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Is There a Link Between Smacking and Domestic Violence?

8th of November 2018 | Author: Naomi Holtring

With record numbers of women tragically being killed by their partners and far more bashed and beaten, we need to stop and think, why is this happening? Does it go back to their childhood?

Yesterday I heard a woman yelling aggressively at her 4 year old son. “Get here now or else!” She held up her hand as a warning that she was going to smack him if he didn’t do exactly what she demanded, immediately! Here the strongest person has the power. Parental anger equals warning and fear of being hit.

Some parents yell and smack their children when they are angry or frustrated with them. You may hear them say “My parents smacked me, and I learned to do as I was told. It didn’t do me any harm. I learned respect.”

So, project that scenario to a grown man raising his voice to his partner, threatening in a way that is exactly what he learned from his parents. “Do what I say or else!” He may hold up his hand as if to threaten or warn. He may even follow through with violence, if she has not behaved in the way he demands. Sometimes these men will say, “You only have to hit them once, and they will always do as they are told.”

The woman too, may have learned from her parents’ violence towards her, the stronger one is danger to be feared. She may even believe she deserves it.

Whilst not all children who are smacked grow to become violent towards their families, we are role models to our children. They learn from us very early, how to behave. If they are threatened, they learn to threaten. If they are physically punished they learn to lash out violently .

They may become bullies at school, at work and in the home.

Although most men would never be violent towards their spouse, we hear about an epidemic of violence against women, and I wonder what those men’s childhoods were like. I see women who are beaten by their partners. Were they threatened and physically punished by their parents?

Treat your children with patience, love and care, and they will treat others with patience, love and care. If children are treated kindly and forgiven for minor wrongs, they learn honesty, kindness and forgiveness. Listen with empathy, and they will hear you. Work through difficulties together and teach them cooperation, teamwork and peaceful ways to effectively resolve their conflicts.

Parents who find it difficult to get their children to behave without smacking them, even when they have tried without achieving the results they want, could take a parenting course. It could do the whole family a great deal of good, for generations to come.

Naomi Holtring MDR

Managing Director,

InterMEDIATE Dispute Management


Little girl crying while parents quarrel. Closing the ears, 5-10 years old, vintage tone.

End note: We are aware that however small the numbers may be, that men are sometimes who are the victims of family violence by their partners. The same message about violence towards others, applies.

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