Get a mop and wipe it up!


Anti-Smacking Referendum: What's the Real Issue?

, posted: 24-Aug-2008 20:48

I commented on a thread on Poneke's blog. Since a later comment than mine is already showing up, it is starting to make me wonder whether my contribution (my second on that thread) is going to show at all. So, it appears here...

The problem is that there are two issues here that are being mischieviously confused by Sue Bradford, purely to achieve a political objective.

The first issue is the gross child abuse, including murder, that happens all too often in NZ. That is child bashing, and we all condemn it.

The second issue is loving parental correction of children. This occurs in the context of families where parents want to bring up their children to know right and wrong, what's safe and what's not...

The big lie that NZ has been sold is that the Anti-Smacking Bill is aimed at addressing the first issue. That this is patently false is clear to the vast majority of voters. (It is evident from the unchanged infant murder statistics since the Bill was passed.)

The real objective of Sue Bradford's Bill is to undermine parental authority, and increase State power in the raising of children.

The problem therefore is not smacking of children. The problem is unwarranted State interference in the lives of law-abiding citizens.

Incidentally, if Parliament were serious about addressing the real issues, it would have voted for Chester Borrows amendment.


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Comment by sleemanj, on 25-Aug-2008 00:44

What a load of old cobblers. 

The fact of the matter is that you do not need to hit children in order to raise them to know right from wrong, good from bad, or any other such diametrically opposed ideals. 

It simply is not necessary there are plenty of more effective and less damaging ways.

The repeal of the section removed that particular notion as a defense should one need to be brought to justice.

"I'm hitting you because I love you."  Forgive me if I don't see the wisdom in that statement.


Comment by lotech, on 25-Aug-2008 07:20

No I think you've got it all wrong. Since the law has passed have we heard of a single major case of a parent like yourself.
Do you really think you would end up in the dock of the court, with a jury of your peers for smacking a child for being naughty? Seriously? The court system is already over stretched.

The problem was until this law passed there were numerous cases of parents who had beaten their kids all the way to hospital. Upon being prosecuted, they would get to court and promptly get out on a technicality. Pretty Simple. Bad People were getting away with near murder.

No ones telling you to how to raise your kids, just that there is some levels of collective responsibily on how we treat each other - its called being civilised.


Comment by Bung, on 25-Aug-2008 08:04

There should be a register kept of everyone that parrots "loving parental correction of children", they need watching.


Comment by freitasm, on 25-Aug-2008 10:52

Excuse me the question, but since this was passed we've heard of some cases of kids dying in hospitals. I just don't remember any action against those parents though.

So far it seems the case of too much noise and nothing happened - not even the really bad parents have been caught. But they are still out there.



Comment by Turt, on 25-Aug-2008 12:00

Lotech said:

"Since the law has passed have we heard of a single major case of a parent like yourself."



Sorry but there are plenty. You just don't hear about them. The media does not write up about them.



http://familyintegrity.org.nz/2008/anti-smacking-law-wasting-cyf-time-%E2%80%93-missing-real-abuse/



and



http://familyintegrity.org.nz/category/normal-families-policecyfs-since-section-59-amended/


Comment by Turt, on 25-Aug-2008 12:07

and look at this page:



http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/cases.html


Comment by Turt, on 25-Aug-2008 13:03

Lotech again:

"The problem was until this law passed there were numerous cases of parents who had beaten their kids all the way to hospital. Upon being prosecuted, they would get to court and promptly get out on a technicality. Pretty Simple. Bad People were getting away with near murder."



And who got off using Section 59 "who had beaten their kids all the way to hospital" NO-ONE



I bet you can't name any.


Comment by barf, on 25-Aug-2008 14:27

what a lot of misguided energy.
perhaps you should read legislation before opposing it?


Comment by Robocopper, on 25-Aug-2008 14:51

"I'm hitting you because I love you."  Forgive me if I don't see the wisdom in that statement.

Oh, please. Do you ACTUALLY HAVE kids? If so, are they brats? Do you have any idea at all about what it means to lovingly correct a child using a smack?

Thought not.


Comment by rphenix, on 25-Aug-2008 17:50

The only person that ever got expelled from our school while I was growing up was the kid whos parents didn't believe in smacking (he was quite happy to hit other kids with softball bats, hockey sticks etc..).

I dare say a few smacks would have done him some good.

I didnt get hit often by my parents it was always for "serious" things and never would I consider what they did abuse.

It distills a certain respect for your parents that I see lacking with some children for the mother/father.


Author's note by dmw, on 25-Aug-2008 19:25

It still comes back to my original remarks -- the parents who are smacking their children for purposes of correction, without losing their temper, are not the ones killing their kids.

Research in NZ has shown that such kids turn out as good or better than ones who are not smacked at all. So this is not the problem.

The problem is that good parents (people who pay their taxes, register their car and dog, encourage their children to do well at school...) are being treated as criminals.

Why?

Well, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with solving the problem of helpless children being murdered by parents and step-parents who don't really want their kids. 

Those of you who are so anti-smacking are conflating these two, very different scenarios into one.

I wholeheartedly agree that bashing children is wrong and criminal. I will continue to argue (from experience as a child and as a parent) that smacking -- used correctly -- is one of a number of tools available to a parent to correct their children.

And that it is not the job of the State to interfere in families, unless someone is in grave danger.


Comment by stuartm, on 25-Aug-2008 23:39

@turt - there have been several well known cases, for example one in Napier where a dad beat his son with a plank of wood, and one in Hamilton where a dad beat his daughter with a hose pipe. Both got off claiming "reasonable force" and these two cases became legal benchmarks which other similar cases were compared to.

Read here for more.


Author's note by dmw, on 25-Aug-2008 23:52

Stuart,

Your own blog posting (you refer to above) appears to be a thoughtful and rational contribution. It is good to see people able to calmly consider the issue without resorting to the emotive (and distorting) language of the extremes.

In reference to the "well known" court cases, while they have been seized upon by some politicians to back up their side of the debate, we do not know the complete evidence that was presented to the jury. (Not that I am excusing the parent's behaviour -- I'm just saying we don't know for sure whether s59 was the sole reason they got off.)

Plus, the Chester Borrows amendment would be sufficient change to the law to rectify such cases anyway. It was not necessary to totally ban smacking.


Comment by freitasm, on 26-Aug-2008 14:27

So let me understand this... People consider that lightly smacking a child's hand is comparable to "a dad beat[ing] his son with a plank of wood, and one in Hamilton where a dad beat[ing] his daughter with a hose pipe".

I got a few smacks and didn't turn into a criminal and don't think I was a victim. I actually learned something - respect is good.


Comment by Linda george, on 26-Aug-2008 15:18

I think there is a difference between 'hitting' and 'smacking'. A smack should be a self-controlled action designed to bring enough of a sting that the action requiring correction will be given second thoughts by the child before repeating it. Such as a smack on the hand for attempting to touch a hot oven. After a few attempts a mother knows her beloved isn't going to burn themselves on it...


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David White
Auckland
New Zealand


Goon fan, .NET developer, contrarian seeker of truth