It's generally considered unreasonable if you use an implement (i.e. a slipper or a belt), or if you leave a mark. I suspect if the judge is an old school father, the blurry line of reasonable would be drawn in a different place than if the judge is a childless idealist.
My personal view is that you've got to draw a clear line, over which the child shall not step. If you have threatened a smack, you're obliged to follow it through.
I'm inclined to take my clues from the animal kingdom - mammals often express what our inherent natures would be like without social pressures. Tigers clout their cubs if they're too boistorous; I've seen a gibbon giving an unruly adolescent a clip round the ear for smacking a baby gibbon.
I have smacked my children. I have smacked them harder when play fighting, but the emotional pain of dad deliberately hurting them stings much more.
I don't do it any more because it hasn't worked, and a smack that hasn't been effective is often followed by a harder smack, and that's on a hiding to nothing. The other problem is what happens when they fight back?
Posted on 2015-01-15 12:57:41