Smacking: Is it child discipline or a child protection issue?

Elsa Reid, Carmel Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Smacking is a contentious issue that often provokes a debate between children's and parents' rights. However, smacking is rarely seen from the legal or health promotion perspective within the nursing literature. This paper looks at smacking as physical discipline from a legal rather than a rights perspective. The discussion highlights an association between smacking and child abuse. Further, by distinguishing between discipline and corporal punishment, the aims of discipline and some of the effects of using corporal punishment on children are reviewed. The current Australian position on smacking within a health promotion framework is explored and specific examples are cited. In conclusion, the role of health promotion, particularlyas used by child health nurses, in altering the transgenerational tendency to use smacking as a form of discipline is discussed and supported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalCommunities, Children and Families Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Smacking: Is it child discipline or a child protection issue?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this