14/08/12

      How many children I knew and know who are smacked by their parents and - in turn - think it is OK to hit their classmates and their siblings…It is a slippery slope once you begin with physical violence

    • Kev says:

      11:22am | 14/08/12

      I’m surprised we’re even talking about smacking in a day and age where some academics like to claim that sending a child to timeout for misbehaving is humiliating and that parents need to reason with them. Of course these academics forget the reason why the parent resorted to sending the child to the naughty corner is because they weren’t listening.

      Smacking does not equal child abuse though I suspect the way my dad disciplined me using belts and feather duster handles would probably be considered abuse by activists and academics in this day and age. Does it work? Not on me as I was and still am as hard headed and stubborn as they come. Used wisely and within reason and it works on some. Used to vent frustration and that’s where it crosses the line.

    • Warwick says:

      11:17am | 14/08/12

      Andre Renzaho, you seem to have read every book about the science of behaviour but know nothing about the art of living.
      You soudf more like Sheldon Cooper than Sheldon Cooper does.
      No wonder the content as well as the style of what you write is rubbish

    • Avrham says:

      11:02am | 14/08/12

      smacking is a failure of the parent too control themselves and plays right into there kids behavior issue <why because your the adult who is the example they live with and the parent should have all ready sorted out the issue before it even gets too that stage of smacking a discplined parent is what is needed hard trait too find (its really bad parenting because the kids are the one leading the parents looking like fools when it should be the other way around
      I am homeschooling6 kids and teenagers too deal with and not one have I ever smacked because of the idea my parents instilled in me as kid that a discplined person/parent is a leader by example so really this is about atitude and behavior that is set by parents

    • FINK says:

      02:07pm | 14/08/12

      “smacking is a failure of the parent too control themselves and plays right into there kids behavior issue”
      No, smacking is a failure of the child to understand the boundaries placed before them and accepting the rules of the household. A smack always must be and should be the last resort. Children will always test the boundaries and rightly so but if they continue to test the same boundary then it needs to be halted, especially if the behavior that needs to be halted could seriously harm themselves or others .

    • Avrham says:

      10:28am | 14/08/12

      This is not about corporal punishment this is about behavior and attitude smacking is the result of not paying attention as a parent of those 2 principals, Me and my 9 siblings where never smacked or touched by our parents they keeped it simple( my father used too counsel us, one day me and my brother where caught smoking so what did he do , well he called us into his office sat us down just said he was very very disapointed in the choice we made . We where about 8-9yrs old and that stung both of us more than any smack or beating could do did he hold us accountable no but did He make us think a bit more about what we did for sure basically my parents made sure that we all know our limits and that we know them intimately even from a young age my parents where themselves very discplined people in life but there parenting style was very relaxed and if you fell over they encouraged(never picked us up) us to keep going they really believed in us no matter how we stuffed up or made bad choices only encouragement and firmness and fairness ruled in our family, Was family life perfect no but very hectic one from my memories I strongly believe that if you have the right attitutde and behavior too match as a parent then smacking would not be even be a issue in regards too kid now thats the big challenge for parents I know I have 5growing homeschooling kids/teenagers I love and respect my parents even more now than ever

    • Avrham says:

      12:39pm | 14/08/12

      fink thanks for sharing what make you think that smacking you would have been the correct reponse ? Just wondering every person reacts differently too any situation mate but smacking someone should never get to that point Some parents are switched on others need too work on it

    • Avrham says:

      12:19pm | 14/08/12

      hahaha Peter thank you I trust you could read it so you put the grammar in for me mate? I can’t be bothered

    • FINK says:

      11:38am | 14/08/12

      My father (foster) caught me smoking at 14. His words to me were “if you were my real son I would have given you a belting in front of your mates (who I was smoking with). But it’s your life so it’s your choice, the only rule is you cannot smoke inside the house, so enjoy the cold nights of winter on the back step!” 30 years on I wished he beat he crap out of me back then as I would have stopped then and there, to this day I found it very difficult to give up.
      Not all kids are the same, some will react positively to a bit of corporal punishment some won’t! Me, I did, got caught truanting once, got the belt, never truanted again.
      But I can truthfully say that I did not turn out a very nice person as I try to pay as less tax as possible.

    • Peter says:

      11:33am | 14/08/12

      Ever heard of punctuation and grammar, Mr Relaxed Homeschooling Parent?

    • John says:

      10:20am | 14/08/12

      It’s just more marxist propaganda to divide and weaken the society. First it was the Christians that were oppressors, then it was the blacks who seemed to be the only ones that have experienced slavery, then it was minority’s, then it was women who were oppressed, then it was homosexuals now it’s children who are oppressed by smacking.

      Then have little fringe movements such as slut walks, as now morality oppressors women from screwing around. I suspect all this is funded and marketed movements to divide and weaken society so that the elite who fund, market these movements have an easier time ruling a weak, divided, confused mass of people.

    • M says:

      11:21am | 14/08/12

      That’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.

    • Onlooker says:

      10:18am | 14/08/12

      I never smacked my son, I could never hurt him, and I was never smacked. Both my son and myself were only children. Neither of us grew up to be horrible people, there are other ways of punishing a child, no desert, no ice cream for a week, sending them to their room for a few hours ect. Neither my son or myself were tantrum throwers, neither of us were demanding children, so I assume you might need a bit stronger measures if your child is inclined that way, but if you smack..smack very softly, enough to wound their pride but not enough to cause any damage.

    • Rose says:

      10:12am | 14/08/12

      “Parenting is couched within the context of a ‘family’, which encompasses grandparents, parents, children, uncles and aunts, and close neighbours according to clan membership. Each of the extended family members has a role to play in the nurturing of the child and is a source of support, but also plays a role in enforcing the values or rules”.......Sounds very much like my fourth generation Australian family.
      There are significant differences in some parenting practices between cultures, but there are also things that are constant between cultures. One of those things is that where there is a strong, connected extended family there is support in parenting and probably a better than average chance of raising well balanced, well socialized kids.
      As for smacking etc, it still occurs in many Australian homes, not just in the homes of migrants. I don’t necessarily have a problem with occasional smacking, but smacking that is too heavy handed or too frequent is not just bordering on abuse, it is also almost always completely ineffective.
      One of the best things we can do to assist migrant families to become a part of our society is to make them feel welcome, if they are feeling isolated and excluded then not only will their parenting suffer they will also be far less likely to take their own steps to integrate with their Australian neighbours.

    • Ally says:

      10:11am | 14/08/12

      I see nothing wrong with smacking. When done properly, it’s an effective form of discipline and not abuse. As a child, I was smacked mabye once according to my mum, I can’t actually remember it. On the other hand, my cousin would often get a wallop with a wooden spoon. Clearly this was unacceptable and went past discipline.

      As for the commentors trying to draw a parallel between the discipline of a child by smacking and your boss hitting you for making a mistake, I would hope that an adult could actually be reasoned with or be made to understand the issue.

