School telling mom off for smacking her kid

(167 Posts)
squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 10:12:45

A parent I know has 3 kids under 5 and lives in a two bedroom small flat, she's a single mum and is going back to work from maternity leave in a few weeks - basically she's got a lot on her plate but does an amazing job under these circumstances.

To discipline the eldest (age 6) she occasionally smacks with her hand and always explains what she's done it for and hugs him after. Now I don't agree with this discipline method but that's how she was brought up.

The teachers are on her back at the school telling her that this smacking is "on her child's record" and she has been brought in for a 'meeting' with the welfare teacher about it and had 'child protection' and 'social services' words said to her in what sounds like thinly veiled blackmail.

It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship.

I just think the school are handling it wrongly, rather than supporting her and trying to change her behaviour they seem to make matters worse.

What do you guys think? How should schools handle this sort of thing? Should they be threatening with child protection or ignoring it or what? I know they're in a difficult position but surely they can do better than this? It's not against the law for smacking your child after all whether you agree with it or not....

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 10:58:59

Actually you can tell her anything you like. Whether or not she'll listen to you is another matter. The school seems to have told her to stop it already. In the end what the woman needs is an alternative to hitting the child which encourages him to stop doing whatever it is that the mother dislikes so much that she feels the need to hit him, (apart that is from discussing her behaviour at school. Hitting him for that is wrong, stupid and doubtless counter productive.)

Do you know why the boy was hit the first time?

diddlediddledumpling Thu 29-Nov-12 10:59:29

Do you think the school should be supporting parents whatever way they choose to discipline their children? They have an obligation to investigate a child protection concern, and you don't know exactly what the child has said.
I think it is totally out of order for her to hit him when he gets home today. What is that teaching him? I hope the episode makes your friend think long and hard about her discipline.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:00:13

"It has made her angry and will lead to another smack for the kid when he gets home tonight for saying stuff about her at school - basically leading to a worsening of their relationship. "

If this is true, I am afraid the school are right to intervene here, something is very wrong IMO.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:03:58

gosh - you guys are harsh! i was brought up with the occasional smack and it never did me any harm. I know it might be worse but the point is you are not going to change her behaviour through condemnation and thinly veiled threats, only through education and support. and no it;s not me!

Graceparkhill Thu 29-Nov-12 11:04:05

She hits him and then hugs him afterwards? Sorry that makes me feel ill.
Your friend has a lot on her plate but hitting a child is never the answer.
If it did "work 'she would only ever have had to do it once.

ZZZenAgain Thu 29-Nov-12 11:07:23

you don't see that if she smacks her child for telling the school he gets hit at home and the "relationship worsens as a result" that this is entirely the fault of the mother? Seriously you don't see it? So it is the fault of the school, it is the fault of the boy or what?

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:08:33

yes smacking is wrong , that's not what this is about. This is about how the school are handling it - basically is it any of their business? the law says not and so you could argue they have no right to talk to the mother about it, certainly not to say 'it's on her record' and the way they've handled it today surely demonstrates how poor their handling of this whole situation is.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:09:57

If you are her friend, you can tell her to change her behaviour.

Especially the part where you expect a 6-year-old to get hit because he tells the truth about how his mum smacks him around shock

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:09

i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom

Graceparkhill Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:32

The welfare of the child has to be the business of the school. What do you think they should have done? Presumably they got their info from the wee boy so they can't just ignore it.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:10:36

Of course, the safety of a student at home is a school's business, especially if the student has raised it with them.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Nov-12 11:11:46

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom"

It sounds like you need some of that education yourself shock

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:11:55

yes - coteDAzur - you're right, i will have a chat with her about it, this is what i'm saying though, if the bloody teacher was kind and supportive and have a reasonable conversation rather than alienating parents, they'd get a lot more done.

learnandsay Thu 29-Nov-12 11:12:09

No the school isn't that's plain wrong. The school isn't hitting him; the mother is! That's just plain messed up thinking.

Actually that's the kind of thing abusers say. They hit and then say see what you made me do!

RooneyMara Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:18

'i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom'

I'm speechless

Decemberinthesun Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:35

If this was how she was raised then she ought to know better TBH. I bet when she was hit as a child she didn't think, hey great I deserved that. That boy won't always be 6 you know. At 13 he will probably be able to pack a smack a lot harder than she can.

Floggingmolly Thu 29-Nov-12 11:14:44

will lead to another smack at home for saying stuff about her at school
And she'll hug him afterwards, I presume? hmm
What's amazing about how she's raising her children? Sounds quite abusive to me, and school are duty bound to report it, and attempt to get the kids (and your friend) the help they need.

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 11:19:37

Smacking is legal if it is "reasonable chastisement" or something.

If she's using it in the same way most people would use, e.g. a time out, and it's not hard enough to cause physical damage and isn't with an implement etc then she's fine.

However the fact you say she's going to smack him when she gets home because the school have had a word with her about it is the alarming point for me, and what makes me think maybe the school has a point, perhaps she's not using it as part of a discipline strategy but more as a way of releasing her anger, which is not "reasonable chastisement".

Why on earth is the school at fault? She is utterly WRONG for wanting to punish him for this. Even if the school is overreacting to a perfectly fine and legal discipline technique, it's not HIS fault, why should HE be punished?

If she's ashamed of her discipline techniques then she should seek help in finding other ways to manage her children's behaviour.

squareheadcut Thu 29-Nov-12 11:21:07

yes i know Decemberinthesun - you are absolutely right on that one.

AbigailAdams Thu 29-Nov-12 11:22:04

Honestly OP you really have this arse about face. Smacking your child for talking to someone about being smacked is not "reasonable chastisement" (whatever your views on smacking are). That is abuse.

The school are proceeding correctly. Children deserve to be protected. We are not the ones being harsh. This woman is.

If the school is worried about the welfare of the child then it is their business. Are they supposed to ignore it? I would be concerned if he's scared/hurt/worried enough to have confided in his teacher or TA about the actions of his Mother. Maybe she left a mark - that's definitely not legal.

TBH I think rather than whining about the school telling her off she ought to take a good look at her actions and see if they do have a reason for it.

"i'm afraid i feel the school is more responsible for the child getting hit tonight than the mom "

No it isn't.

Sirzy Thu 29-Nov-12 11:24:37

there is a very fine line between a smack and abusing a child. If this child is going to get 'smacked' because she has spoken to the school then on the face of it it would appear that this is bordering on abuse.

If she isn't coping with her children she needs to ask for help, abusing the children isn't going to help anyone.

MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:25:36

Are you serious?
The school is responsible for the child getting hit?

1st off the school have a legal duty to initiate an investigation if a child discloses abuse. They do not have a choice.
So if this poor kid has said 'my mum hits me' he has disclosed possible abuse.

It is NOT the responsibility of the school to question the child and assess what he means by 'hit'.

They have done the right thing. They are not threaten ing the mother, they are doing what they are supposed to do. They are informing her that her child has given them worrying information and they are following it up.

Too many schools bypass this bit of safeguarding and ironically, in this case, they would have been perhaps right to.

If by informing the carers they are putting the child at risk of abuse they shouldnt say anything.
Your mate is going to thump her child for telling someone he wants his mum to stop hitting him.

Ffs

MrsDeVere Thu 29-Nov-12 11:26:22

This isn't about your friend is it?

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