In the 1940's if a child started belting into other children he was smacked severely. This curbed his behaviour. Order was maintained in class rooms with straps or sticks where considered necessary. Children went to school with a large degree of safety (which was particularly relevant to boys). This continued through the 50's and 60's. However in the 70's Dr. Spock (a Psychiatrist) wrote a book "informing"(?) everyone that smacking is actually harmful to raising children: That it teaches violence.
Interestingly the people who accepted this idea were people who had (of course) been smacked themselves, and yet felt such pacifism (though often it was just laziness) that the idea appealed to them. Yes, this was the 70's: The decade where all these smacked children protested against war and many were more prepared to go to goal than war. In the late 60's and 70's so many strived to promote peace, with people using the two fingers in a peace symbol. It was a time when people were saying that criminals shouldn't be executed, and that serious effort should be put into reforming them. The time when people began to talk of saving trees and animals. So Dr. Spock's book was welcomed with open arms.
So where were all these violent people produced by this smacking? There were violent people; as there always is. Yet strong ideas of pacifism came forward.
Today, we live in a generation where a large proportion are unsmacked children. Have we seen a decrease in violence; as Dr. Spock promised? If a child belts another child today he is sent to a psychiatrist who declares he has ADHD (or some such thing) and drugs are prescribed to sedate his behaviour. Isn't it great that we have learnt how to solve violent children problems without smacking? We don't need to give them a smack, we can just give them smack (ie. drugs)!
I came across a person in goal for bank robbery in counselling. He had been "analysed" as having ADHD and given drugs when young. He got used to the drugs and increased his dosage. It became so bad that he eventually took to bank robbing to support his habit.
The question that arises is just how accurate is this whole child syndrome concept? Was his problem really ADHD or was it just NDS (No Discipline Syndrome)? Would a smack (or even some other form of discipline) have saved him from becoming a drug using bank robber? I believe the answer is, "Yes."
This is not to claim that all people who rob banks have never been smacked, of course. But I believe that in many instances these syndromes are utter nonsense. When young (and since) I watched children behave exactly the same, who got smacks and ceased such behaviour. How did these kids get by without drugs and being "diagnosed". They managed to control themselves without any psychiatrists.
I'm not against the concept of having good psychiatry or psychology. But, as with medical practice, if an method doesn't produce the proposed cure it is time to discard it.