    • M says:

      11:25am | 14/08/12

      One would indeed hope.

    • AdamC says:

      09:41am | 14/08/12

      I thought this was an interesting perspective. Last time I read something in the Punch about this topic (the usual, hysterical screed against smacking) it occurred to me that the non-Anglo voice was distinctly absent from this discussion. Indeed, the corporal punishment issue seems to a unique fixation of northern Europeans and their settler societies, like Australia.

      Sadly, most migrant communities in this country tend to respond to our alien, sometimes oppressive, norms via simple non-compliance, rather than lobbying or advocating for change. It would be nice if they became a bit more vocal on some of these issues, from family values to industrial relations. Perhaps then Australian society could move to a more balanced, worldly position.

    • James1 says:

      10:10am | 14/08/12

      But when they do, the monoculturalists get upset that migrants are trying to change their society.  Coming from a migrant family, I have seen people actually struggling with this tendency in Australians to oppose anything perceived as foreign.

    • James1 says:

      09:39am | 14/08/12

      “But once in Australia, aspects of these parenting standards – like smacking as a form of corporal punishment – are often either against the law, or not in line with the dominant parenting style of an individualistic, autonomy-oriented society like Australia.”

      You listen to the left too much.  Most people in Australia seem to have no problem with smacking as a form of discipline, even if most Australians don’t actually use it.

    • miloinacup says:

      09:28am | 14/08/12

      Until people learn the difference between a simple smack on the butt with an open hand and openly beating a kid, this argument will never ever be resolved.

    • Lilly says:

      11:52am | 14/08/12

      They know the difference, they refuse to acknowledge it however because then they would lose their moral highground and feelings of superiority. Parenting is the most competitive activity out there with most people more interested in what makes them look good as opposed to what’s best for the child. Not everything works for every child, some children will comply after a stint on the naughty chair, some need a smack on the butt to realise that running out in front of cars is not allowed.

    • you don't need a licence says:

      09:27am | 14/08/12

      Far out. I’ve got 3 well behaved boys, 6, 4 & 2. Have never had to hit them, much as I’ve been tempted. I’m not actually opposed to smacking, but it hasn’t been required because we’ve been consistent in imposing discipline and expecations - if I had to hit them it would be an failure on my part to think through a problem (and I would have let the child/terrorist win).

      Smacking (or screaming at a child) does not equate to good behaviour, often the reverse.

      A better topic for discussion would be the lack of love and attention that so many children fail to recieve and the impact that this has on behaviour and education.

    • Peter says:

      10:13am | 14/08/12

      Dear Andre: as you can see from the above comment, in Australia, there are those who smack their children on occasion, and feel guilty about it, and those that do, but tell everybody they don’t and never have.  It’s called being “PC” (which is just a fancy term for lying) and it’s a real problem in our country.

    • TracyH says:

      09:23am | 14/08/12

      People flee contries that opresss individuals. Then want to continue the practices that support oppression in the new, democtratic, individualist contries that have developed a culture of fairness, independance and informed voices to vote for parties that share their values. I believe that it’s necessary to adapt very quickly to the new culture, although obviously this is no easy endeavour. Still, it is immigrants who need to adapt, and understand, through suppiort, that the new culture is what made their new, chosen home, the sort of country they wish to be part of.

    • Rose says:

      09:02pm | 14/08/12

      TracyH, next time you are exposed to other cultures you may try leaving both eyes open. you really are missing an awful lot. You do understand that while there may be general cultural differences, people within other cultures are as diverse in their views and practices as Australians. Or are you suggesting all people from other cultures are from cookie cutter type moulds while it’s only the good ‘ol white folk that are able to think for themselves?
      BTW I know some ‘boat’ people’ who are better integrated than some Australians who were born here!

    • TracyH says:

      11:49am | 14/08/12

      M…there’s big difference between controlled discipline and a lot of the ‘smacking ’ advocated by other cultures, (and many within our own culture) I’m actually all for controlled discipline. You have missed my point entirely. I’m a Liberal voting liberatrian, and despise the erosion of hard won rights. Maybe you haven’t had much experience with other cultures.

    • M says:

      10:01am | 14/08/12

      Lol, you bleeding hearts can perform some amazing mental gymnastics sometimes. Smacking children for being naughty does not constitute opression.

    • AdamC says:

      09:48am | 14/08/12

      Australian society was practically built on smacking, TracyH. The anti-smacking movement is a relative novelty. In this area, one needs to distinguish between cultural norms around, say, family values and oppressive state interventions, such as proposals to restrict corporal punishment. Of course, many communities believe family relationships carry their own implicit rights and obligations. In fact, many lily-white, home-grown Aussies feel the same way.

      Trying to turn this into some kind of xenophobic, assimilationist issue is just silly. Especially when the migrants are probably right!

    • Bitten says:

      09:19am | 14/08/12

      I have an unusual perspective on smacking I suppose. My father would (occasionally) beat the living sh*t out of me when he was pissed and thought I was being annoying - and unsurprisingly it had no effect on me whatsoever. I knew I wasn’t being disciplined, rather I was being used by an emotionally immature turd to alleviate some of their frustration at their own inadequacy.

      On the other hand, when I was little, my mother used to smack me on the bottom, once, when I was mid-tantrum and it would pull me and my brother and sister up immediately. Kids can tell the difference between discipline and bullying behaviour. My mother smacked me maybe 10 times in my childhood - it was always because I was absolutely out of control and all the other methods such as naughty corner, go to your room, removal of toys and privileges (all of which are based on the assumption that the child is rational and able to perform a cost-benefit analysis and consequently modify their behaviour) had no effect. It was always with the flat of her hand just sharply over my bottom. It invariably hurt her hand more than it hurt any of us. But she says, it’s what you do. Sometimes your child needs to be shocked out of their tantrum because they literally cannot comprehend anything you are saying to them they are so angry and distressed and can’t listen.

    • Elphaba says:

      09:09am | 14/08/12

      “So why does smacking continue to be a controversial parenting practice?”

      Because the media and child-activist groups like to squeal that smacking = child abuse.  They use footage and testimonials of people who were beaten as children, as a stern lesson as to why parents can’t smack their children ever.

      If your smacking can be equated to child abuse, you’re doing it wrong.  An occasional smack, delivered to wound pride, not break the skin, will not scar the child permanently.  If you as a parent choose not to smack your child, fine.  Parents should use methods they’re comfortable with or agree with, not what ‘society’ tells them to do.

      Those rules sound much like how my parents raised me.  They weren’t exactly set out in contract form, instead we learned as we did something wrong, what the punishment would be.

    • Mr. jordon says:

      09:09am | 14/08/12

      Why is it OK to hit children who know no better but it’s not OK to hit adults who do know better?

    • Markus says:

      11:34am | 14/08/12

      @Mr. jordon, I agree entirely - hitting adults who know better yet continue to do the wrong thing should be OK too.

    • Colin says:

      10:42am | 14/08/12

      @Mr. jordon 09:09am | 14/08/12
      “Why is it OK to hit children who know no better but it’s not OK to hit adults who do know better?”

      Exactly my point grin

    • Colin says:

      09:07am | 14/08/12

      Hey Andre; if you stuff up at work is your boss allowed to give you a smack across the back of the head..?

      Thought not.

    • Colin says:

      04:07pm | 14/08/12

      @Tim 12:49pm | 14/08/12

      Along with irony, the use of non sequitur in formulating irrelevant and pointless analogies seems to be unfathomable to you too…

    • Tim says:

      12:49pm | 14/08/12

      Uh Colin,
      you know what I saw on the weekend?

      There was a football match and one of the players came in and tackled an opposition player.
      It was assault on that player’s person and would never have been allowed outside of the sporting arena. Are they the same thing?

    • Colin says:

      11:26am | 14/08/12

      @Tim 10:46am | 14/08/12

      “Comparing an independent adult being smacked by an unrelated adult to a minor being disciplined/smacked by their legal guardian…One of these things is not like the other…”

      What, you mean that a larger, more powerful authority figure hitting a smaller, defenceless human being is not the same as a larger, more powerful authority figure hitting a smaller, defenceless human being..?

      When do children become the same species as adults and earn the privilege of no longer being hit for their mistakes?

      And if you are arguing that we smack children because they don’t understand, do you then also say that we should do the same to intellectually-challenged people..? After all, they may not understand either…Where do you draw the line?

    • Tim says:

      10:46am | 14/08/12

      and comparisons are not your strong suit.

      Comparing an independent adult being smacked by an unrelated adult to a minor being disciplined/smacked by their legal guardian.

      One of these things is not like the other.

    • Colin says:

      10:15am | 14/08/12

      @Tim 09:44am | 14/08/12

      Irony’s not one of your strong suits is it, Tim?

      So, I’ll spell it out: Andre advocates smacking little human beings for their indiscretions. I was merely juxtaposing that stance against the obviously unacceptable idea that employers should smack employees to “Keep them in line”, to draw attention to the incongruity of meting out punishment to children that is physical.


    • Tim says:

      09:44am | 14/08/12

      I didn’t know that andre was a minor and his boss was his legal guardian?

      Oh wait, he’s not.

    • M says:

      08:29am | 14/08/12

      I got smacked when I stepped out of line ior did something my parents had already told me not to do. It taught me boundaries, and all through my childhood I was considered to be both polite and respectful to both my parents and elders.

      To the non-smack brigade, how do you reason with a toddler?

      And as far as anecdotal evidence goes, the family next door to my parents raised their kids without smacking, they used the time out or count to ten methods. The two boys both have behavioural problems and problems in school. It did hearten me greatly to hear that one of them had his teeth knocked out on his first week of highschool for being an obnoxious brat to an older kid. Who said pain can’t teach boundaries for acceptable behaviour?

    • Colin says:

      05:08pm | 14/08/12

      @M 11:18am | 14/08/12
      “...That’s it, you’re not getting playstation for a week!”

      There in lies one of your problems - the child has a Playstation.

      Does he have a rat’s tail haircut too..?

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      04:33pm | 14/08/12

      @ M says: 03:24pm | 14/08/12

      What? So if a kids uses violence, you solution is to use violence?

      And you wonder why your kids are dysfunctional.

    • M says:

      03:24pm | 14/08/12

      So what happens if I’m not paying attention to the child and he runs up and punches a sibling or a pet? I don’t give him any attention and he continues. I tell him to go to the naughty corner?

      Come on mate, as others have pointed out, some need the odd smack and others don’t. That said, I’d only use a smack as a last resort rather than a first.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      01:59pm | 14/08/12


      Kids misbehave for one single reason.

      To get attention. Don’t give it to them and there will not do it.

    • M says:

      11:18am | 14/08/12

      So what happens when your toddler pushes the boundaries for the sake of it?

      “No jimmy, do not put the pet gerbil in the toilet! I’m going to count to ten and if you don’t do what I tell you you’ll be timed out in the naughty corner! That’s it, you’re not getting playstation for a week!”

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      10:13am | 14/08/12

      How do you reason with a child?

      You set boundaries from day one. You, remain consistent and you never lose.

      The kids that I see that are out if control are kids who’s parents are inconsistent with their disciple.

    • James D says:

      08:13am | 14/08/12

      Your assertions are simply false. You do not need to initiate violence on a 3 year old in any circumstance. You do not need to initiate violence toward any child at any time. Your options when raising a 3 year old are not solely negotiation or violence. All a “good smack does” is teach a child that a certain action will be followed by physical violence. It does not teach them why something is right or wrong.

    • Michael says:

      10:57am | 14/08/12

      Smacking is used to teach them where the line is that should not be crossed you would do this until a child can comprehend the language it’s parents use, from this point we have predetermined reference points provided by our language to continue to demonstrate where the line is in terms of acceptable behaviour and you may supplement this enforcement with explanation of what is required and then use practical examples to positively reinforce the bahviour that is preferred.

      “Good Boy/Girl” for what is acceptable and” that’s not a very nice thing to do/say” for what is unacceptable reinforced with “only good boys/girls get to have ice cream or have that new PSP game or go to the (x) on the weekend.

      Kids learn the value of meeting the approval of their society and the consequence of disapproval in an incremental fashion.

    • Markus says:

      10:40am | 14/08/12

      The use of a smack does not immediately mean that no other course of discipline is being implemented.
      What if they already know why it is wrong, but don’t care because it gets them what they want and the ramifications do not actually worry them?

      ‘All a “good smack does” is teach a child that a certain action will be followed by physical violence.’
      Depending on the action in question, I fail to see how such a lesson is necessarily a bad thing.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:53am | 14/08/12

      Spare the rod; spoil the child.

    • Colin says:

      06:00pm | 14/08/12

      @Tubesteak says: 04:50pm | 14/08/12

      Oh, dear. Very bitter about women then, Tubesteak?

      Don’t know what my slim, beautiful, loving, sharing wife would have to say about your rampant generalisation about me and about women in general…

    • Tubesteak says:

      04:50pm | 14/08/12

      Mr. Jordon
      “He has never chucked a tantrum in his life.”

      You expect me to believe that? I bet he never gets in trouble at school, either, and he’s a perfect little angel.
      Considering some of the stuff I’ve recently seen you write I doubt you’re much more than a vagitarian hippie that dates fat chicks.
      Every woman I have ever known, ever dated and all the ones my friends have married/dated have treated their men as if they are just walking ATMs who are merely there to entertain them. You don’t just blindly encourage and support them. You give them rules and boundaries like you would for anyone or anything else. You don’t hand over your wallet. You make the money so you control the strings. If she tries to respond by controlling access to the pink love-palace you boot her out and get another one…..or more…..

