Close Close
Mother and Baby

Giles Coren: 'I’d Never Say A Cross Word To My Child’

Even when she’s uses the walls as a canvas for colouring, home is no place for raised voices or physical discipline, says Giles

For me, it always went without saying that I would never smack my children. I was smacked as a child, and it’s the thing I most remember about being little. My childhood was otherwise happy, comfortable and full of love. But mostly I remember the smacking.

I don’t think that’s me being unfair on my parents. After all, if you went out and had a great night in the pub, ate a great meal, saw a great movie, kissed a beautiful boy or girl, then got beaten up on the way home, what would you remember most about that night? Exactly.

Smacking is wrong

Violence and happiness can co-exist, but they shouldn’t have to. It staggers me that there is still even a debate on the subject. If I had legislative power, I would impose a course of psychiatric treatment on a hitting parent at the first offence, then imprison them for a second. For a third? I’d cut his balls off.

Yes, his. It is not my business to think about what mothers should do, just fathers. An angry man hitting a defenceless child is the scariest, most evil thing on earth. It brings terror into a home, which should always be a place of refuge.

For a dad's third offence? I’d cut his balls off

Few mothers can ever be scary enough to turn a home into a place where the fear of violence is paramount. And women have their own issues to deal with. If a mother must smack, let her smack. But never a father. A father should never even raise his voice. Too many of the most terrible things in the history of the world started with men shouting for it to be acceptable in a family home.

Patience is key

This is easy to do. You just have to not get angry. Ever. Real paternal love should make that impossible. My daughter is three next month and I have never, ever said a cross word to her. And I never will. Nothing a child can do is that bad.

Sure, our walls are covered in multi-coloured graffiti up to three feet from the floor, but the rest of the wall is clean. Sure, she has smashed some things, but they have been replaced.

Sometimes she doesn’t want to leave the house in the morning but, hey, who does? Sometimes she doesn’t want to eat, so why make her? Sometimes she just shouts and screams, let her. She calms down in the end, so just be patient. What have you got to do that’s so important anyway?

People laugh at me and say, ‘You just wait till she’s older’. Well, I have no choice but to wait until she is older, and my son, too. That is my job as a father. To wait. And wait. And wait. And occasionally pay for things. But brutality no longer has any place in the job description.

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Chinese Gender predictor
Chinese Gender Predictor

Are you expecting a boy or a girl? Tell us the month you conceived and how old you are, and this clever little tool will predict the rest! 

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby
Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby

Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash

The Magic Sleepsuit
The secret to a quiet night’s sleep – The Magic Sleepsuit

If you’re little one is struggling to settle now they’ve outgrown the swaddling stage, this could be the answer to your sleep-deprived prayers!

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe button May
Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week. 

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?