Letter: A loving smack

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The Independent Online
From Dr Duncan Carmichael

Sir: With reference to the recommendations made by the Commission on Children and Violence (report, 9 November), it is generally accepted that children (and adults) need boundaries in which to live, outside of which they know they will be punished.

There are different punishments suitable to different situations and a smack is often the appropriate deterrent. Removing it leaves parents more impotent in their attempt to give their children a framework in which to thrive.

The confusion comes in differentiating a smack from a blow. The one is borne out of love; the other, a violent act of emotional and physical abuse.

Of all the forms of abuse, emotional is the most difficult to prosecute against and the scars in the children are the hardest to display.To ban smacking may remove a symptom, but not the cause, of emotional abuse.

Yours faithfully,

Duncan Carmichael

Farnham, Surrey