    • Colin says:

      03:42pm | 14/08/12

      @Tubesteak 01:33pm | 14/08/12
      “...we can’t tell the wimmins what is acceptable anymore…....we just have to let them do whatever they want and “support” them and encourage them and tell them how wonderful they are and hand over our wallet to them…”

      Yes, encourage and support good. Hand over your wallet? Is this indicative of the relationship you are in or have been in? Or is it just your biased view of women in general..?

      And so do I detect a sense of BELIEF on your part in the “woman” part of the aphorism I proffered..?!? Please tell me that I don’t.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      01:56pm | 14/08/12

      @ Tubesteak says: 10:19am | 14/08/12

      My eight year old has never being hit in his life. He has never chucked a tantrum in his life.

      Why, because we set up boundaries from day one. Yes, he pushes the boundaries but never to the point of being defiant.

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:33pm | 14/08/12

      I like that saying wink
      Often dogs are smacked when they are out of line. Have you never done this when your pooch took a piddle on the carpet? ICB if you haven’t.
      Hopefully, though, you don’t have to hit women because they understand rationality and reason and are smart enough to know the error of their ways and smart enough to know when certain behaviour is unacceptable…..oh wait….....we can’t tell the wimmins what is acceptable anymore…....we just have to let them do whatever they want and “support” them and encourage them and tell them how wonderful they are and hand over our wallet to them

      My mistake…..

    • Colin says:

      10:55am | 14/08/12

      @Tubesteak 07:53am | 14/08/12

      “Spare the rod; spoil the child.”

      ...and other outdated aphorisms.

      How about, “A dog, a wife, and a willow tree; the more they’re beaten, the better they’ll be…”

      Oh, is that not PC? Notice how that one is no longer acceptable because of animal cruelty and wife-beating laws? Why should children be exempt from such things..?

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:19am | 14/08/12

      Mr Jordon
      You can set all the boundaries you like but all children will try to test those boundaries. The only thing that keeps them inside the boundaries is the threat (and execution when necessary) of a thundering good walloping whenever they step outside those boundaries.

      No time-outs and naughty corners will ever make up for that or be as effective.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      09:13am | 14/08/12

      You’re confusing lack of hitting with lack of discipline.

      The secret is setting up boundaries, be consistent, and never lose.

    • Mike says:

      07:47am | 14/08/12

      What about if when you did something wrong, your boss hit you ?  (someone who is supposed to have your health and safety in mind).  Would you like that ?  No.  You’d have them on a bullying charge.

      Being a bigger, stronger person and belting a kid is cowardice, which is why some of the teachers from yesteryear were just that - bullying cowards who picked on kids, just to give them a good whack.  How brave…bet they wouldn’t dare give an adult a whack, in case they got one back !

      And no, I was disciplined in other ways.  You don’t need to go belting someone to show them “what’s right and what’s wrong”.

    • acotrel says:

      11:44am | 14/08/12

      In the workplace their is no question about who holds the upper hand. Who owns the money to pay employees wages ?
      ‘Employers have the right to direct employees in the manner of performing work’ and both employer and employee have a duty of care - where does punishment come into it ? Workplace bullying is out - finished -kaput !  In Victoria at least, an employee who goes to the doctor with an injury and asks for a ‘Workcover certificate’ will always initiate an investigation by inspectors.
      The contract works equitably both ways.
      I know of one employer who was not beyond punching his workers in the face.  With someone like myself, he would have only have done that once.

    • Phillb says:

      11:03am | 14/08/12

      Typical hyperbole from the anti smackers.  There is a difference between a smack and a belting.
      If your boss threatened to remove the coffee and tea from the lunchroom unless you started doing your job, would that be better?  No more personal calls?  No personal emails?  Strictly enforced uniform policies?  No smoke breaks?  Monitoring your social media?  All of that would be considered workplace bullying in this day.  Personally i think if you are doing your job it shouldn’t come to that.

    • acotrel says:

      10:52am | 14/08/12

      I have a theory that bullying is cyclic, and it starts with incompetent control freaks in the home.  The kids take it to school, and use it when they get jealous and cannot cope.  When the kids grow up they take it to the workplace and because they are like that, get promoted and exert their false authority over others.  The problem comes when other, more rational people will not cop their idiocy. It is dominance based on physical strength, not on intellectual capability, and it is one of the reasons for our dumbing down.  Teachers these days intentionally disable intellectual competitiveness in the classroom.  It makes kids the target of bullies who feel inadequate.
      ‘Authoritarianism stifles creativity’ !

    • Michael says:

      09:42am | 14/08/12

      The work situation is completely different and you only use it to refute the argument because you can’t do it otherwise.

      Smacking or corporal punishment is only really supposed to be used very sparingly during the younger years and not really being continued after maybe three years of age, by this time you should be able to use a spoken language with your child and can use other deterents for undesirable behaviour, like time out or caveats on the ability to enjoy liesure activities like PSP or Wii or playing outside.

      By the time the person is in the employ of another adult then the parents job has been completed in terms of preparation of the young citizen and standard civic responsibilities apply.

    • KH says:

      07:47am | 14/08/12

      What is this contract crap?  They are the children, you are the adults. You tell them whats what, and they do it, or they get punished.  There should be no negotiation - the children are not running the family.  There should not be ‘rewards’ for behaving well - this should just be normal and expected behaviour at all times, not something seen as ‘special’ to be ‘rewarded’.  No wonder we have so many spoiled brats around these days, expecting to be rewarded for showing up and behaving like a civilised person and then sulking and carrying on if they don’t get what they want, if this is the complete rubbish their parents are coming up with.  What the hell is happening in this country?

    • Scotchfinger says:

      09:04pm | 14/08/12

      ‘They have defined boundaries, they know what is what. After the odd smack here and there till the child is old enough to understand reason.’ Straight out of a textbook, M! In fact, is that from a textbook? Sounds like it should stay there, ha ha! Parents smack their very young children for one reason only: because they don’t know how else to get the child to change their behaviour.

    • Alex says:

      01:44pm | 14/08/12

      Our approach with the kids chore wise is simple.
      Core tasks are done becuase they are a member of the family and as such everyone does their fair share.
      For example once they were old enough to wash thier own clothes that was a job they had to do. The reward was having clean clothes, if they did not do it the punishment was having nothing to wear.
      They know if they do not put away thier toys we give them to vinnies or sell them on ebay.
      The best lesson my oldest ever learnt was when she made a choice not to do the litter for a day and the cat shit on her bed. Not the cats her fault, her fault for not giving it a clean litter.
      We only reward behaviour which is above and beyond.
      If they do a job to an exceptional standard or do something non core, they are rewarded.
      We have people always commenting how well behaved our girls are and they are becuase they are taught that you independance is its own reward and if you want money or reward you need to do something extra.
      I mean as an adult I clean my room for free but need to go to work to earn the money to pay for the rent to have that room to clean for free.

