The charity 4Children has hit out at David Lammy MP's remarks on smacking, saying that they miss the point.

David Lammy, an MP in Tottenham, which was at the centre of last year's riots, told LBC that "Many of my constituents came up to me after the riots and blamed the Labour government, saying: 'You guys stopped us being able to smack our children'."

"I have to say when this was first raised with me I was pretty disparaging. But I started to listen. These parents are scared to smack their children and paranoid that social workers will get involved and take their children away."

He has now called for the law on smacking to be changed, and that parents should have more powers to discipline their children.

However, 4Children's chief executive, Anne Longfield said a positive framework should be put in place around discipline. She said:

"By focusing his arguments on smacking children, David Lammy is missing the point.  The real issue here is the parenting of teenagers and the help that parents need to set boundaries and to put a positive discipline framework in place.

There is a growing recognition that families need parenting support when their children are very young. But we must not forget that the parents of teenagers also need help - for example when their children go to secondary school.

"There are often occasions when families get to the point where they lose control and may never regain it - especially those families who have already reached crisis point, or are dealing with a host of complex problems. It is important to remember at these times of particular stress that smacking is never part of the answer - on the contrary, it is part of the problem." 

Posted by Robert Mair on 31/1/2012