What do you think is a fair way to punish people when they’ve done something wrong?

Katie: That’s a very broad question. It kind of depends on what the person’s done. Different cases don’t all deserve equal punishment.

How can we decide what’s a fair punishment?

Seth: You first have to give them a trial and then you put them in prison and if they’ve done something like killing people, you give them more time than if they’ve done something that’s not as bad as killing.

How about smacking? Is smacking children good or bad?

Caleb: It depends, because if you smacked a child that wasn’t yours, it could genuinely be classed as child abuse. But then, if it was your child, it could be a bit of both. If it wasn’t as hard a smack it would sort of be OK, but if it was a full-on smack then it could also be classed as child abuse.

Katie: If a child hit another child I don’t think it’s much of a thing. But if a parent hit a child, you’d have to take into account the circumstances. Like, was the child doing something wrong or was it just malicious to hurt the child?

Nmeso: I think it depends on the culture, because sometimes smacking children is seen as the wrong thing to do, and sometimes it’s seen as the right thing to do.

Joshua: It depends what you hit them with. Hands are OK, but if it’s harder, like a belt or something like that then it’s not.

Eno: I believe smacking is a way that some parents like to discipline their children, but it depends on how extreme it goes. If it’s smacking where you’re trying to physically hurt your child, then that shouldn’t be allowed. I think smacking depends; in some way it can stop the child from behaving bad, but sometimes it can’t, it just won’t work.

What is smacking for?

Joshua: Discipline.

Ayuk: Yeah, it’s like a threat.

Ciaran: If you smack a kid not hard the first time, then it could sort of be a warning that you could do it harder. And then it might get to a stage where it’s so hard and then the kid could tell someone and then the person could tell the police and they could go to prison.

Katie: I think there are better ways of disciplining your child than hitting them hard. Like, I understand if it’s not malicious, just like a tap or something as a warning, but I think teaching a child that it’s OK to hit someone and in future they’ll think it’s OK to hit someone…there could be better ways of disciplining.

Lewis: Instead of smacking them, you could just take away something that they like.

Seth: I think it’s OK if your parents or another child smacks if you do something wrong, but not OK if it’s a stranger.

Nche: It depends on the child as well, because some kids have thick skin and if they get hit they think: “OK, I know not to do that again”. But then some kids in their head if you hit them think: “Oh, that’s my mum or my dad and they’re supposed to be caring for me”. And I think that some kids are more emotional, so not all kinds of discipline work for every single child.

Nmeso: I think if a parent was to smack their child, I think the kind of discipline is so that the child would feel the pain and then they’d realise not to do it again, because why would they keep suffering to do something wrong?

Katie: It’s teaching a child that it’s OK to hit, not that something is wrong, because at a younger age you observe what people are doing and so if someone as close to you as a parent, or another family member, or a close friend, shows that it’s OK to hit someone if they do something wrong to you, then in future they’re going to believe that it’s OK to hit someone if they’re doing something wrong to you. If everyone did that then it would just be a mess.

Caleb: I understand that some people do that quite often and some people don’t, it depends how they want to discipline their child, so I don’t think everyone would do it, because people believe different things about punishments.