    • KH says:

      12:40pm | 14/08/12

      PsychoHyena - your work example is not very logical. You get paid to do a job, which you still have to do to the best of your ability - that is why many places have bonus systems in place - bigger rewards for going above and beyond - the standard is just the standard.  This is what I mean when I say that kids should not be rewarded for every little thing they do.  A regular system - certain chores each week, do homework etc, and there is no trouble, you get a base rate of pocket money, and you can go out certain times (or whatever you decide is basic).  Rewards should be given sparingly, or they aren’t worth anything.

    • acotrel says:

      11:11am | 14/08/12

      Leading kids is easy, if you are one yourself.  I was the oldest of five, and the games champion.  If you want to punish them all you need do is ask the difficult questions about their behaviour, and if you really want to give them a hard time go somewhere really nice that they love, and leave them with their worst aunty. If they are too young to understand and you are really angry, try to explain your displeasure and put them back in their cot.  Otherwise just pick them up and kiss them.

    • KH says:

      11:09am | 14/08/12

      M - I agree there has to be defined boundaries - what I don’t agree with is that good civilised behaviour should be ‘rewarded’ all the time - this should just be the standard default behaviour, and transgressions punished.  Rewards should only be for exceptional things, not given out on a daily basis for things like regular chores or saying please and thankyou - its like this idea that every kid should get a ribbon for showing up, ‘no one loses’ and there is a prize under every layer of the parcel nonsense - all these actions do is build a sense of self entitlement in these kids and they grow up expecting rewards all the time, or to be told every day how great they are - then they get confused, sullen or angry when no one gives them the attention they are used to getting - not all of them of course, but many have to learn this the hard way when they are much older.

      Acting like a decent person is not always going to be rewarded - you should do it because its right, and that should be enough - I can’t see how rewarding every little thing the kid does is going to build the kind of resilience you need to do the right thing regardless of whether there is something in it for you or not.  Growing up, we never got rewards for stuff like chores or homework.  These were considered normal everyday things that had to be done, as they should be.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      11:07am | 14/08/12

      @KH okay that’s fine let’s take it one step further… If you are working for an employer, you are the employee and they are the employer, contracts shouldn’t be involved and you should just do as the employer tells you, you should receive no payments for doing good work it should just be expected.

      Why shouldn’t good behaviour be praised? Surely this is reinforcing that the behaviour being displayed is acceptable, if a person is only ever punished for what they do wrong without reinforcement of what they do right that person quickly develops the impression that everything they do is wrong just to varying degrees.

      It is interesting that the majority of youth causing the problems today are those that are raised by people with your way of thinking. If we were to look back to the bad ol’ days (60s and 70s) you’ll find that a large number of trouble-makers were those that received corporal punishment in school and out.

      I could also suggest, based on some evidence that’s out there, that the biggest trouble-makers are actually highly intelligent with no way to express that intelligence, some examples of these are Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. All three highly intelligent, but all three broke various laws in order to get where they are today.

      Let’s also look at Al Capone, highly intelligent individual who was only caught because he forgot to file his tax records one year. Hey even Hitler and Saddam were highly intelligent in that they knew how to manipulate people to meet their needs.

      Let’s have a look at the current system regarding behaviours, most people who try and dodge being fined/imprisoned for a crime are either innocent OR they are raised by families where punishment has been a result of bad behaviour with no rewards for good behaviour and as such they have learnt to lie to avoid punishment.

      As a parent I tell my kids that if they lie to me they will cop a lot more in the way of consequences than if they own up straight away. You would probably find this wrong, but what would you rather a number of honest thieves who still receive some level of punishment or a number of dishonest thieves avoiding punishment through lying?

    • Markus says:

      10:44am | 14/08/12

      “will they have Conduct Disorders, or will they be diagnosed with BPD instead? Either way, it’ll be interesting.”
      Or will they just turn out as disorder-free, fully functional adults with a healthy sense of boundaries and of right and wrong, like the vast majority did.

    • AndrewS says:

      10:43am | 14/08/12

      Heaven is believed to be the reward for some who behave well and do good. You religious, KH?

    • M says:

      09:57am | 14/08/12

      I disagree. It clearly sets out the expectations of the child and uses a carrot/stick method with clearly defined rewards and punishments. I think it to be an excellent system for raising kids. They have defined boundaries, they know what is what. After the odd smack here and there till the child is old enough to understand reason, I see this as an excellent system of compromise which teaches the child responsibility and consequences.

    • I, Claudia says:

      09:26am | 14/08/12

      I wish I could see your children as teenagers - will they have Conduct Disorders, or will they be diagnosed with BPD instead? Either way, it’ll be interesting.

    • wakeuppls says:

      07:42am | 14/08/12

      “You lose social networks and cultural identity.”

      Finally, an admission from an academic suggesting the most effected casualty of multiculturalism, the culture of the host country.

    • Angie says:

      05:39pm | 14/08/12

      Rose, I wouldn’t dare suggest the English and Irish cultures are are neither unique or distinctive. I imagine my Irish husband might just have something to say about that! If you read carefully, you will see that I do not “link” the Irish and English cultures. Rather, I point out that the cultures themselves have similarities. Much the same way in which we view the Greeks and Italians for instance. As a Greek, I can assure you the differences are vast, however, if we had to categorise I would liken them similarly. I hope that has helped clarify my statement.

    • James1 says:

      03:42pm | 14/08/12

      My dad was raised in Belfast, so he holds onto the whole Catholic thing very strongly Morgan.  I see him as fulfilling a similar function in our family to what your grandmother did in yours.

      Angie, I still maintain that our culture will only die if we let it.  So long as we continue to practice it, the existence or otherwise of other cultures will have no impact.  Takes the Jews for example.  They spent nearly 2000 years scattered amongst alien cultures, yet still retained a distinct identity and culture.  The exception, of course, is if the law forbids us to practice our culture, which is another matter altogether - then it becomes a matter of the restriction of individual freedom.

      Dan the Man, that is really not helpful.

    • Rose says:

      02:57pm | 14/08/12

      My grandfather just turned in his grave Angie. As a proud Irish Catholic he would have been mortified at the thought that some one thought it appropriate to link his culture to that of the English!

    • Dan The Man says:

      02:52pm | 14/08/12

      What culture? The aboriginal culture the early convicts and settlers tried so hard to stamp out to the point where they still cant recover? I’m sure that’s what you meant by your subtly racist, backward and clearly resentful comment…go back to Stormfront.org; you’re practically trolling with that comment here.

    • Angie says:

      01:45pm | 14/08/12

      James, considering the Irish/Catholic tradition is not dissimilar to the English/Presbyterian one, your question is simply answered. Your culture and values are similarly aligned with the host culture and therefore little or no adjustment on your family’s part was necessary. Now imagine that 30 years ago your family left Ireland for India - the necessity to alter your traditional Irish practices would likely be felt, if not in the first generation, certainly within the second.

