Is it ever acceptable to beat your child?

Child abuse or positive disciplining? Parental (or should that be boxing) skills on display

Welcome to the first in our brand new series of weekly short blog debates that focus on a topical issue of the week. It would take something spectacular to shift the British General Election 2015 of the front pages and that something spectacular occurred this week in Baltimore with the riots and in particular one protective mother’s intervention.

There has been countless passionate discussion on social media this week about the rights and wrongs of physically disciplining children after a video of Baltimore mother, Ms Toya Graham, beating her son, Michael Singleton, went viral.


This a result of her dragging him away from the Baltimore riots. Some say she had every right to give him ‘licks upside the head.’ She had told Michael not to go there and he blatantly disobeyed her. Many mothers have applauded Ms Graham’s intervention, stating unequivocally that they would have done exactly the same, reasoning that in the spirit of maternal love and to protect her child from a worse fate if the Police should have arrested him, or worse, taken pot shots at him with their guns, that Ms Graham had no other choice than to physically chastise and discipline her son right there and then.

Others, concerned more with civil liberties felt her “attack” was an example of physical child abuse gone too far and played out for all to see. They would argue she could have removed him from the situation more diplomatically and caringly, with less physical force – she clearly slaps him hard, three times, full on the face at the start of the “disciplining/assault” depending on your take.

Would that have stopped her boy doing so again and got the message across that he was not to get involved with or even go anywhere near the riots? Does this speak to the woman’s perceived lack of parenting skills in any way?

What is your take on this story?


  1. America’s favourite mom: Furious mother smacks rioting son upside the head – Daily Mail  – 28.04.15
  2. Gifted at Primary, Failing by Secondary – Book review – 22.03.15
  3. What is wrong with disciplining children? – Battle of Ideas 2014 debate – 18.10.14
  4. Should couples require a license to raise children? – Battle of Ideas 2012 debate review – 20.10.12
  5. Should couples need a license to have a baby? Virgin News Media 30.10.73
  6. Should children be heard as well as seen? Battle of Ideas 2012 debate – 20.10.12
  7. One year on, what on earth did the riots change? Battle of Ideas 2012 debate -20.10.12
  8. After the Riots – 10 Steps to Repairing Broken Britain – Tiemo article 24.08.11
  9. Tiemo Entertainments Funny Ha Ha on-line amazon store
This entry was posted in Debates, Legal, Men and Relationships, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is it ever acceptable to beat your child?

  1. Jenn Lewis says:

    The passion expressed by this mother was probably not motivated by the express desire to ‘abuse’ her son, nor to make an international show of herself and him by drawing the world’s attention and opinions. I suspect that as in almost every case of a similar act, her reaction was born out of fear, shock and concern, which although not making it right, given the circumstances was certainly understandable – even for those of us viewing from the safety and comfort of our armchairs, secure in the knowledge of our children’s whereabouts and safety.

    Who of us given the same circumstances would react any differently? And anyway, who are we to judge?

    Jenn Lewis
    Parenting Practitioner

  2. Tiemo Talk says:

    Hello Jen. Thanks for your comment. You may well be right, but one can’t say that would be every parent’s automatic parental instinct and response, but I imagine it would be a good many’s people’s response.

    Interestingly I came across this quote from Proverbs 23:13 recently which actually says that parent’s have the right, on no less an authority than the almighty God, to beat their children IF they deserve correction and discipline.

    13 – “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

    14 – Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s