Reasonable Chastisement

Smacking/Spanking is a discipline tool and not abuse though physical.

UK Legislation recognised that it is human for Parents or Carers to smack/spank their child as a reasonable punishment under section 58 of the Children Act 2004 as a form of discipline-deterrent for serious disobedience, love correction and development of a child behaviour for the future. The legislation did not define the strict guidelines covering the use of reasonable punishment. In the Review of Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 ... it's conclusion states "We do not agree that the best way to get across messages to parents about methods of discipline is to remove the defence of reasonable punishment from all charges of assault. The Government does not condone smacking and believes that other methods of managing children’s behaviour are more effective. But we do not believe that the state should intervene in family life unnecessarily – unless there are clear reasons to intervene, parents should be able to bring up their children as they see fit....further reading in Review Pg.18/19

Parents have the right to make choices about reasonable punishments, but there is a fine line between "reasonable chastisement" (which is a defence in law) and assault (which is a criminal offence).

Smacking/Spanking of a Child 2

Every reasonable parent love and want the best for their child with the need to be protected against abuse, but we as a society must know the difference between child abuse and discipline as it is not dysfunctional family to be blamed for senseless killings and stabbings done by youth of today but the inevitable fact that society has failed the youth of today by restraining parental control/ discipline by not taken into account when allegations of parental child abuse are made as following considerations :-

1)The “cultural context” of family ethnicity to smacking as a valuable parenting tool, a parent’s choice, a parent’s right, or a formative part of their own upbringing. As Mrs Justice Pauffley said: “I do not believe there was punitively harsh treatment of (the boy) of the kind that would merit the term physical abuse. Proper allowance must be made for what is, almost certainly, a different cultural context" ....further reading

2) The "religious context" of family believe to have more favourable attitudes towards smacking/spanking as a literal interpretation of the bible support smacking/spanking, is more often to instil a moral code so that children can make moral choices and later become responsible adults, because proverbs states “spare the rod and spoil the child”[means Discipline is necessary for good upbringing] which is based in Proverbs 13:24 - in the Bible.  Pope Francis told parents “it is OK to spank their children to discipline them – as long as their dignity is maintained .........Also outlined the traits of a good father: as one who forgives but is able to “correct with firmness” while not discouraging the child .....Further reading The Guardian 

3)     Is a line drawn between reasonable punishment and abuse maltreatment that is grounded in long-standing parental-autonomy norms and the science that teaches when and how children suffer harm?  Recommend reading 

a)      Courts have specifically rejected CPS rules and regulations that permit a finding of abuse when a child experiences a bruise after parental discipline has been administered and lasting more than twenty-four hours, with a communicated understanding of reason of smacking him/her and goes immediately to play after the smack/spank.  Iowa Supreme Court states “welts, bruises, or similar markings are not physical injuries per se ...” [Ark. Dep’t of Human Serv. v. Caldwell, 832 S.W.2d 510, 513 (Ark. Ct. App. 1992)]; A Florida court states  “four-inch bruise on a child’s buttocks was insufficient to support a finding of physical abuse and noting that “case law has established … that a single incident of a serious bruise on the buttock of a child, perhaps caused by corporal punishment, will not support a finding of dependency” [ B.R. v. Dep’t of Health and Rehab. Serv., 558 So. 2d 1027, 1028 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1989)]

b)     Pattern of abuse considered by courts whether an act of physical discipline is an isolated event or part of a larger pattern of arguably unreasonable discipline. If the individual injuries are relatively minor but a pattern, may cause them to be classified as abuse .because they fear that an escalation of violence in the future could put the child at risk and therefore courts’ emphasis on the history of unreasonable physical discipline in the household indicates some concern for the child’s safety in the event that the child remains in the home. A Florida Court states that “some evidence of a pattern of excessive corporal punishment or a single punishment resulting in a more serious injury is required”  [ O.C., 934 So. 2d 623, 627–28 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006)] 

c)     The evaluation of reasonable discipline by parent’s attempt to correct the child’s misbehaviour motivated to smacking as a means necessary for the child’s actions that unintentionally causes minor bruises to the child, and gravity of the child’s behaviour after a parent’s attempts to address the behaviour without resorting to physical discipline. As in a case  “noting that parents only used corporal punishment as a last resort and in a structured manner” [Raboin v. N.D. Dep’t of Human Serv., 552 N.W.2d 329 (N.D. 1996)]

d)      Reasonable punishment identified as  Physical abuse when punishment results in multiple or very large bruises, bruises with a deep colour, bruises especially painful, lasting a week or more, and parent  acting viciously out of anger / cruelty,  [ Maurice S., 1994 WL 149549, at *3 (Neb. Ct. App. Apr. 26, 1994)], though a North Carolina Court of Appeals held that bruises on a child’s arm and upper buttocks lasting for several days were insufficient to establish that the child, who had been beaten with a belt, was abused – with an explanation that abuse involves “an injury more severe than a bruise as a result of a spanking.”For example incidents and injuries from choking, hitting with fists and glass objects, pulling out hair, and burning

e)      Appropriate recognition of the societal significance of parental rights and responsibilities with only permission for intervention in families only when there is evidence of important physical, emotional, or developmental harm to the child. “It is clear that a parent has the ‘right’ to corporally discipline his or her child, a right derived from our constitutional right to privacy. But this right, like any other, must be exercised in a ‘reasonable’ manner.” [J.P., 692 N.E.2d 338, 345 (Ill. Ct. App. 1998)]

f)      Courts recognition to preserve Parent’s rights to disciplinary autonomy, require that CPS show that the injury was life-threatening or at least permanently disfiguring and not “mere” bruising, even bruising lasting for several days and in circumstances where the child was afraid to return home, might be an insufficient basis to allow CPS to breach the circle of family privacy.

Parental Autonomy Image

g)     An ‘emerging theoretical and empirical evidence’ which challenges the academic and political view that smacking is child abuse and should be banned was researched by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and they found the effects of discipline – such as verbal threats or smacking – are balanced by the child’s feeling of being loved and the child believes their punishment is coming from “a good place” ;whereby  harsh/strictly discipline was found to have no correlation with antisocial behaviour nor unlikely to. further down the line. In which some evidence suggests that Latino cultural norms/ custom such as respect and social responsibility factors– play influential support to the use of harsh and restrictive discipline in lessening potential harm on children. Attachment theory holds that warm, responsive parenting is the critical factor in producing happy, secure children -- the underlying belief that their parents love them protects them from feeling rejected, even when being harsh/strictly disciplined which does  not automatically result in antisocial behaviour in the child.   

h)     A study found that youngsters smacked up to the age of six did better at school and were more optimistic about their lives than those never hit by their parents..They were also more likely to undertake voluntary work and keener to attend university, experts [ 3/1/2010 ]


"When I was growing up l was smacked as most parents and grandparents today and it did us no harm but instilled self discipline in us, and respect for elders with life skill values used for benefit of society today ; which is missing in most youths of this generation with a zeal for senseless killings and stabbings because significant values of self discipline are missing , no single value for life not to imagine for the law; we as a society in totality have to work together with parents rights to disciplinary autonomy or fearful worst is expected for next generation if the society do not wake up quickly, there might not be a next generation especially in black & ethnic minority

"... RAP Founder