Friday, 7 October 2011

the slap

  • Ever had a kid sitting behind you kicking the back of your seat on a plane?
  • Ever had to side-step a tantrum in the supermarket?
  • Or had trouble hearing a conversation in a cafe due to the screams coming from the next table?

Last night we watched the first episode of The Slap – a tv series on the ABC based on the novel by Christis Tsiolkas.  A young kid – maybe 4ish – was wildly swinging a cricket bat in a vicious manner which, if it connected, could cause serious harm to another person.

As the parents were not responsive to the immediate danger of the situation, another adult nearby intervened.  The adult grabbed the bat and shook the kid giving him a good talking to.  The kid reacted by viciously kicking the adult in the shins.  The adult slapped the kid back – hard.  

And then all hell broke loose.

So the next 7 episodes of The Slap will be exploring the various attitudes and perspectives to this unfortunate event.

But last night…
  • The slapped kid’s father is pressing charges against the slapper
  • The slapped kid’s mother is angry at the owners of the house, even though the owners didn’t do the slapping
  • The kid who got slapped is hugged and soothed by his mum
  • The guy whose house it happened in was glad the slap happened because it woke him up to the dangers of the near-affair he was just about to have with a younger woman
  • Another adult was horrified someone hit a child
  • Another adult felt the kid deserved all he got

There’s no denying it was an impossible situation.  So.  If you had been there and witnessed the slap, what would your reaction have been?  Would you:
  1. Have been the person to jump in an intervene, but without slapping?
  2. Have been an observer but secretly glad someone else did the slapping?
  3. Thought the adult who slapped the kid was totally out of line?
  4. Other (please explain)

What’s your response to the slap?


  1. Slap him into the middle of next week, little unsupervised arse hole.

    Oh and then slap the father.

  2. Great comment, Anonymous! And clearly from a person with strong principles and boundaries!

  3. A few things aren't clear:
    Did the child & other adult know one another?
    What did adult actually say to the child?
    Did the child have some sort of issue such as autism or ADHD?
    As it stands, yes, adult intervention was required but clearly the other adult has just as much trouble controlling themselves as the child and in no position to presume that they can guide this or any other child in a responsible manner

  4. Hi Anonymous2. Thanks for your comment. I don't know the answer to your questions - whether the adult knew the child or not. They were at the same BBQ so had common friends. So chances are, they did know each other. I can't remember what the adult said. It was a very tense moment and the adult who did intervene just reacted quickly before anybody got hit with the bat.

  5. Kind of makes me wonder why the kids parents didn't slap him? Probably if that kid had some kind of "home training" as they say in my hood, that whole situation wouldn't have happened. I would have slapped him too. I don't get physically assaulted by a little kid and let it go. I would have slapped the hell out of him and then told his parents what happened and why. Kids like that grow up to be hoodlums and criminals. He's got to learn at some point, right?

  6. Great to hear from you Classic NYer. And I enjoyed your comment here. There is certainly a question about the type of parenting applied to the kid with the bat. The fact that the kid was even in such a position while his parents seemed absent, forcing other adults to intervene.... you have to wonder what kind of behaviour WOULD actually get them to respond urgently, don't you!