What would you do if a relative, neighbor, one of your friends, a teacher or anyone else slapped your child during a period when they were being terribly rude or unruly?
If this question didn’t get you thinking, perhaps the miniseries The Slap—which premiered last Thursday, February 12 on NBC—will. The show is based on the book by Christos Tsiolkas, and the Australian television series of the same name (currently available streaming on Netflix and Hulu).
The plot revolves around the uncovering of the many buried secrets of the key players, following an event where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child at a party. The child’s parents threaten legal action, and what ensues is quite interesting.
Most of us living in the Hamptons have probably been slapped at one time or another. This is especially true for those us over 40, because in previous generations, a good ol’ slap to any number of places on the body was an acceptable deterrent of unwanted behavior.
In my generation, any number of events could trigger a slap—a fight between two siblings, ignoring your parents’ warnings and continuing to smack your gum on a long road trip, back talk, et al.
Did this make our parents or others bad people? I’m not sure because it’s likely they were just imitating the way their parents corrected bad behavior.
Of course, in these more civilized times, if a teacher slaps a child anywhere, including on the derriere, they would be brought up on charges. Yet, I assure you that any retired East End teacher who was teaching in the 1960s or ‘70s will tell you they administered many a slap on this very same part of the body. Even (or especially) nuns have been known to take a ruler and slap a wrist or two with it.
A few area residents shared some pretty interesting comments after watching The Slap.
One lady, who is obviously in favor of physical discipline, said, “The little brat wouldn’t listen to anyone and is a troublemaker. He certainly is old enough to know how to treat others. He needed more than just a slap.”
On the opposite side, one local guy said, “The kid is too young to really understand the concept of physical punishment. Little boys who get slapped end up taking it out on their wives and own children later in life. Do we want a society of abusers?”
Since the airing of the show, I have made it a point to ask almost everyone I have come in contact with whether or not they can remember having been slapped as a child. 100 percent of them answered YES.
Many people brag that our area is occupied by a more progressive and enlightened group of people. Do you think a misbehaving child should be slapped?