For many readers, smacking will have been a normal and virtually harmless part of their childhood.
However the reality remains that, as society has progressed in recent decades, the practice has become much less prevalent as parents adopt more constructive routes to discipling their children.
The call by the UK’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza that a legal ban on the practice should be extended to the whole of the country beyond Wales and Scotland where it is currently imposed, has nonetheless divided opinion.
Dame de Souza is a highly credentialed commissioner who has spent a lifetime campaigning to protect children. She rightly asserts that the physical punishment of both adults and animals is already banned and argues that to treat those under 18 any differently is inequitable.
However many in politics, including the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi declare that it should remain for parents to decide how best to discipline, adding the state should avoid “nannying people about how they bring up their children”.
While it remains true that the state should refrain from interfering in individual family affairs, the fact remains that the majority of European nations have banned the practice. The ban also has considerable public support, with more than two thirds of adults in England considering it wrong for parents or carers to physically punish their child and with 58 per cent of parents and carers believing it to be already illegal.
While such numbers are encouraging in terms of the safeguarding of children, an outright ban would strengthen this and help inform both children and adults that violence is never acceptable.