POLL: Do you ever think its right to smack a child? Fierce GMB debate erupts

GMB: Susanna Reid clashes with guest over child smacking

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Susanna Reid clashed with Sociology and Criminology lecturer Stuart Waiton on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain as the ITV show debated a ban on parents smacking their children. The GMB host compared domestic abuse to children being smacked while Stuart justified hitting his children “occasionally”.

What do you think of the ban? Vote in our poll below and leave your comments below this article. 

During the debate, Susanna asked the lecturer: “If it is a crime to hit your husband, your wife or your partner, how is it ever justified to hit your child?”

Stuart replied: “I think that is a very curious argument that you think about children and adults in the same way.

“So I smack my children occasionally, whereas if you saw me smacking my four-year-old child because he had run across a busy road and then you saw me beating up my wife and you thought they were the same thing, I would think there is something wrong with you, I think there is something profound…”

Read more: Susanna Reid shut down in ‘child smacking’ debate

Interrupting, Susanna hit back: “I think smacking either your wife or your child I would think there is something wrong!”

The lecturer fumed: “Well, if you can’t make a distinction between a loving parent that is trying to discipline their children and a brute who is beating up his wife, then I think the problem is yours.”

From next month it will be illegal to smack your child in Wales with parents potentially ending up with a criminal record if they are reported to the police. 

Scotland introduced a similar ban back in 2019 but it remains legal to smack your child as a form of “reasonable punishment” in England, Wales and Northern Wales.

Susanna’s co-host Richard Madeley admitted he was unsure how he felt about the ban. 

He shared: “I have a couple of mixed feelings about this, when I was a little boy, I was hit quite a lot by my dad, who I love very much and was a great father.

“It was typical of the day, we are talking about the 60s, reflecting on it now if it had been outlawed then I wouldn’t have been hit.”

Esther Rantzen’s daughter journalist Rebecca Wilcox also shared her views on the debate agreeing with Susanna. 

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She argued that “smacking has a negative impact on mental health” and a ban would help to “educate” parents.

Rebecca said: “It is not that long ago that we criminalised domestic violence in the 70s, there was that awful phrase of ‘Rule of thumb’, and that was how long the stick could be for men to hit their wives.

“It feels like we are evolving out of violence, we need to evolve out of violence, we should not be smacking, that is not discipline, that is teaching, it is not punishment.”

GMB fans were divided by the debate as viewer @RobGlen tweeted: “You don’t love your child if you smack them. You love your child if you don’t smack them, even though you really want to sometimes #GMB.”

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@shelly_187 agreed: “#gmb why would you smack a child for running in the road! Surely better to explain to the child why they shouldn’t do it.”

However, @Stephke_C argued: “I’m sorry but there IS a difference between giving your kid a little smack on the bum and beating up your wife. #gmb.” (sic)

“@GMB I got smacked as a child and I now suffer this really bad psychological disorder called respect for others!!!!! A little smack and battering is a massive difference #GMB,” @OzzyEasybiker quipped. (sic)

Good Morning Britain airs on ITV on weekdays at 6am. 

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