Child misbehaving in public? How not to smack.

You’d think with all the positive parenting tips the Yes Vote crowd have, they would have some way of stopping your child misbehaving in the supermarket. But this is their advice:Yes, you read that right. If they are playing up in public, just give in to them and go home. Forget about buying groceries today, you can eat crumbs until you can next afford to drive to town.

It makes you wonder how many of these people actually live in the real world.

[Cross-posted at Yes Vote FAIL]

Children’s views on smacking – Barnardos

Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children

Media release: Barnardos New Zealand 23 June 2009

…The debate around the Referendum ’09 on physical punishment has been widely debated by adults but who is listening to the voice of those who are at the centre of this debate – the children?

As New Zealand’s largest telephone helpline for children and young people, 0800WHATSUP provided an opportunity for children and young people to express their views about physical punishment and whether or not adults should be able to claim a legal defence if charged with assaulting a child.

“The initial results from the survey show that the majority of callers (more than 55 percent) do not think parents taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child”, says Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

“Despite this, comments from the children and young people who participated in the survey suggest many children are conditioned to expect and accept physical discipline from parents”

So:

  • If a child thinks parents should be prosecuted for smacking, their opinion is very important and should be listened to. BUT
  • If a child thinks otherwise, they have been “conditioned” to think so and their opinion is not valid.

The full report states that the children were asked “Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?”. Note the use of the emotive word “hit” here and throughout the messages read to the children. But even with such a leading question, only 55% of children said “hitting” for discipline was not ok. Probably even less than 50% would have said “smacking” was not ok.

In fact, most children recognise that there is a big difference between hitting and smacking, and that physical punishment may be appropriate in some circumstances. Note what the children actually said to the counsellors as reported by Barnardos themselves:

  • (Counsellor) “He said it’s not really that good [for parents to hit their child] but it depends on what happened, or what the child did”. He said it depends on whether the child does something ‘really, really, really, really, really bad’, for example, ‘if they break a window on purpose’”.
  • (Counsellor) “The interpretation I got from this caller was that she thinks its OK to smack (‘a little tap on the bum’) but that if there are bruises, it is not OK.”
  • (Counsellor) “He said that parents should be allowed to hit their children because there were more students getting suspended from school than 10 years ago.”
  • [Getting a smack] should be ok…if they are disciplining them for playing up, they deserve it…but it shouldn’t be too hard.” “I behave a bit more when I get a smack.”

Of the 19 children quoted by Barnados, 11 think smacking is ok in some circumstances (but “hitting” may not be) and 8 disagree. That’s not what their media release would make you think.

The title of their media release (Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children) is  a blatant lie.

[Cross-posted at Yes Vote FAIL]

Smacking with a wooden spoon

It is encouraging that John Boscowan (ACT MP) is introducing a private members bill to modify Section 59 of the Crimes Act to allow light smacking again. However we have yet to see the details of his proposed amendment. David Farrar has suggested he base it on the Borrows amendment, as this was originally supported by National so should gain National’s support again.

The Borrows amendment would allow physical discipline unless:

  1. It causes or contributes materially to harm that is more than transitory and trifling; or
  2. Any weapon, tool or other implement is used; or
  3. It is inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying.

Point 1 makes good sense. It ensures you cannot beat your children then get off prosecution by saying it was “discipline”. Point 3 also makes some sense, however it would provide a lot of scope for prosecution lawyers to call virtually anything “degrading” (he was smacked on the bottom, bottoms are private parts, that was degrading etc).

However what about point 2? Now I know as soon as I criticise that point I will immediately be labelled as advocating “beating children” by some people, but as they wouldn’t listen to anything I said on the issue anyway I’m not concerned about that. For the rest of us, what need is there for point 2, when you already have point 1?

If no more than “transitory and trifling” effects are produced, what difference does it make whether a hand or a wooden spoon was used? homerstranglesbart1

In fact, it is quite possible to beat a child to death with your bare hands. You don’t need a weapon to inflict major injuries. Whether an implement is used has absolutely nothing to do with preventing child abuse, and is actually a distraction from the real issue.

It also opens up a new issue – what is an implement? Is a ring an implement if a child is smacked with an open hand but accidentally injured by a ring? What about if the parent happened to be wearing a soft glove? What about a thick leather glove?