    • Morgan says:

      01:15pm | 14/08/12

      Ahh, I think I was a bit to ambiguous here as well! I was refering to the author, Andre Rezaho, when I said “he”. My comment was a direct reply to wakeuppls.

      It is my believe the author was describing the culture shock of the migrant arriving in Australia when he was talking about cultural identity. I could be wrong but I think it fits in the context considering the next line, “Then there’s the difficulty of interpreting and negotiating a new legal system.”, which clearly the host country doesn’t have to deal with.

      I agree with you James1 and if I might I’ll build on your example of your Irish Catholic family being unaffected by migrants. My family is a lot less Irish Catholic nowadays but I attribute that to the rise of secularism and the death of my grandmother (the last “True Believer” of the family), not immigration.

    • James1 says:

      11:25am | 14/08/12

      I hadn’t read it that way.  I thought he was holding up the culture of the host country as the casualty of multiculturalism, rather than the cultural identity and social networks of the migrant. 

      Could you please clarify for us wakeuppls?

    • Morgan says:

      10:42am | 14/08/12

      I believe he was referring to the migrant losing social networks and cultural identity, not the host country.

    • James1 says:

      09:54am | 14/08/12

      How does the existence of someone different affect your ability to practice the culture you were raised in?  After all, you will only lose your culture if you personally give it up.  For instance, despite being in Australia for 30-odd years, my family is as Irish Catholic as ever, simply because they continue to be culturally Irish and Catholic.  The fact that others are not Irish Catholics makes no difference to this at all.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:39am | 14/08/12

      My favourite was Supernanny.  Apparently, smacking a child was wrong, but forcibly restraining them by overpowering them and lifting them back into the “naughty” corner/step/room was okay.

      Every time I saw that, my brain exploded a little bit.

      I think parents should be free to raise their kids as they see fit, but if you ever smack your child in such a way as to bruise or otherwise mark them, that’s not a smack, that’s hitting.

      Hitting is wrong; smacking is worth considering.

    • Michael Cane says:

      06:35pm | 14/08/12

      @acotrel I can’t take you seriously. Everything you say sounds so over-embellished. You expect us to believe that your kid grew up and and clocked you for smacking him as a kid? Talk about science fiction! What did you smack him with? A bloody light-sabre?

      If your son feels like belting you then you might not be the best person to give advice on parenting. Just goes to show that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age, but historical revisionism does apparently.

      A loving parent who smacks their kid should go to jail? That’s rational thinking. If you’re Robocop. Those of us with the common sense to differentiate between a smack and child abuse can see how moronic such a comment is.

      Smacking won’t cure everything but you’re short-changing your kids if you refuse to resort to it when they’ve gone too far. There’s real monsters out there that we should put more effort into jailing, not chasing after nurturing parents.

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:08pm | 14/08/12

      @acotrel, where did I say the use of force was a good thing?  It’s a terrible thing, done as an absolute last resort.

      Are you saying that you’ve never restrained your children?  You never forced them to hold your hand crossing a street, because they were too young to understand the dangers?

      You never put them in a time out, or sent them to their rooms?

      These are all examples of the use of force, because force is not just physical, but is emotional, psychological and financial as well.

      If you’ve been truly lucky enough to have children you’ve only ever needed to have a rational conversation with, and if you’ve been truly lucky enough to have an upbringing that makes you such a perfect dad, then I salute you for that, but the rest of us have to live with what skills we now have.

      We can berate parents for being less than perfect, or we can accept the reality that they aren’t, that they never will be, and stop making them feel guilt for something that simply comes naturally to many parents.

    • acotrel says:

      11:30am | 14/08/12

      There are plenty of ways of punishing others without exerting yourself physically and negatively reinforcing your kid’s behaviour.  Violence delivered because of your own inability to cope is a really bad thing.  Kids learn from their relationship with you and your wife.  If you don’t want them to grow up into people who lose the plot when things don’t go their own way, don’t set that example. In any case ‘what goes around , comes around’. -  Can you really complain if you’ve been foolish, and your kids job you when you are elderly ?

    • Mahhrat says:

      11:00am | 14/08/12

      @acotrel, I was never “hit” as a kid either.

      Part of everything that is wrong with this whole debate is the defintion of “hit” and “smack”.  They are not the same thing.  Very few people, IMHO, would argue that “hitting” a child is necessary.

      A smack is intended to interrupt the behaviour and shock the child, not hurt them.  The conflation of the two terms is deliberate and aims to paint all parents who ever lost their temper as evil.  We don’t suddenly become perfects mums and dads when our progeny is born.

    • acotrel says:

      10:07am | 14/08/12

      I was never hit when I was a kid.  In later years as a teenager I fought with my father when he was trying to teach me how to handle a nasty drunk.  I’ve grown up to be unafraid of physical violence, but to always treat others fairly and ethically.
      Incidentally I loved my father dearly, especially when he actually came home from the war, even though he was not so flash after that.

    • Peter says:

      09:26am | 14/08/12

      Very good point, Mahhrat.  Whether you are physically forcing them to sit in a corner, or you are not feeding them, or you are picking them up and removing them from a situation or whatever - these are all much of the same thing:  you are physically punishing them.  And I think any parent knows that at a certain age physical punishment is all that works, because the child is not old enough to have developed the ability to respond well to more intellectual or esoteric forms of punishment (like grounding or taking away privileges etc).

    • Daniel says:

      07:21am | 14/08/12

      A really good article Andre.  I was brought up with corporal punishment, that is to say I was smacked.  I was smacked only when I did something bad enough to warrant it, I was never hit anywhere other than the backside and with nothing other than my parents hand. 

      There is definitely a difference between discipline and abuse.  To ban discipline is what I believe fuels anti-social behaviour because kids think they can get away with anything without consequence.  Alternatively, abuse has mental and in severe cases physical effects….sometimes permanent.

      Abuse in all it’s forms is illegal in this country, as it should be, but I think the line between this and a simple smack on the behind as discipline shouldn’t be as blurred as it is today.

      I think the contract idea actually has some real merit! I have to say I’ve never heard of that before.

    • Rose says:

      01:13pm | 14/08/12

      Doesn’t that mean you should be sent to gaol Acotrel?

    • acotrel says:

      11:55am | 14/08/12

      My son, daughter and myself were playing a game of hitting a tennis ball in our back yard at home.  My daughter was grizzling and whinging, and I said ‘Oh shut up’, and gave her a very gentle pat on the backside with my racquet.
      She turned and very indignant said loudly ’ You bastard !  You said you’d never hit me !’
      - her pride had been hurt !

    • Kate says:

      11:11am | 14/08/12

      Same here. I think I only ever got smacked twice in my whole childhood. It was only after I’d carried on for a while, so used as a last resort. It left nothing but a red mark for 5 minutes on my bare bum (no lasting damage) but I certainly knew I’d crossed the line to make mum go that far. From then on, all she had to do was mention the wooden spoon and I was instantly an apologetic angel! You knew the limits and tried to stay within them.

