Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child, Stay Out of a UK Jail for 5 Years

Should a parent be allowed to swat a recalcitrant child? While society has a stake in placing clear limits on such discipline - i.e., there is a point where hitting a child goes beyond what could be considered reasonable discipline and into child abuse that could permanently injure a child - it is also true that swatting the rug rats who don't respond to verbal remonstrations is as old a tool of child raising among mammals as the family unit itself. Outside of child abuse, it would seem that the decision to swat or not to swat should be completely up to the parents. No two children are the same, and wholly nonswatting methods that may work on one child may well not work on another. So parents should be able to choose how to raise their children. Unless, of course, you live in a state fortunate enough to be run by wonderful omnipotent leftists who know better then the individual how they should run their lives, and who know better then the parents how they should raise their children. In which case, you are in the Nanny state, such as the giant social experiment that is the UK:

Ministers have revived the prospect of an outright ban on smacking children.

Under the current law – introduced only two years ago – parents can administer mild smacks as long as they do not cause bruises or grazes. They face assault charges and up to five years in jail if they strike their children hard enough to leave a mark.

Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes yesterday announced a wide-ranging review to see if the existing legislation is succeeding in protecting children. However, she insisted there were ‘no current plans to change the legislation’ which had allowed light smacking because Labour ‘didn’t want to see decent parents criminalised’.

Anti-smacking campaigners seized on the announcement last night to renew their calls for an outright ban. The UK’s four child commissioners last month demanded a total ban on any form of smacking, insisting there was was ‘no room for compromise’ on the issue. But polls of parents have shown that two-thirds support smacking as a punishment if necessary. And critics regard an outright ban as an unwarranted intrusion into family life.

The Tory spokesman on children-Tim Loughton, said: ‘Even though this issue was debated barely three ago, Labour ministers cannot resist meddling in how parents look after their children. ‘Bringing up children is a big enough challenge already without opening up this can of worms, which is all about the nanny state rather than trusting parents.’ But Rob Williams, chief executive of campaign body 11 MILLION, said: ‘Children and young people in England should have the same right to protection under the law on common assault as that afforded to adults – there is no good reason why children are the only people in the UK who can still be hit.’
Read the entire article here. That last line get's me. It shows just how out of touch the far left are with psychological realities and just how arrogant they are in their own superiority. Thomas Sowell did a good examination of this phenomenon not long ago. At any rate, here are a few of the comments to this article that reaffirm that the average Brit has his or her head screwed on much tighter then the average leftist pol across the pond:

. . . Oh for heavens' sake - it's time to lift the ban completely! We have to stop 'namby-pambying' children and get some order into their lives. If we get some discipline back into this country then maybe - just maybe - we'll be able to walk safely on our streets again.- Maggie G, West London

. . . Where will it all end? Of course we have to protect our children but a smack as opposed to a smacking certainly gains the child's attention. I despair that this PC, 'yuman rights', gutless government will move on to banning verbal chastisement as well. Discipline, respect and good manners have all but disappeared under Blair. Here is a revolutionary idea, use the review to seek out ways to persuade and educate errant parents to take responsibility for their children.- John, East Sussex, UK

What a load of rubbish, once again the nanny state goes mad. We are now breeding a generation of brats with no way to discipline them. I was smacked in my younger years, I didn't like it so I behaved. I treated my own children the same and they were well behaved and I could take them anywhere with no fear. Smacking is only one method of punishment and should be used only occasionally when other methods have failed.- Barry Faulkner, Paphos, Cyprus

Here we go again - more government interference in family life. You'd think that, given the appalling behaviour we now witness amongst the young, it would have learnt some common sense. Despite the fact that at least 80% of parents believe a smack in the right circumstances perfectly justified, the government's attitude is, once again, stuff you, you'll do what we want. When we were bringing up our son he got a damned good smack when he deserved it and, although that didn't occur very often, I know that it served its purpose and he was the better for it. Many of those who advocate banning smacking have monsters for children - I know as I had several friends in that category and I refused to have them in my house if they wanted to bring their brats with them. It's a pity that corporal punishment isn't also still available - pain when inflicted for the correct reasons like violence and wanton cruelty is an extremely effective antidote despite what the do-gooders spout.- James Danvers, London

If a child thinks that a smack is the ultimate punishment you don't have to be forceful. My dad use to put his hand over my hand and smack his instead of mine and I still wept as though he'd really hurt me! Threatening a child with a smack is more psychological than anything.- Jo, Newark-on-Trent

You are never going to stop it. Passing laws is not productive. Is education not the way forward? Educating an adult not to loose their temper but ensuring the punishment fits the ‘crime’ the child has committed.- Roger, London

