Citizenship Coursework Essay

The following essay that I’m going to write will compare two sources with arguments for and against a ban on smacking children in the UK. The first source used is an article from “The Times”, written by the Director of Family and Youth Concern, Norman Wells. It featured in the FYC Family Bulletin and was published on the 5th July 2004. This argument is the one which is saying why we shouldn’t ban smacking. The second article is also from “The Times” but was published two years later in January of 2006 and was written by a Social Affairs Correspondent named Alexandra Frean. Now I will analyse both of the articles and come to a final conclusion whether or not smacking in the UK should be banned.

Source A argues and gives reasons why smacking should not be banned. It tells us that it would not give children more protection, but less as it would divert already overstretched child protection resources away from the children who need them the most. Also, parents have a real unique relationship with their children. Smacking their children for doing something wrong is no crime, it is the only way to teach the child not to behave irresponsibly. In Sweden, the 1979 smacking ban contributed to a 489% increase in physical child abuse cases classified as criminal assaults from 1981-1994. Of the five countries with the lowest rates of child abuse deaths, only one has a ban on smacking children.

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Source B argues smacking should be banned. It begins to tell us that children are the only people in Britain that are still being hit/assaulted without consequence. It should be a ‘fundamental principle’ that children and young people should have the same protection from assault as adults. It then goes on to tell us that over one third of European countries give children equal protection from assault as adults. These counties include: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Austria, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Portugal, Germany etc.

The children in these countries are now looked after a lot better. Another reason for smacking to be band is that international pressure for a smacking ban in this country has also been steadily mounting in the European Court of Human Rights. The government’s response has been to change the ancient smacking defence of “reasonable chastisement” to one of “reasonable punishment”. Another point at the end of this article is “Tony Blair has admitted, with regret, smacking his older children when they were young”. This is a good point to make as he is a very powerful person and a lot of people look up to him.

Sources A and B’s similarities are that they are both bias. You are known to this when looking at the facts on both ‘A’ and ‘B’. Another similarity is that they both use the same argument for one thing. The argument that they both use is – ‘1998 from the European Court of Human Rights’. Both articles consider the child and they value childhood as they both make small references to it.

Source A is partly different to source B because it is saying parents are unique and should be able to have full power over their children whereas source B tries to get people agree that children and parents are fairly equal. Although both sources use statistics they use them in different ways, as they are trying to put across different points in the arguments.

The wider issues of banning smacking would be things such as government interfering with personal and family life. Another result of banning smacking would be that anti-social behaviour would become worse and this is due to the fact that children would know that when they get home they could have burnt a bridge down and they couldn’t even get smacked unless the parent was willing to be punished for committing a crime. Behaviour in school would also be affected in a negative manor because doing something against the rules in school would just result in a telling off or maybe a phone call home, therefore the child would not be that concerned as they know they could constantly repeat this attitude in and outside of school and not be smacked. A final wider issue is that smacking would mean that a nanny state is introduced so parents would have lost the freedom over their own child and how they decide to bring them up which is bad because you make parenting up as you go along, there is no real rules to follow.

Overall, I think that smacking should not be banned as it is a punishment to children and young people who have done wrong. Also it is not a bad thing to do if you are trying to teach your children how to be responsible and how to behave appropriately. If it is only used to teach them a lesson then I think it is possible for this method to improve there behaviour. However, I do believe that it shouldn’t just be children getting punished with hitting; it should be adults to. If they are doing something wrong, then they need to be taught a lesson.


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