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Is a light smack so bad?

Baby Light Smack


“I know physical punishment is bad, against the law even, but is a light smack really so wrong? My two year old makes me lose my cool sometimes. I know I need to stay calm, but I have on occassion slipped up which has resulted in me giving my son a light smack on his butt. I’m not proud of this, but should I feel so guilty?”


Peta B.

A 2-year-old can’t rationalize why you are smacking them. They just don’t have the brain process yet. So all your doing is getting out your frustration while showing your child that it’s ok to get physical when you’re angry or frustrated. If you are losing your cool it’s best to find another way to deal with your emotions. Take a mum time out, count to ten, recite a poem, whatever you can do to control your emotions. There is a lot of study around how smacking can affect the growing brain and it’s not the hardness at which you smack it’s the intent that causes the damage.

Courtney N.

No, I don’t think a light smack is a bad thing. Yelling and screaming even taking things off them sometimes doesn’t work. So a light smack isn’t that bad at all. Discipline is needed and each parent does it differently. But I don’t think smacking is wrong at all.

Jessica R.

I have five daughters and I use smacks. I worry if I use it too much. But worrying about if you are doing it right is a very normal and good part of mothering. I will say this though. Escalating the conflict never works at bedtime. They just don’t have enough emotional energy to make a good choice. My bedtime motto is repetition at the same calm level until they fall asleep. Exhausting yes, tests your patience, yes, but anything else just makes it worse.

Kay F.

Smacking is a traditional method of parenting. This method still re-cycling among parents and it’s our choice to break the cycle.

Perhaps we can ask ourselves, how we felt when we were smacked by our parents – because many said that’s the way to tell the kids to behave or listen. Now as an adult, would you like your parents or superiors to smack you or use any physical methods on you in order to listen or behave?

Perhaps we can ask ourselves, while you smacking the kids, do you really think the smacking is benefits for the kids or simply because you are frustrated?

Find the cause of why you smack in the first place and move away with better options. Internet and smart phone are widely available nowadays. Make good use of technology to find a better solution.

From a person who went through smacking, belting and many unidentified throwing flying items throughout childhood and teenage years and learning more about better ways in parenting after becoming an early childhood educator.

Parenting is hard. But believe in yourself to find a better solution instead of re-cycling some not so good traditional parenting. You can do it daddies mommies ?

Jess H.

You’re smacking your child when you’ve “slipped up” from being calm – essentially hitting when you’ve lost control of your temper. The “light” slap won’t cause any long-lasting physical damage but it’s well known physical punishment is detrimental, add that to the fact that you only do it when you’re angry/fed up/heat of the moment. It may be worth trying strategies to keep yourself a little calmer when those buttons are being pushed (easier said than done, I know!).

Corinne M.

If my son did something extremely naughty he would get one on the hand. But after finishing up a unit for uni and seeing this, it’s changed my perspective. I’m extremely firm with my boy if something he’s done is not right and make sure he knows how I feel about it.

Teasaidh A.

Firstly #1.It is not illegal to smack your kids.
#2. Some situations warrant a quick tap on the bum I.e. your kids having a fancy and deciding that because they don’t get what they want they will put another in danger…
#3. Every child is different. What works for one may never work for another.. I have 3 kids. I can not punish them the same. What works for my eldest my 5yr old laughs at what works for my 5 yr old makes my eldest have a complete meltdown.
#4. You know your child best!
Example time… I have a serious medical condition. As I said I have 3 kids… I can not run or lift my children at the moment. A day after I got out of hospital my husband had to run to the shops leaving me with the kids.. miss 5 asked for something that she wasn’t allowed to have. She turned to me and said if you don’t give me this I’ll let the baby out of the house. I said no.. she then snuck up to the front door with her baby brother. I heard the sound and started after her..by the time I could get to my baby he was 100mtrs down the road carrying his bottle and tottling off in his nappy.. my 5 yr old stood there and laughed.. she was having an evil day.. my neighbor 2 doors up, who is a police officer even told me to give her a good tap on the bum. And so I did.

Bridgitte C.

This is too subjective a question to answer.
What is “light”
To what degree are you losing your cool.
Is your child making you lose it?
Why are you slipping up?
What is slipping up?
Why are you feeling guilty?

No one can answer these but these are the questions you’ll be asked if your child tells anyone you hit them

It’s your child, you’ll only get opinions not actual advice. ??‍♀️

Danni E.

