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    So you want your child to be a rocket scientist or something?

    I am against any form of physical punishment for children – but especially for babies under 3. Actually I have found that if you have a good routine, a child friendly home and few but firm boundaries one seldom has to ‘punish’ a child. Perhaps stop some undesirable behaviour with distraction or when they are a little older a short simple explanation and a very, very occasional ‘please go to your room until you feel you can ...better.’ And then never for more than a few minutes with the under- fives!)

    But babies, smacking, pinching, biting,  shaking, grabbing – all are big no-no’s on my book...

    Shaking because it can cause brain damage and even death, grabbing because it can be very painful and bruises little arms as well as being very frightening. Biting – well if you do don’t be surprised if your child becomes the dreaded ‘pre-school biter’ ( dangerous too in these days of illnesses spread with blood) Pinching because it is a sly nasty sort of torture. And smacking – well it has been researched and proven that babies smacked under three years will display on average a lower IQ than those babies who were never smacked...

    I understand why completely. A baby does not understand ‘being naughty’ or ‘doing wrong’. Most of the time a baby does things to explore the environment not to annoy you or cause you or others pain. They have no concept of ‘making a mess’. So physical punishment has absolutely no meaning to them – other than the big person they love and depend on suddenly turning scary and hurting them. It makes for a scared child. Either a child who gets much more tentative about exploring or a child who becomes inured to physical hurt so that they ignore your ‘no’s’ – after all nothing seems to help the sudden painful actions from the big scary ones...For a baby a smack is an unwarranted and extremely unexpected attack.

    And truely parents smack mainly as a way to relieve their own feelings rather than to ‘do well’ by their child.

    A baby who is distracted from undesirable behaviour, who is given simple reasons, is prepared for the next part of your routine (It will be time to eat soon, were having yummy butternut mmm’) or changes in the routine or different situations, or just in a situation where what they do is almost never ‘wrong’ will be far more exploratory, creative and simply more interested in a calm, happy way in their world.

    We all learn better when we are calm, emotionally in balance and happy. And we all struggle to learn when we are afraid, nervous, worried, waiting for the next attack... so of course babies who are not smacked show higher IQ scores on average. Hardly rocket science but if you want your child to be a rocket scientist – or at least achieve the potential they were born with make up your mind not to hurt them to punish them...

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