A RECENT article on smacking children in the home brought a deluge of responses from readers of the Guardian.

Personally I think that part of our culture has gone forever whether it’s for the better probably depends on your experience.

I got whacked about four times in my illustrious childhood and have to admit I was really trying it on at the time.

Some kids I knew had a far tougher time at home while others sailed through their entire upbringing smack free.

How we all faired under these different regimes I’m not entirely sure other than we all got decent jobs and weren’t significantly scarred by our experiences (except for one kid whose love of fast cars led him to a magistrates’ court).

What I do know is that parents of that era wanted to be role models to their children rather than best friends.

No boy ever spent more time with his dad than I did.

We played football, cricket, table tennis and snooker together but he was never my best mate...he was my dad for which I am eternally grateful.

I knew where I stood with my father.

He had principles that he expected me to follow and respect for others was high on the list.

He didn’t avoid what needed to be said and told me directly if he believed I was at fault.

I recall scratching a neighbour’s car while racing on my bike and blaming it on some anonymous passer by.

My dad came out examined the car saw the scratches matched the paint on my bike and told me that it was most definitely my fault and that I would pay towards the repair from my after-school job.

It was a tough lesson to learn.

That’s sort of parenting appears to be far less prevalent today as parents strive to be ‘best friends’.

I’m sure my dad didn’t want to reprimand me but felt he wasn’t doing his duty if he didn’t. My father wanted me to accept responsibility for my actions.

In later life I was glad he did.

So, while I have mixed feelings about the whole smacking theory, I am very clear about the role model principle of parenting.

I’ve worked with people who haven’t learned to take responsibility for their own actions. They whinge and moan but learn nothing.

One such individual was caught driving under the influence of alcohol and blamed it on the police for ‘deliberately targeting his local’. It sounds like a mad excuse because it is but he just could not bring himself to say it was his own fault.

I never heard him accept blame for anything in the 10 years I knew him.

As responsible parents we have to do or say things we’d rather not but how else can our children be prepared for life?

Accepting when we are at fault is an important lesson to learn.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow