Nannies prove resistant to Bible's view on the virtues of smacking: Rhys Williams asked people whose work is looking after children for their views on the issue of punishment

THE BIBLE is pretty clear on smacking. 'He that spareth his rod, hateth his son,' says Proverbs xiii,24.

It would seem that Victoria Williams, who lives in Trelogan, north Wales, and who has worked as a nanny for two and a half years, is not an avid Bible student. 'I don't believe in smacking,' she said emphatically yesterday.

'You should always try to talk to a child. When they misbehave or get too much, I stick them in their playpen, walk out of the room and count to 10. When I worked in a nursery and 30 children would scream at once, I'd go out and make myself a cup of tea.'

Vanessa Addenbrooke, of Greenwich, south-east London, has never smacked a child in her four years as a nanny: 'I used to look after a little baby who went through a phase of screaming all day long. In the end I put her in her cot, shut the door and left her for half an hour until she quietened down.

'It gets to the point when you can't take anymore,' she said.

Both these nannies felt a need for personal release, which, according to Liz Rowland, who owns the Cinderella nanny agency in south-east London, is often the force behind most 'attacks'.

'The only person smacking helps is you. It's a way to dissipate your own anxiety and adrenalin. Hurting children does them no good. It just makes them resentful,' she said.

'If violence is met with violence you get violent children. You hit animals because they have no language. But with children you have language and you should use that to make them understand that they have done wrong. Children will sense your fear by your voice and your reaction just as much as by hitting them.

'Where is the fine line between hitting a child and abusing them? People who smack have always been smacked themselves - that's guaranteed. You have to break the chain of violence somewhere because of the harm it can do to children in later life.'

Miranda Dunne, a teacher at the Learning Base, a nursery in west London, appreciated that there were pressures that might occasionally drive even the calmest parent to strike out. But added that as a teacher she could not afford to succumb.

'If you cannot cope without violence, then you shouldn't be a teacher. Sometimes I have to stop myself in my tracks and put my hands in my pockets. But there is a big difference between hitting and smacking. I was brought up being smacked and it never did me any harm. Hitting a child to hurt them, though, is appalling.'

Camilla Desparde, who runs Cotswolds Nannies in Stroud, Gloucestershire, said that it was a question of common sense: 'No one will ever say it is good to hit a child, but there are circumstances when speaking is not enough.'

When Ms Addenbrooke's charges reached for the burning hotplate or the live socket in spite of the umpteenth warning, the natural reaction, she said, was 'the slap on the hand'.

There cannot be many hotplates at Hackney Care for Kids, a day nursery in north London. 'We have a strict no-smacking policy,' a woman said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral