I was never smacked as a child, nor did we use smacking as a disciplining tool on our daughter when she grew up. It was more a "we feel it's just not the right way to do things" decision than anything else.
By the way, in the Netherlands, corporal punishment has been illegal since 2007. For us, it was (and still is) baffling to hear that many Australians hold radically different opinions to ours, even to this day.
Given my own -strong- opinion, I found it interesting to read the latest research that suggests that smacking/corporal punishment can later on actually lead to anxiety, depression, behavioural problems and other mental health issues in the child, because of changes in the brain. This is something I always wondered about.
--------------------- "Children who had been smacked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), including in regions that are part of what's known as the 'salience network' (SN).
These regions respond to cues in the environment that tend to be consequential, such as a threat, and may affect decision-making and processing of situations. ... The new research from the Harvard team builds on existing studies that show heightened activity in certain regions of the brains of children who experience abuse in response to threat cues.
'We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behaviour problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence,' said study author Katie A. McLaughlin at Harvard's Department of Psychology.
Reading an article by Steven Hayes, I was reminded how so many people want to be "normal". But what IS normal? Generally, it is defined as the "average"; the "usual"; the "typical".
It turns out that hardly anyone ever fits the description of "normal" or "average". Put simply: we pretty much collectively are anything BUT normal or average, and ideally don't try to be.
In counselling and mental health it is the same: if we define mental health as an average of sorts, we make a big mistake. If we define mental ill-health, or mental illness, as an average of sorts, we make a big mistake.
The preferred way in counselling is to leave "normal" and "usual" out of the equation, and only look at what YOUR life trajectory is, and what YOU would like to get out of it, and where things ARE and ARE NOT working for YOU.
That way, we can together find a way that suits you, rather than a way that has been described as the "norm", but that hardly fits anyone, ever; most likely definitely not you.