Two thirds of the public believe that it is sometimes acceptable to smack your children, a survey by Good Morning Britain has found.
Presenters Richard Madeley and Ranvir Singh were debating “Is it OK to smack your children?” with broadcaster Sarah Cawood and journalist Sian Griffiths, all of whom are parents.
Viewers were asked for their opinion during the segment, and 66 per cent said they thought it was acceptable for parents to sometimes lovingly discipline their children.
Singh explained how she had twice had to smack her child – once when he was jumping while in the bath and risked slipping and hurting himself, and another time when he was running around in a car park.
Madeley added that while he had pledged never to smack his children after having been beaten as a child, both of his children “have dim memories of me smacking them on the bottom once or twice”.
Cawood said she believes smacking is acceptable as a last resort: “Occasionally, when they are in mortal danger, it’s OK, to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves.”
She added that giving a child a sharp tap and a stern ‘no’ tells the child they have done something seriously wrong, “because you can’t reason with ‘threenagers’ and you can’t reason with toddlers”.
Sian Griffiths said she disagreed with the public and claimed it is “completely unacceptable” to smack a naughty child, or a child in danger.
She believes England should follow in Scotland and Wales’ footsteps and ban smacking, claiming children who are smacked “grow up more aggressive, more antisocial, and more anxious”.
But Cawood said her own experience dispelled that myth, saying: “I have two of the most gentle children you could meet.”
She later pointed out that she has not had to smack her children since they were around three, as now the threat of a smack is enough to make them behave.
Griffiths also admitted that despite her opposition to smacking, one of her adult sons recently reminded her that she had smacked him.