Thursday, 8 March 2007

2 March 2007 - Wetanest blogspot - Anti-smacking legislation

2 March 2007 - Wetanest blogspot - Anti-smacking legislation
Anti-Smacking Legislation

In May of this year, New Zealanders will get to find out whether or not their politicians are truly insane or not. That is when they will meet to vote about a bill which will make it illegal for a parent to smack a child. This one has been around for a long time - the whole 'corporal punishment' thing. It was abolished in schools in 1991 in New Zealand, and since then there has been considerable debate over whether or not it should be acceptable for a parent to smack a child. Anti-smackers say it teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of dealing with conflict. Pro-smackers say 'it never harmed me'. So let's take another look at it.

A child turns up at school on monday morning wearing a long-sleeve top. It's the middle of summer, but he tolerates the heat. It's as though he's hiding something. His teacher can tell that he's not acting himself, so she takes him aside for a little talk. She finds (not by touching him because that's illegal... oh wait, it's not now... that's right, they retracted that one last year) that on his arms he has several massive swollen red marks. They were obviously caused by some kind of violent treatment. Possibly at home. The child doesn't want to talk about it - it's a classic sign of it. It turns out he didn't tidy up his bedroom so got smacked for it. Here we have it, a good example of why it's bad to smack a child. So come May, I hope the politicians vote in favour of the bill and outlaw smacking.

No? You're not convinced? Neither am I. Here's why:

This wasn't 'smacking' at all. This was violence. The same kind of violence that is classed as 'assault'. Did that stop the boy's father from hitting his mother? No. Did the law stop him from driving an unwarranted, unregistered car? No. Did it stop him from driving aggressively or getting into road rage with another driver? Probably not. Is an anti-smacking law going to stop him from hitting his son? Yeah... You get where I'm going.

I seriously see no possible way that smacking teaches children that violence is ok. I'm sorry, but that is just bullshit. Both my wife and I were smacked as children, and neither of us are even remotely confrontational people. Not sure about her but the last time I ever hit someone was 23 years ago when I was 5. What it taught me was that you do what your parents tell you to do. I didn't live in fear that if I didn't conform, I would be hit. But I knew that when I got it, i deserved it.

Yes, a child raised in a violent home IS more likely to become violent - statistically speaking. But smacking and violence aren't the same thing. And like I said earlier, domestic violence is already illegal, so what makes the government think that making smacking illegal is going to stop them? It all just seems like yet another example of a stupid law that is brought in because of what the minority do that will only serve one purpose - punishing those who don't deserve it.

Good on you, democracy.

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