To smack, or not to smack – it’s an emotionally charged topic which remains topical for South African parents. What precipitated it last time, was a New Zealand bill in that proposed to outlaw smacking completely as a form of punishment – even by parents. Now there's a report that a surprising number of depressed new dads spank their one-year-olds.
The shape of things to come?
It’s an emotional issue. Parents are either passionately defensive of their right to smack their children, or are passionately against this form of punishment. The truth is that the New Zealand proposal has, in the past, been mooted in South Africa as well. It’s difficult to police, so it may not be worth the paper it’s written on, but it’s not out of the question that the South African laws may yet travel down this road.