Grayling: Smacking ‘sends a message’

By staff

Justice secretary Chris Grayling has admitted smacking his children as part of his disciplinarian 'regime' at home.

The man charged with overseeing England and Wales' justice system revealed he did not hold with those who believe any kind of physical violence against children is wrong in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

"You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me," he told the newspaper.

"I'm not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally.

"Sometimes it sends a message – but I don't hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school."

Grayling's two children are now 20 and 16.

His approach clashes with that recommended by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which suggests 'positive parenting techniques' like "showing love and affection for your child" and "teaching your child by setting a good example yourself" are better approaches.

It urges parents to avoid "harsh punishments like smacking and excessive shouting", arguing it can encourage children to lie, make defiant behaviour worse and "lead to an angry and resentful child".

"Most parents behave in ways they later regret – be it excessive shouting or smacking," the charity's website notes.

"If it happens, say you're sorry, make up and try again. This teaches your child a valuable lesson."

Grayling used the interview to outline a number of ways he proposes to make life behind bars harder. TV channels like Sky Sports will be banned, more prisoners will have to wear grey clothes instead of their own and pocket money will be restricted.