Parenting ‘Expert’ Compares Spanking to Breastfeeding Because It’s a ‘Tactile Relationship’

There are few parenting debates as fraught and contentious as spanking. Even breastfeeding vs. formula feeding and vaccination vs. anti-vax have a hard time comparing with the passionate emotions behind spanking vs. non-spanking. On the one hand, there’s a lot of research showing that spanking doesn’t actually get results and is harmful to kids’ development. On the other hand, a parenting ‘expert’ in the U.K. says spanking is just like hugging or breastfeeding, because it’s part of the “tactile relationship” a parent has with a child.

That’s a pretty big reach. Breastfeeding and spanking both involve touching, but that doesn’t make them similar. Giving someone a pie isn’t the same thing as smashing a pie in someone’s face, even though both scenarios involve pie.

She says breastfeeding and hitting are part of the “tactile relationship” between a parent and child.

According to Cafe Mom, mother and Campaign for Real Education advocate Katie Ivens appeared on Good Morning Britain to argue in favor of spanking children.

The Campaign for Real Education describes itself as an “apolitical” group, but others describe it as a right-wing activist organization. Its goals include being a watchdog for mismanagement of educational funds and advocating for increased parental choice in education. It reportedly opposes teaching anti-racism or anti-sexism in schools and self-directed learning programs.

Ivens went on the show to advocate for parents being allowed to hit their children. One of the hosts asked if she thought spanking should be the “ultimate punishment” as a last resort, or a regular punishment tool in a parent’s disciplinary arsenal. Ivens responded by saying she thought spanking, like breastfeeding or hugging, was part of the “tactile relationships” we have with our children.

“I’m saying we have tactile relationships with our children,” she said. “We hug them, we kiss them, we breastfeed them, and so on.”


That’s a pretty out-there equivalence to try to draw.

Ivens argues that she thinks hitting her kids works, and that sometimes a parent has to be able to spank.

Ultimately, all parents are going to decide where they come down on the side of hitting children. But a hit is not a kiss, and it’s not breastfeeding. That’s complete nonsense.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / oksun70)

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