I spent yesterday at a conference organised by the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People, Dr Kathleen Marshall on the topic of non-violent childhood. The day was pretty interesting but to be honest the speakers were preaching to the choir. The most interesting part of the day was the chance to have a chat with the people at our table and kick around some of the barriers to a non-violent childhood, or put simply banning smacking children. We wondered why parents get loads of anti-natal information but very little support beyond that unless things reach crisis point. We talked about how messages and help are advertised. ‘Come to a course on non-violent parenting’ translates to ‘Do you beat up your kids but want to stop?’. No-one will go to that course. But they might go to ‘How to play with your kids’ or ‘getting along with your teenager’.
The statistics are overwhelming. Only 6% of adults support smacking children. Most parents who have smacked their kids are ashamed of doing so (I’m on that list) and would rather learn how to deal with their kids without resorting to violence.
The masks above were made by a group of children and were all round the room. They were sets of alternatives and were are great illustration of how easily we resort to negatives when dealing with children when there are very viable positive responses we could use.
If you hit an adult you would be charged with assault. If you hit your own child then that’s ok. That can’t be right can it?