I always wonder how we expect kids to know not to hit others if we are hitting them. They don’t understand at that age, they just think we hit when we are frustrated or angry so that’s what they do.

Nicole G.

I wonder at what stage you think smacking is a great way to teach a lesson? What are we learning being smacked or smacking? I don’t agree and would never agree that hitting a small person to teach them a lesson is a good idea, no different to adults hitting one another! Walk away, kids are a nuisance, often, but you are the adult, walk away get it together, show your child that no matter the emotions you have, you can find a solution and be a better person! It’s hard in the heat, trust me I know, but violence is never the answer!

Suzanne S.

If you aren’t proud of this behavior I think you should apologize to your child for smacking them and explain to them why you feel ashamed. No one is perfect or does the right thing all the time – the important thing is to acknowledge and own our mistakes (and by doing so teach your child to also). If you feel guilty then that’s a good sign you’ve done something you don’t approve of.

You don’t need to feel calm (as this would be impossible with a 2-year-old!) you need to try and act calm even when you’re frustrated (easier said than done!)

It’s not about whether “a light spark” is right or wrong but more about modeling behavior for your child- would you be ok with them giving a “light spank” to another person?

Kristie T.

My 2yo doesn’t respond to anything other than a 5min time out in his room. It’s working so far and after only a couple of times having to do it, he stops being naughty when I say “do you want to go your room”? ?‍♀️

Like others have said, they all respond differently to different forms of discipline. I’ve tried gentle parenting techniques. Getting to his level, calmly talking to him etc. I’m sure it works for some, but not my son ?

Chels B.

“I know physical punishment is bad, against the law even, but is a light slap really so wrong? My wife of 3 years makes me lose my cool sometimes. I know I need to stay calm, but I have on occasion slipped up which has resulted in me giving her a bit of a slap on the cheek. Sometimes across the back of the head.
I’m not proud of this, but should I feel so guilty?”

If that was posted on any other page or group, people would be suggesting that the wife leave her husband due to DV.

Kylie B.

As a child, I would get a whooping regularly as in the 80s that’s what happened. I hardly ever played up or was ‘naughty’ so to this day I still don’t know why I got beat. I never laid a hand on my daughter. We taught her right from wrong and consequences for actions.

Sammi M.

I have seen and studied this for many years. My take is, tap on the hand is generally enough to create a momentary stop in the child’s action/brain. They then need a short precise verbal reinforcement about the unacceptable behavior such as “we don’t throw things at the tv it is dangerous”
For toddlers that sharp touch is something that they will remember short term and you will be able to see them processing it next time, they feel the urge. Hopefully, this helps

Michelle M.

Nope, NEVER a good reason to hit a child. It is frustration and laziness on the parent’s behalf and it doesn’t teach a child not to do something it teaches them not to get caught.

Roslyn D.

I’m now in my 60’s. I read a while ago about two mums getting ready to take their 2-year-olds on a trip. Both children started acting out about getting into the car. One child received a controlled smack on the behind and got in his seat. The other was chased and screamed at, reasoned with, grabbed, dragged, escaped, yelled at, and after 15 minutes, finally put into his car seat with both mum and child sweating and angry. Child No1 learned that there are boundaries. Thank you mum because life success needs boundaries. Child No2 learned that the stronger bigger person will win.

Once in my time of raising 5 boys, I have got out of control with smacking a 12-year-old. We later, both agreed that he pushed way too far. I’m not proud of the situation but I quickly apologized and admitted my mistake. His answer was ’you went, psycho mum’. Im not proud of it but he learned where the boundary was. No more problems.

Boundaries will always exist. The sooner children learn this, in my opinion, the better. I think that a parent is more at risk of lashing out at a child after a long period of trying to deal with a situation where both parent and child are stressed and angry because the right response has not occurred.

Hayley R.

First, we need to clarify that there’s a huge difference between smacking and hitting.
Light smacking as a form of discipline for extreme behaviour, is not “hitting” or “abusing” your child. They simply learn that a certain action or behaviour that was associated with that smack is unacceptable.

However if it’s all the time, harder smacks, or for no reason, that’s a completely different story.

But, as mentioned above, different kids respond to different things. Also, the age of the child needs to be considered. Younger kids can’t connect the behaviour to the action.

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