Today’s guest post is from novelist Christopher Wakling. In it, he asks the question few parents can’t have at least considered at some time or another: is it ever right to smack a child? His answer?
They put the question well.
The opening sees him run away from his father and into a busy road. When Billy’s dad catches up with him he
smacks him. Hard. In public.
A passer by intervenes; soon the social services are involved.
children. It happened to me, I’m told,
though I don’t really recall it. But I
do remember ‘a smack’ being there as the ultimate sanction, the nuclear bomb.
obvious. Violence against children? Or the threat of violence. Just plain wrong.
T-Rex at the National History Museum.
The same son, in a rage, kicked my pregnant wife in the stomach. I found I’d shifted camp. I smacked him, and hated myself for it.
Hell, I’d ‘restrained’ him before then.
I’d shut him in his room; I’d sat him down hard on the pointless
‘naughty step’. Perhaps more damagingly,
I’d shouted at him, bringing down thirty-five years of invective on his
understood. Don’t do that ever again.
a loving father. My children are the
heart of my world. To see my son flinch
from me after I smacked him made me feel physically sick.
there would have been no point in writing the novel. WHAT I DID is about much more than smacking:
it’s about fatherhood, the boundary between the state and the family, and being
six. But corporal punishment of children
lies at the book’s heart, and since writing it I’ve learned that most people
have a strong opinion on the subject.
WHAT I DID was published by John Murray yesterday and is available to buy on Amazon.