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We are committed to making the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a reality for all children and young people in Wales.
Our Families First programme can provide your family with help, advice and support to prevent any issues or problems you may have from getting worse.
Flying Start is part of our early years programme for families with children under 4 years of age living in disadvantaged areas of Wales.

We want your views about parenting as we develop our proposals for legislation to remove the defence of reasonable punishment. Please take part in our short #TalkParenting survey to have your say!

On 27 June 2017, the First Minister confirmed his commitment to introduce legislation to remove the defence of reasonable punishment in Year 3 of the legislative programme. If passed by the National Assembly for Wales, it means that children in Wales will be protected under the law from physical punishment.

60 years ago, it was legal to:

  • travel in a car without a seat belt
  • physically punish children in schools
  • smoke in enclosed public places and in cars carrying children.
Times have changed. We all now understand these things are not acceptable in a healthy, prosperous and progressive society and laws have been passed to safeguard individuals, children and families. 

Despite evidence showing that physical punishment is not effective and is potentially harmful, it is still legal. The Welsh Government wants to remove this anomaly in the law and send the clearest message that physical punishment of children is not acceptable. 

Attitudes to parenting practices have also changed. While physically punishing children was accepted as normal practice in previous generations,  research shows parents today are increasingly using positive approaches which are proven to be more effective. 

Prohibiting the use of physical punishment of children will address an aspect of the law which is out of date and at odds with our modern and forward thinking society. 

Sitting alongside a wider package of measures, which includes our “Parenting. Give it Time” campaign and Flying Start and Families First programmes, a change in law will assist in enabling parents,  carers and guardians to raise happy, healthy and confident children in Wales.

We want to hear from you so please:

  • use #TalkParenting on social media to join in our online conversation.

Advice and support on positive parenting can be found on the Parenting.Give it Time website (external link). 

#TalkParenting General Attitudes of Parents towards Physical Punishment Should the law completely ban smacking? 2007 – 18% agreed 2013 – 28% agreed 2015 – 47% agreed Should the law allow parents to smack? 2007 – 59% agreed 2013 – 43% agreed 2015 – 32% agreed In 2015, 56% of parents agreed that it is always wrong to smack a child Current parents who reported they had smacked their children 2007 – 57% 2013 – 24% 2015 – 22% Are you comfortable with the idea of smacking and do it when you think is necessary? 2007 – 20% agreed 2013 – 16% agreed 2015 – 5% agreed Parental attitudes Parents were often frustrated when they used physical punishment and often felt guilty and regretful afterwards. Parents who smacked were more likely to be in a bad mood beforehand, and more likely to describe their responses as “automatic” and “spur of the moment”. A significant majority of parents reported feeling always or frequently out of control when they had used physical punishment with their children. Top five methods which parents report using to manage or improve children’s behaviour: 2007 Praising good behaviour Reasoning with them Stopping them doing something they like Rewarding good behaviour Sending them to their room DCSF. 2007. A Study Into the Views of Parents on the Physical Punishment of Children. 2013 Praising good behaviour Say no Stopping them doing something they like Reasoning with them Setting clear boundaries Welsh Government. 2014. Managing Children’s Behaviour, Attitudes and Practices. 2015 Praising good behaviour Say no Developing routines Telling them off Using my own behaviour to set a good example Welsh Government. 2016. The Attitudes of Parents Towards Managing Young Children’s Behaviour.