Australia: call to ban smacking children
You find them throughout society – the ‘do gooders’. They lurk all over the place, waiting to impose their liberal, progressive views on unsuspecting people, because, you know, they know better. They know, apparently, that to smack your child is harmful and cruel and that you as a parent should have no right to discipline your child as you see fit – even though there is enough evidence that suggests smacking plays a role in raising well-adjusted children. I mean, what would you find more problematic: someone giving their kid a smack when they’re young and naughty; or leaving them to progress into disrespectful thugs (full jails should give you a clue here)? I’ll take the smack option to unclog their listening ears, thank you very much. And notice how this do-gooder compares adults belting each other to giving a child a smack as the same thing. Look at the animal kingdom and you will find animals giving their young a nip when they get out of line or to warn them of danger. Look also at our schools and the ill-discipline problem we sit with today because corporal punishment was removed from the system. Years and years of these do-gooders trying to
crumble shape society with their dodgy ideology have produced a lot of failed projects. Multi-culturalism is but one. Women’s right’s and abortion another. Teenage thuggery and violent criminals because of lenient sentences etc…..and the list goes on. The result of all these do-gooder projects is that it’s only years later that we, the same unsuspecting people, have to sit with the results and try to undo what the do-gooders enforced on us using guilt. What we need to do is to start listening to our common sense gene again and bash the next do-gooder that utters another dodgy idea before we have to pay for it down the line…..again. Luckily the majority of Australians polled (91%) agree with me on this one.
FORMER Australian of the Year and CEO of Child Wise Bernadette McMenamin has rejected calls for a ban on smacking and said it would leave parents thinking they lived in a nanny state.
Dr Gervase Chaney, the head of Australia’s peak paediatric body, has called for mums and dads to be banned from smacking their children.
He said it was no longer OK for parents to argue “it never did us any harm” – and called on colleagues to stand up for children’s rights.
But Ms McMenamin, whose brother was the victim of abuse as a child, said smacking needed to be stopped – but through education, not the law.
“I think it would make parents feel like the government is going too far, taking over the parental role,” she said.
“Setting a law for no smacking, I know where the professor is coming from, but parents would find that far too interventionist and a nanny state.”
Ms McMenamin has a child of her own whom she has never smacked and said parents who do smack their children did so for the wrong reasons – and risked escalating smacking into child abuse.
“I do not believe that smacking is a useful disciplinary tool, it’s about the parent taking out their frustration on a child,” Ms McMenamin said.
“If you smack a child how can you tell what it a smack and what is a punch.
“It may start with an odd smack, but it can escalate.”
She has also noted that children could come to fear their parents in the event of receiving physical punishments.
“It’s a fear factor, do you really want to have your child be fearful of you?”
“I have seen it in my own family, my brother was physically abused and it damaged him for life. That started out as a smack.”
The call for a ban comes as a leading Royal Children’s Hospital paediatrician says Australia is lagging behind other countries in outlawing smacking, describing some cases as tantamount to child abuse.
Dr Chaney is pushing for The Royal Australasian College of Physicians paediatric and child health division to officially support a ban as the body reviews its policy on smacking.
He said it was likely to be supported and the college would then call on government to change the law.
Dr Chaney, the division president, said he believed the current position – opposing the use of physical discipline as an “ineffective and unhelpful” – did not go far enough.
“There has been good evidence that in countries where it has been banned there is a reduction in child abuse,” he told the Herald Sun.
“Though many people have used physical discipline, and it is still regarded in most of our society as an acceptable form of parenting, there is no clear delineation between what is acceptable as a smack and what is child abuse.
But a spokesperson for Premier Ted Baillieu said this morning there were “no plans to change the law as it relates to the smacking of children”.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews also said he did not support a change in the law.
“A parent’s first duty is to care and protect their child, and Victoria already has strong child protection laws in place.
“Parenting is hard and it’s not made any easier by unenforceable and intrusive proposals like this.”
Federal political figures have also opposed a ban on smacking kids, saying criminal law should not be applied to parents.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey told Sunrise that parents had the responsibility to protect their children.
“There are some things that the criminal law shouldn’t be involved with,” he said.
“In raising children, parents have a responsibility, seriously.”
His thoughts were echoed by Minister for Population and Communities, Tony Burke, who also appeared on the program.
“These experts, there are helpful ideas they come up with, the naughty corner and these different ideas for raising kids,” he said.
“I’ve found a lot of that really helpful with my own kids, but to start saying the criminal law and legal penalties is the way to deal with this – parents do it tough enough already.
Dr Chaney said “occasionally” smacking his children as a young dad made him miserable, and he made a pact with his wife 12 years ago to never do it again.
His comments come after The Royal College of Paediatrics in Britain this week called for a ban on smacking, saying too often “today’s smack becomes tomorrow’s punch”.
In Victoria, parents can smack their children as long as the punishment is not “unreasonable” or “excessive”.
The issue has polarised opinion in Australia – the Presbyterian Church last year backed the right of parents to smack their child within existing common-law parameters.
The church’s submission to a state government inquiry said there was “a significant body of research confirming its utility in raising children well”.
Victorian Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary said he did not support smacking, but he was worried a ban could be misused and unfairly punish some parents.
“The way children are disciplined should be thoughtful and respectful,” he said.
Professor Frank Oberklaid, director of RCH’s Centre for Community Child Health, said there should be a law against smacking.
He said it was not effective and there were better ways to discipline children.
He said it sent the wrong message to children and could have significant long-term effects.
“We would not consider for a moment that it is OK to smack other people, so why is it OK to smack children?”