Former Minister David Lammy and the ‘Smacking’ Controversy

England’s former Education Minister and senior labor MP has stirred controversy by alleging that kids would be better off and certainly better behaved if they were properly disciplined, and more particularly if they were permitted to be ‘smacked’ or spanked by their parents.

Offering up a unique explanation for the London riots of last summer, David Lammy said that the ban on smacking kids was responsible for parents being unable to discipline their children which has meant that parents are not longer able to control kids’ behavior.

Mr. Lammy has expressed views that parents are no long “sovereign in their own homes” and are unable to physically restrain them from joining gangs and indulging in delinquent behavior. It is his view that parents are constantly in fear of social workers taking away their children. He even admitted to having smacked his own sons aged 3 and 5, in order to “protect them from danger” as he puts it.

According to Mr. Lammy, his own constituents from Tottenham, North London (where last year’s riots started) came up to him and blamed current legislation that prohibits parents from using even “reasonable chastisement”. Reportedly the parents are scared to use any force on their children out of their apprehension about social services.

Another point that Lammy makes is that the law says that there should be no kind of punishment that leads to “reddening of the skin”, a provision that is meaningless for non-white parents and their children.

Needless to say, the pro-corporeal punishment views have stirred a storm of controversy with many in the media criticizing Mr. Lammy’s views on physically disciplining children. On the one hand the MP has put into words thoughts that people think may be politically incorrect to verbalize, but privately may believe nevertheless.

Outraged columnists are wondering why the issue of violence on children is even being discussed. Domestic violence no longer is; and is condemned completely and in all its forms across the board; so why is the issue of smacking children even being given a fair hearing! Surely no one can advocate parenting in anger, is the opposite view. The question begs to be asked, what kind of person hits anyone, whether a child or anyone else, whether or not they are angry?

Then there is the fact that if you want to instill values in a child, you have to have a firm moral standpoint as a parent. If you hit your child, you lose that moral high ground and your authority along with it.

So clearly, Lammy’s views and counterviews are something that could give all parents some food for thought!


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