      Though that’s not to say that what worked for me would work for all families. Every family is different, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to parenting, and each family needs to figure that out for themselves.

    • acotrel says:

      07:07am | 14/08/12

      ‘Obedience and respect for authority is valued, and inter-dependence is encouraged. Self-assertion and independence, on the other hand, are discouraged.’

      Not exactly what would produce independent thinking people who act with initiative, like the Anzacs who jacked up in France during WW1 when Haig tried to deny them their chance to attack the Hindenberg Line. There are a lot of control freaks around who imagine they have authority, when they actually have none ! If you want rebellion, belting your kids is the way to get it, if they are not piss-weak like yourself !

    • Davy says:

      05:40pm | 14/08/12

      so are you suggesting that the anzacs came from “non smacking” families ?

    • My kid my rules says:

      07:06am | 14/08/12

      Oh yeah draw up a contract with a 2 year old, good one. They certainly understand a smack or the threat of a smack though, and in my view if you get the boundaries set in those younger years smacks won’t be necessary in the older years.

    • eRon says:

      07:04am | 14/08/12

      Corporal punishment for politicians: I’d like to see that.
      The thought of Bowen being bent over some big knee, and having his backside paddled for all of the trouble he’s helped the government put the Australian people to, is very enticing. The entire ‘executive’. Gillard, Albanese, Emmo… the lot of them. Fantastic!
      You could sell tickets.

    • FINK says:

      02:33pm | 14/08/12

      Our current Prime Minister must have been raised by these P.C parents who did not believe in corporal punishment. How do I know this, I hear you ask! Well she knows there is NO consequences for telling lies and being deceitful for starters.

    • Tator says:

      11:37am | 14/08/12

      nice idea,good excuse to have my throwing shoulder reconstructed so I can throw them properly like I used to be able to back in my teens.

    • Mack says:

      09:46am | 14/08/12

      I rather like the idea of seeing them in the stocks - with free buckets of rotten tomatoes available….....

    • Little Joe says:

      07:01am | 14/08/12

      A great read opposing the views of so many worthless parenting experts!!!

      It is this type of discipline that ensures that 2nd Generation Immigrants significantly outperform others.

      Write more!!!

    • Rose says:

      12:09pm | 14/08/12

      You know Mike, few people get given all the things you listed, pretty much everyone has to work for what they have in one way or another. I know I left my parents home pretty much with my clothes, a handful of other bits and pieces (as did my husband) and we then worked for everything we have now. Migrants have a lot of challenges when they come to Australia but they do not have the monopoly on hard work and quality parenting.

    • Mike says:

      08:50am | 14/08/12

      It’s also the fact that in my case anyway, no one ever gave us anything when we came here - no free houses, 4WDs, clothes or money, and we had to work for everything we have nowadays and start at the bottom of the pile, so we were that much more driven to succeed in our new home country, and passed those values down to our kids.

    • Queensland Observer says:

      06:54am | 14/08/12

      Does it work Andre? How does it apply to very small children who do not yet have the ability to reason and understand the rather complex consequences, and carrot/stick approach that you have offered?

      Don’t get me wrong, I think what you are doing is great, and for older children and teens, might well be a good plan. However as the Jesuits have famously said - “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” If the child has not experienced consequences to actions at a young age, then he or she will struggle to comprehend it when older, and will likely rebel. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about how you raised your children in the earliest, formative years. Did you smack, reason, or use time-out?

      Also this ‘individualistic, autonomy-oriented’ post-modernistic mindset of Australia is only new. My family emigrated to Australia from England in the mid-1880’s so in no way could my family be considered migrant, yet I was raised in an authoritarian household where corporal punishment was always the consequence for breaking any rules. For me, the threat was sufficient, and I never stepped out of line. I still am a law-abiding citizen - my worst sin, getting a speeding fine once back in the 1980’s. It never happened again.

      I credit my stable, law-abiding life to the way I was raised - in a church-going, authoritarian household, with a mum at home, and a working dad. We never had much in the way of mod cons or luxuries - but we were a close, temperate, polite family (drugs/bad language were not present, and alcohol only on special occasions - and this was during the permissive 60’s and 70’s).

    • Yak says:

      01:16pm | 14/08/12

      Anger, contain thy self.

      This authoritarian enslavement that you endured as a child is heartbreaking. The manifest way in which you have been brainwashed into becoming your parents is scary in the extreme.

      What did life have in store for you, QO ?

      I do not believe we should be turning our children into clones of our, often misguided, selves. We owe them a descent start, at least.

    • Rose says:

      10:29am | 14/08/12

      By the time a kid is old enough to sign onto this contract, most of the heavy lifting in regard to parenting has already been done!

    • Freeman says:

      09:18am | 14/08/12

      I think you have it wrong, QO.
      Smacks should be reserved for children under seven because it helps them learn about consequences.  It’s the older kids tansitioning to adulthood who should not be smacked.

    • James D says:

      06:53am | 14/08/12

      The initiation of force and threats of violence is immoral. Initiating force against children even more so. If you raise your children correctly you should not have to bargain food, chores, money or services with them in order for them to act in a certain manner. You shouldnt have to bribe them to be good. You can educate them to understand that being rational, success seeking individuals with critical thinking skills has beneficial outcomes WITHOUT needing to bribe them. Raising children is the most difficult challenge known to man. It however can be done without any violence, threats or bargains. My brother and I were raised without violence by migrants and without bargains like those mentioned in the post. My parents worked very very VERY hard to achieve this and i have a deep respect for them for this reason.

    • Rose says:

      05:16pm | 14/08/12

      Well Acotrel, you’re the one that missed out smile

    • Sickemrex says:

      03:40pm | 14/08/12

      @ Wickerman. Very interesting subject and very true.

    • Markus says:

      12:53pm | 14/08/12

      @Wickerman, agree entirely.
      Not all children will require a smack in their lifetime, but some (many) will. And while it is ideal that a child learn well before that point, classifying all forms of physical discipline as abuse/assault removes what is essentially the final option when all others fail.

      I do wonder if those who believe that physical discipline is never necessary share that same belief in regard to police and the defence force.

    • Rose says:

      11:43am | 14/08/12

      Acotrel, my father, a hard working, thoroughly decent man, smacked me on a few occasions when I was growing up. To gaol him for discipling his daughter in a controlled but also very decisive manner would have been an appalling miscarriage of justice. The reason my dad smacking me was so effective was because it was incredibly rare, it hurt, but never for longer than a minute or two, it was decisive and it was done as part of a whole raft of parenting strategies which stemmed from the fact that he loved me and cared enough to ensure I knew where the line was that I crossed. Was smacking the best answer to my misdemeanours? Probably not, but it would have been a whole lot worse if his response was to ignore my bad behaviour or respond with ineffectual measures. To gaol some one because you disagree with their parenting style is absurd.BTW, me being smacked as a child has had absolutely no effect on my relationship with my husband at all, so I think you may be way off base here. The only thing I can think that you are doing here is confusing smacking with serious abuse, they are not one and the same, there is a very clear line between discipline and cruelty!