Every species of sentient creature physically chastises its young to teach them what is and is not acceptable or safe behaviour, but not to do them harm. This is clearly observable in nature from your domestic cat with her kittens to the great apes and dolphins and whales in the wild. Why should human offspring be regarded a different? I understand that the lawless among us will abuse their children regardless of what the law says, so why don't the anti-smacking campaigners? No wonder crime is ever-rising, as kids with no fear of punishment are feral. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind if we let these misguided do-gooders overturn millennia of kind and loving child-rearing practice.- Denise, Caerphilly, UK

Will ALL parents be consulted or only those that concur with the government and so called "professionals"?- Dab, Cambs England

Oh dear, something else that this joke of a government simply MUST ruin.Is there nothing they won't break in their non-stop arrogance?- Dino Fancellu, Epsom, Surrey

As a result of this softly softly approach to childrearing, children are now becoming badly behaved little brats who can do no wrong. End this big brother government now!- Isabel, Buckinghamshire

Children already believe they are untouchable and that is why we have feral gangs of them running around creating havoc. By removing the only sanction a parent has to chastise a child it can only get worse.- Lickyalips, Richmond, Surrey

The Nanny State has already told us that we can't teach children right from wrong - the complete takeover of our offspring isn't very far away now. God help the country.- Olderbird, Northants

. . . Spare the rod and spoil the child was never more true than now. Just wander through any shopping centre to see the results of undiciplined child rearing. No-one advocates the beating of children, but a certain amount of physical discipline can do nothing but good. Just look at the state of discipline in our schools since the little darlings were exempt from caning.- Kenneth, London

Just ignore anything Nu Labour and the EU comes out with. Both organisations are discredited and will soon be replaced.- Andrew Murray, London, UK

Looks like many more good parents are to become law-breakers. The PC Brigade must be outed and banned.- Exessayer, Marbella Spain

. . . So a majority of people are against the ban. That means it will become law.- Donald Merritt, Hertfordshire England


billm99uk said...

Say what you will about the British Labour Party but they're not flat out stupid - and they're not going to pick up such an obvious vote loser. Criminalise a bunch of ordinary (voting) parents? No way! You can almost see the news stories now...

scott said...

I am sure that you are correct Bill. There is a reason Labour has been in power for over ten years now.

This story stuck me though because it seems precisely along the same line of thought that does not allow law abiding citizens to use even non-lethal means of protecting themselves. I had a British friend who told me sometime ago about how frightened she was walking her dog in a field one day when she found herself seemingly being stalked by a very dodgy looking charchter. It was in an area where rapes and murders had happened in the not too distant past. I asked her whether she had pepper spray or anything like that. Pepper spray is non-lethal and, because it works on the autonomous neverous system, it can incapacitate any attacker, even one on drugs, long enough to allow one to escape. I was amazed to find out that Britain has outlawed just about every means of self defense for law abiding citizens, including pepper spray. My friend had been issued a whistle by the local police.

That to me is a nanny state gone wild. As to swatting kids, it sounds like they have already gone a long way to criminalizing law abiding parents. Any swat except the lightest of touches is going to leave a red mark. If I understand the law, that currently subjects the parent to criminal charges.

Perhaps I am overly critical of the UK government in this case. In which case, I do appreciate you keeping me honest.

billm99uk said...

Dee-pends where you're talking about. In the public sphere (schools etc.) smacking has been effectively banned, as the special interest groups have wanted for years now. And teaching has certainly become a much harder job as a result. In private people still don't consider it the government's business, and those cases that have got anywhere near a court have just got laughed out of there. Don't you remember that line about "An Englishman's home is his castle" ;)

As far as privately held weapons go, that's a combination of history and geography. Geography because it's a small country and you're simply never as physically far away from the authorities as you can be in America, so there has never been the same need for self-reliance. History in the sense that we didn't have a revolution based on privately held weaponry, so have never had the err, "romantic" (for want of a better word) attachment America has to the gun. Thus any decisions on whether arms should be legalised tend to come down to the purely pragmatic - will it cut crime or not? We've generally got by with pitchforks and torches (and more recently scaffolding poles and masonry) when we wanted to have a revolt, and nobody gets killed that way. So when the government banned most firearms after the Hungerford and Dunblane spree killings there wasn't a public outcry against it. The major objection, I remember, was from private gun clubs who pointed out that we'd end up losing our rather good record at Olympic shooting events(!). Of course the government did initially manage to mess up the process by failing to ban replica guns sold by hobby shops as well, so any criminal with access to power tools could drill out the bore of a replica and make his own. But basically people see public safety as something the state should be providing - more "bobbies on the beat" and so on.


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