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Psychiatrist Believes Smacking Your Child Is 'Okay' In Certain Circumstances

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Psychiatrist Believes Smacking Your Child Is 'Okay' In Certain Circumstances

A psychiatrist has spoken out about the pros and cons of smacking children, after NRL bad boy John Hopoate revealed he regularly spanks his 11 children if they misbehave.

The ex-rugby league star said while some parents feel guilty for physically disciplining their children, he uses the controversial behavioural control technique on his family, including his three-year-old daughter.

He said he believes in 'old-school disciplining' and starts smacking his kids from 'day dot'.

“The older ones I bash on the shoulder or on the arm or leg, they’ve got to feel it,” he said, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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The revelation sparked a load of reactions from people and now a psychiatrist has weighed in on the debate.

Dr Tanveer Ahmed told 2GB Radio that people often overreact to spanking as a form of parental punishment.

“The psychological research does say if spanking is your key parenting strategy then it doesn’t work,” he said, adding that it isn't an issue if it did not go into the realm of abuse.

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The psychiatrist said the action needs to be 'fairly consistent and proportionate' and parents should be 'linking it with the rewarding behaviour' that they wanted to see from their children.

Dr Ahmed added that boundaries need to be set for smaller children, aged between four and six.

“The core point is some smacking when it’s consistent, relatively mild and linked with the behaviour … is OK,” he said.

“It’s not the end of the world.”

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Parenting expert Justin Coulson also weighed in, adding that apprehended violence orders (AVOs) that are now being taken out against parents are the result of 'significant concern' in the family home.

Former professional rugby league player and boxer John Hopoate reveals he smacks his kids. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Former professional rugby league player and boxer John Hopoate reveals he smacks his kids. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

“Usually, it’s an adult who’s out of control and they’re going hard on the child,” Coulson said.

“The reality is the very vast majority of them are not adults intervening for a child’s protection."

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He added: "These AVOs aren’t for a parent who is a little bit overtired, stressed out and a bit over the kids who has just lost the plot one afternoon and given (them) a whack.”

Coulson's comments come after Hopoate bemoaned that his friends’ children were taking out AVOs against their parents.

According to the controversial ex-footy player, kids 'just want, want, want and when you can’t give it to them anymore, they can’t handle it and become violent and aggressive'.

Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals 12,022 people aged under 18 are protected by an AVO.

Featured Image Credit: Rafael Ben Ari / Alamy Stock Photo. Anna Kraynova / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: News, Parenting, Australia

Rachel Lang
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