    • acotrel says:

      11:17am | 14/08/12

      I didn’t misbehave until I became an adult. My first girlfriend was a doosy!  My mother was horrified, but later in life after I got divorced she asked ‘whatever became of that nice young girl ? ’

    • Wickerman says:

      11:07am | 14/08/12

      @Janes D: “The initiation of force and threats of violence is immoral. “

      Sorry but ALL our laws are based on this.  A rule not ultimately backed by the threat of violence is merely a suggestion. Countries & states rely on laws enforced by people ready to do violence against lawbreakers. Every tax, every code and every licensing requirement demands an escalating progression of penalties that, in the end, must result in the forcible seizure of property or imprisonment by armed people prepared to do violence in the event of resistance or non–compliance.

      II suspect in your world, no delinquent or upstart child (or adult) may ever ask, “Or Else What?,” because in a truly non-violent home (or society), the best available answer is “Or else we won’t think you’re a very nice person and we’re not going to share with you.” The troublemaker is free to reply, “I don’t care. I’ll take what I want.”

      Violence is the final answer to the question, “Or else what?”  Without action, words are just words. Without violence, laws & rules at home are just words. Violence isn’t the only answer, but it is the final answer.

    • acotrel says:

      10:33am | 14/08/12

      I have hit both of my boys on occasion when they have gone a bit over the top.  I was wrong to do it, it showed that I’d failed to cope by acting reasonably.  I never hit my daughter, fathers that do that should be jailed.  It makes a horrible problem for the next bloke in their lives.

    • Rose says:

      10:27am | 14/08/12

      Do not for one minute think that anyone is really believing this, your parents must have had some methods of dealing with you when you misbehaved. If you never misbehaved I pity you, misbehaving is how kids learn about the world around them, test boundaries and develop a lot of skills surrounding resilience, disappointment, risk taking and negotiation.
      It’s a kid’s job to be a little naughty (not an undisciplined little shit though). and a parent’s job to provide boundaries but at the same time give kids the freedom to make mistakes, and cop the consequences, although consequences should, as much as humanly possible, fit the crime without being too harsh or too lenient.

    • Mack says:

      09:41am | 14/08/12

      @JamesD - well good luck with that. The problem is that not all children have ‘a deep respect for their parents’, even if their parents work ‘very very VERY hard to achieve this’. Some kids are just shits, and are not grateful little angels like yourself and your brother. As someone in a previous post said, there is a world of difference between parents who bash their kids and those that smack their kids on the bottom if they’re doing something dangerous or naughty.

      You sound like someone who doesn’t have kids - another armchair expert?

    • Peter says:

      08:55am | 14/08/12

      nb: James D obviously doesn’t have kids.

    • M says:

      08:20am | 14/08/12

      I’d say landing on Mars would be the most difficult challenge currently known to man.

      A smack here and there isn’t a bad thing imo.

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:48am | 14/08/12

      Don’t be too worried about it. A good smack is and always will be the best way to demonstrate to a young child that they have crossed the line and done something completely unnaceptable. The do gooders can make all the laws they want, smacking will always be a part of raising well behaved children. Making laws that say all smacking is wrong to combat abusers who get a thrill out of belting kids hasn’t worked, it just means they are sneakier about it. Putting a dedicated parent who gives their kid a bit of a whack for behaving appallingly on the same level as monsters who habitually belt their kids for any little thing is wrong headed in the extreme.
      “Negotiating” with a three year old is one of the weakest and most innefective parenting methods I’ve seen. People who take this route invariably have the most ill behaved, violent and disruptive children I have had the misfortune of meeting. “Coco, stop hitting Chanel with the stick, you’ll get time out” in a weasely wheedling tone,  pathetic.

    • the cynic says:

      03:49pm | 14/08/12

      I totally agree and it is not limited to children. My wife bless her soul certainly ups her game when she is put across the knee and given a given a damn good spanking. She even says she needs it at the appropriate time and being the gentleman I am I never refuse a lady.

    • Jack says:

      03:21pm | 14/08/12

      Anyone who thinks smacking is the best technique around and is some kind of parenting panacea is going to get a rude shock when their children are old enough to hit back.

      See also: people proposing a return to corporal punishment in schools.

      If you really think it is such a super effective technique, keep in mind that the standard bogan mentality is ‘hurr, if someone does somethink ya dont like, hit em!’.  And consider how well behaved any kid with a rats tail or eminem sweater is.

    • Stephen says:

      01:43pm | 14/08/12

      Totally agree.  People who are so anti smacking and raised great kids who didn’t require smacking to be good think ALL children are the same as their experience and so EVERYONE should follow them.  Fact is every kid is different.  My brother had 2 lovely girls they were 110% on the never smack your kid side saying time outs and stuff.  Guess what it worked they have 2 great girls.  Now their boy is 2.5 and pushes them so hard and totally ignores the time out and keeps fighting.  They have resorted to a quick little tap on the behind to keep him in line and its working well.  Every kid is different.  I know I pushed my parents a bit too far at times and I learnt what the limits were quite quickly.  I turned out fine and as long as its not abusive its good to set rules and limits for children.  I’ve seen to many nightmare kids with no limits set turn into little nightmare teens who did all sorts of bad things.

    • Benevolent Rapscallion says:

      01:27pm | 14/08/12

      The best behaved children I have met have all been raised without being smacked. There’s nothing wrong with negotiating with your children. Parents just need to carry through with the consequences and be consistent. The parents of these well behaved children are all consistent in their application of the rules and the rules are very clear to their children.

    • andye says:

      11:41am | 14/08/12

      @ronny jonny - “Don’t be too worried about it. A good smack is and always will be the best way to demonstrate to a young child that they have crossed the line and done something completely unnaceptable. “

      So one tool is best for all situations? I would suggest that a variety of methods (which may include smacking) could work in various situations and you are presenting a very simplistic black/white view here.

    • acotrel says:

      10:56am | 14/08/12

      @ronny johnny
      ‘Never met one ‘

      You have met me on this forum.  As a child I was never hit by anyone.
      It would have been a really good way to create a very bad problem.

    • acotrel says:

      10:09am | 14/08/12

      ‘Don’t be too worried about it. A good smack is and always will be the best way to demonstrate to a young child that they have crossed the line and done something completely unnaceptable. ‘

      What a loser !

    • ronny jonny says:

      09:53am | 14/08/12

      Never met one

    • iansand says:

      08:31am | 14/08/12

      Except for all those well behaved children who were raised without being smacked.


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter