BEFORE I had children, I didn’t really see the problem in smacking.

I was smacked by my parents, albeit only when I’d seriously crossed the line - like when I painted my face and the new living room furniture with my mother’s green eyeshadow, or that day when me, Helen, Collette, Douglas and Bouncer the dog strayed so far from home on a Famous Five-style ‘adventure’ that all the parents in our street, frantic with worry, had to form a search party to find us.

My little brother was smacked, my friends were too – it was just an accepted, if unpleasant, part of childhood.

But when my son was born, everything changed. The thought of hitting my child made my blood run cold.

Even during the toddler-tantrum moments and furious stand-offs, or when, exhausted and exasperated, I just wanted him to eat the thing or not touch the thing or, for the love of God, to GO TO SLEEP - not ever could I have smacked him.

It felt like it a betrayal, almost, a withdrawal of love that neither of us would be able to bear. Without ever really discussing it, I knew my husband - also the recipient of a good few stinging smacks in his time - felt exactly the same. To the ‘it-never-did-me-any-harm’ brigade, perhaps that makes us sound weak. I know the grandparents thought so. But we felt deeply uncomfortable about teaching our children discipline through violence.

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The to-smack-or-not-to-smack debate is once more in the news, following the Scottish Government’s decision to make it a criminal offence for parents to hit their children. The change in the law, which gives children the same protection from assault as adults, has split opinion.

Many people are annoyed, suggesting the changes risk producing a generation of criminals who don’t respect anyone. I think it’s the other way round. NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless told the Daily Telegraph: “There is growing evidence that physical punishment increases aggression, anti-social behaviour and depression and anxiety in children, which may continue into their adult lives.”

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Also, Scotland is hardly blazing a trail here – it might be the first country in the UK to ban smacking, but it is only just catching up with the rest of the world. Another 57 already ban smacking, including Sweden which was the first in 1979. This is long overdue.

Parenting is hard, we all know that, but there is a lot of support out there, from the NSPCC and others.

Discipline should be part of family life - violence should not.