Let’s not go there. The issue is whether harm is caused that is more than “transitory and trifling”. Forget about whether an implement is used – that is completely irrelevant and just another point of dispute.

I am not writing this to promote disciplining with a wooden spoon, a strap, or any other implement. That should be unnecessary, in my opinion. But I also know some people will disagree and I am not arrogant enough to force my views on them.

My concern is that the government should not be regulating activities (such as methods of discipline), and instead should be concerned with real crime (whether or not the child is abused).

Let’s keep our laws simple and to the point.

A new ‘lost generation’?

The recent case of children being adopted by a gay couple against the wishes of their family in Scotland is shocking, and makes you wonder how this thing can happen in the West. But social engineering like this has a long history.

For over a century it was the policy of the Australian government to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families to be raised by white families. They believed if the children were removed from the “corrupting influence” of their parents they would grow into “good” members of society. This was a disgusting, racist practice that resulted in a “lost generation” of Aborigines that do not know their ancestry, and was finally halted in the 1970s. But it was just social engineering by people who genuinely believed they were doing the right thing for the children.

Today we have some people who believe they know what is best for children (being raised by gay parents for example), and believe it is in the child’s best interest to be taken from their families to allow this.

How is this different?

Also, if a child is taken from their family because a parent smacks them, because the current crop of bureaucrats believe smacking is “wrong”, how is this different?

The State has no right to kidnap children from a loving family. Certainly, as Sb has pointed out, if the parents are actually abusing their children this must be dealt with through the criminal justice system, but that is relatively rare.

We MUST NOT allow this destructive social engineering to take hold in New Zealand.

Kiwi Party enabling theft

If you want to conduct an easy bank robbery, contact the Kiwi Party and they’ll give you all the information you need. I am dead serious.

The Kiwi Party has decided to send letters to every person who signed the smacking petition. Family First has distanced themselves from the Kiwi Party as a result, and many people are rather upset because many of those signatures were collected by non-political groups, and even by opposing political parties such as the Family Party and ACT! For balance, read the Kiwi Party response to Family First here.

But I am not concerned too much about the addresses being used, except that it is a bit rude when those addresses were not collected by the Kiwi Party. I am more concerned that they are distributing dates of birth to anyone interested in helping out.

If you are interested in helping send these letters, the Kiwi Party will send you scanned copies of the signed referendum, containing full names, signatures, dates of birth and addresses. See a copy here that was sent to Andy Moore (details blanked).

With this information you can:

  1. Go to the address and steal their mail (to obtain bank account numbers etc)
  2. Learn to forge their signature
  3. Go to the bank and use the date of birth and forged signature as ID
  4. Withdraw all their money

I am not joking. My parents had over $5000 stolen in exactly this way a few years ago. This is very serious.

I write this not to encourage robbery, this method of stealing money is well understood by criminals so me posting it here won’t make much difference. I write this to expose how serious this massive breach of privacy is. I have refrained from directly attacking Kiwi until recently – we have been the object of abuse from them often, even to my face in debates, and I don’t want to sink into the mudslinging. But now they may be sending all the information that anyone needs to steal my money (as I signed the petition), to a random stranger. That disgusts me personally, and I must speak out personally, which I would do whether or not I was standing for another political party.

If you want to vote for a principled conservative party this election, there is only one real option – The Family Party.

Jeanette Fitzsimons and Referenda

I noted that when Jeanette Fitzsimons was asked if the Greens would honour the result of a referendum on MMP, she indicated that of course they would.

So I assume, to be consistent, she will also honour the will of the people next year when we have a referendum on the smacking law?

Fat chance of that, but you can always dream.

Key will ignore smacking referendum

After all that effort having a petition, so we will have a referendum on the smacking law next year, John Key has now come out and said he won’t even listen to it. We all knew Helen Clark wouldn’t, but I was hoping for better from Key.

“We’ll have respect for what the referendum says, but it wouldn’t make us change our mind because there is no point in changing the law if it is working as intended…”

If he does see that the law isn’t working as intended (by which I assume he means the police are charging people with smacking rather than using their discretion as per National’s amendment), then he may consider changing the law. So that tempers it a little. But he is still announcing that the referendum won’t influence him to change the law whatever the result, which is pretty arrogant (and stupid politics just before the election).

I want a change of government for sure, he should still be better than Clark. But this shows once again that we need the Family Party in that government if we want it to listen to the will of the people.

Hat Tip: Family First

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