herald

Friday 17 November 2017

Warnings over ban on child smacking

EXPERTS have warned that the Children's Minister will have to provide parenting courses if she is to introduce an outright ban on the smacking of children.

Minister Frances Fitzgerald has revealed that a new law to ban corporal punishment in the home is under consideration in order to modernise the laws protecting children.

But psychologist Kate Byrne said the minister would need to provide educational courses for parents if the ban is to come in.

"I think the ban is an excellent idea.

"The EU brought it in and Ireland is one of the countries that haven't taken up on it.



Alternative

"It should be educational. The biggest stumbling block is the attitude of many parents because smacking has been a popular method of discipline.

"Many parents are of the generation that were slapped by their own parents, and they say 'I was smacked and there was no harm done to me'," said Kildare-based Ms Byrne.

"I think a lot of families are quite set in their discipline methods so it would be quite difficult for them to discipline in alternative ways.

"The main criteria has to be that there is education for parents because some will feel that they're losing the only method of discipline available to them."

Ms Fitzgerald says she will choose the best option "in due course" but she has cautioned against expectation of an immediate change in the law.

Martina Newe, Director of Helpme2Parent.ie, agreed that courses on parenting are the way forward if you have a ban.

"Banning smacking is fine if you have training or you're showing people an alternative."

She added: "There has to be a phone line there where parents can pick up their phone and say, 'I'm very stressed, what can I do?'"

hnews@herald.ie

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