A single mom of four shares her learning curve following Concourt 'no smacking' ruling

It enhanced my relationship with my kids and my relationships in general.
It enhanced my relationship with my kids and my relationships in general.

Yesterday the Constitutional Court ruled that physical punishment of a child by a parent is still officially illegal. 

The ruling was made two years ago, but an appeal by Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) was made in 2018. 

Read the full story here: Smacking kids is still illegal.

The latest judgment upholds the 2017 South Gauteng High Court decision deeming "reasonable and moderate chastisement" - the legal defence for physical punishment of a child by a parent - as unconstitutional.

"It suffices to say that any form of violence, including reasonable and moderate chastisement, has always constituted a criminal act known as assault … Identical conduct by a person other than a parent on the same child would otherwise constitute indefensible assault," the Constitutional Court found. 

The judgment has been met with both approval and uproar, one that will no doubt continue to be debated in both public and private spheres. 

For this Parent24 reader, the judgement is a sound and necessary one, and here she shares how she came to learn about disciplining a child in a non-violent manner.

Her letter follows: 

"I'm a single mom of four kids. Divorced now for 4 years. I am 150% against hitting children and using corporal punishment as a form of discipline. My ex-husband, however, has different views on this.

I have seen the negative effects corporal punishment has on kids: a certain unexplained anger they carry around in them. In the long run, I can understand that this would lead to violent behaviours in kids as they grow older.

Over the past year and a half my ex-husband and I have been attending children's court; fighting over primary residence of our four kids. During this time, both of us were ordered to attend parenting classes over a period of 8 weeks. 

It teaches you how to discipline your children in a non-violent manner, using tools like conflict resolutions, helping skills, and how to build relationships with your kids. It enhanced my relationship with my kids and my relationships in general.

All in attendance were there by court order, but we had a great time. We learned, and we all grew so much. 

As much as we all reluctantly started the course, thinking there is nothing wrong with us, we ended up benefiting greatly. It is a blessing to have children and a great opportunity to raise children into good adults. As parents we should maximise on this opportunity to create a better world.

I would definitely recommend a course to every parent who wants a good relationship with their kids and who also in return contributes positively to non-violent behaviors in our children creating respectable adults. Less violence, less crime, less criminals. 

NO to corporal punishment." 

- Single mom of four

For advice on how to parent your child better, here are some options: 

Father A Nation 

A non-profit addressing gender-based violence, crime and fatherlessness by restoring and equipping men to be nation-builders, fathers and role models.

Coach Parents 

Providing parents with practical ideas on solving specific child related challenges.


For support in finding your way to cultivating the quality of connections you want in your life.

Parent & Educational Training

Offering communication skills training to parents, teachers, youth, and individuals seeking better relationships with their children, partners, friends, or colleagues.

The Parent Centre 

Strives to contribute to a society in which every parent or caregiver is able to raise resilient and well-balanced children.

Munchkins Parent Coaching 

For creative ideas for discipline and help to eliminate shouting and guilt-based parenting. 

Chat back:

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