Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fletch Question for 'anti-smackers'

Most of the polls that have been done on the question of whether smacking should be an offense or not lean toward 70% - 80% of respondents saying they feel that it should not be a criminal offense to smack a child.

So, my question to those who consider a smack to be child abuse, or an assault on a child -

Do you REALLY, REALLY think that 80% of this country want the right to be able to assault their child?

Really? Do you really believe that about the majority of New Zealanders? Surely not? And if you don't believe that - if you believe that most parents love and care about their kids as much as you love your kids, then you have to ask yourself the question: why do 80% think that way? It must be because you don't understand what a smack is.

It isn't hitting and it isn't abuse.

23 comment(s):

tom said...

Maybe "they" don't know what a smack is ?
Can anybody say with any certainty that snacking doesn't cause harm ?

Both sides of the debate site studies supporting their own arguments

Fair enough but that fact that there are two opinions, one has to concede that somebody is wrong.
What happens if I am wrong?
What happens if you are wrong.?

Every parent wants what is best for their kids.

Some questions from a non smacker
How hard do you smack?

Do you smack harder if it doesn't work the first time?

At what age to you stop smacking ?
Why?

If something just as effective could be substituted would you continue to smack?

These are genuine questions because I can't ever conceive of smacking a child in any situation
I simply never needed to

cheers thomas

dad4justice said...

How many children you got thimas?

ZenTiger said...

I'm not sure you answered the question Tom.

All you've said is that you can't tell the difference, and because you've never smacked your child, you don't know if it genuinely harms or helps a child.

Yet, it seems likely from other comments you would make it illegal.

I've smacked my child before, and it is a very rare occasion. I can confirm for you it didn't harm them. I think it helped.

But that's another point in your comments. You say If something just as effective could be substituted would you continue to smack?

Well, given that several years has gone past and I rarely smack, then you might wish to concede that good parents don't necessarily smack as a first, middle or even last "resort". They might smack when they consider it appropriate, and its just one consideration of many.

You are welcome to your doubts, but if you consider the spirit of Fletch's question, with all that you admit you don't understand, then the question is a fair one: Do you really, really think that 80% of this country want the right to assault their child?

Let's put it another way.

I let my kids play sports. I've meet a parent who considers rugby brutal, and given the pain a tough game can inflict, they feel it should be banned.

"Is it normal for a parent to want to see their child continually assaulted?" they ask. Because make no mistake, if smacking is assault, then so is a tackle.

I've seen kids in tears and rolling around on the ground after a bad tackle, even in soccer. I certainly took my knocks growing up. A relative of mine DIED from playing rugby.

I still don't want it banned. I still don't want it illegal. I still don't want the police able to interview parents after each game to decide if the parents are just trying to see their kids "hardened up" against their will.

Do you, in order to reduce these obvious assaults, and to reduce the pain children go through in playing sports, want to see it made illegal? How do you change the rules of the game so that we just play touch rugby? You certainly can't define a gentle tackle I suppose.

Or are you going to make an exception in the case of sports?

Surely, we will all be happy with table tennis and lawn bowls?

tom said...

Ok yes i consider it an assault
How can it be anything else?

Let me get this right
A smack causes pain ? Yes
So you smack your kid to inflict pain
to then get your desired result ?

So you deliberately cause pain to get your result when you don't need too cos there are other means of achieving the same result

Why would anybody do this ?
I am not allowed to hit, however lightly an adult and I think rightly so
In contact sports such a rugby and say boxing you have consent from both parties.
In a parent child relationship you do not have consent from the affected person
A significant difference I think.

"All you've said is that you can't tell the difference, and because you've never smacked your child, you don't know if it genuinely harms or helps a child."
The poInt i was trying to make
is that if a smack doesn't harm a child
and I have never smacked because there is no reason to. what have we lost?
if however it does ( and the jury is out) then I have also not lost

So because we don't 100% know if smacking is harmful or not ( and I bet I can cite as many studies as you can)
Why would one take the risk ?

I have 3 kids BTW

KG said...

A person who is unable to differentiate between assault and a light smack designed to protect someone is in a world of trouble....
And when you say you simply never needed to smack your children, Tom--I've met parents who make the same claim and without exception their children were little horrors only the parents could love.

ZenTiger said...

Hi Tom. Thanks for your honest answers. Please consider this:

1. Rugby causes pain.
2. Children get hurt playing rugby.
3. Children CANNOT legally give consent to ANYTHING.
4. Parents are deliberately inflicting pain on their children, on an unproven assumption that contact sports might be better for them in the long run, in spite of momentary pain.

You need to be consistent, and seek to ban rugby.


Also consider:

1. A smack causes indeterminate pain, but the jury is out (in your mind) on if it is harmful or not. Many people do not consider it harmful.
2. You think making it illegal and all the consequences that flow from that, right up to parents being forcibly separated from their children on suspicion of smacking is OK?

We have cases described in (2) in NZ already. We'd know about more of them except CYFS are able to operate with little public scrutiny. You need to come across people where this has happened.

Also, there are many cases of children being abused in foster care whilst the police sort out whether it was a smack or abuse. With smacking, there no longer is a requirement to present physical evidence (bruises, marks).

The law is bad, and good people will suffer.

I'd be interested to here how you can justify contact sports for children, given they are incapable of providing consent.

ZenTiger said...

I am not allowed to hit, however lightly an adult and I think rightly so

You are not allowed to threaten adults either Tom. Have you ever threatened your children with a loss of privileges if they do not modify their behaviour? Who made you judge and jury?

Can you tell strangers what they should eat, and when they should go to bed? Who made you king?

The reverse - a stranger walks up and asks for you to feed them and provide shelter. You'd be locked up if you didn't do that for your children. Why do you discriminate?


Not trying to be harsh here, but I really, really, think the argument that children are just like adults to be silly.

I also think the suggestion you have no responsibility over adults therefore, why should you have any over your own children to be silly.

And the argument that some make that this is about treating children as property even worse, because we get back to Fletch's question, and characterisation that parents are not interested in raising their children in a loving environment, one that can include from time to time, punishment (physical or mental).

tom said...

KG
"And when you say you simply never needed to smack your children, Tom--I've met parents who make the same claim and without exception their children were little horrors only the parents could love."
yeah that brought a lot to the debate
I find it offensive actually
After I spent a lot of time and effort bringing up my kids and three more well adjusted happy people it would be difficult to find

tom said...

I in know way think that most parents aren't raising their kids in a loving caring way of course they are.
people do what they do with the best resources available to them.
When I had children I had no idea what to do apart from follow my parents style. of parenting.
so I enrolled in a positive parenting course, put my career on hold and tried very hard to bring up happy well adjusted children.
Now I don't now if I had used physical force wether the outcome would have been different maybe not.
But I certainly feel better not having had to do it.,
I would not know how hard to hit for what offence, I would not know when age to stop hitting them 3, 5, 8 10 ?
What to do when a smack didn't work hit them again maybe?
I feel hitting my children would have really dented my parenting experience

And when all said and done at the very least it is good that New Zealand is having this debate
If it cause people to reflect on their parenting style it can't be a bad thing can it?

Ps I couldn't get a handle on the rugby thing
I will give some thought to this when i am swimming (with my 20yr old daughter :-) later on

I.M Fletcher said...

The question of whether smacking is violence or not comes down to the question of intent.

Let me ask you: would you smack a newborn baby? You would probably answer, no; and yet, that is what the doctor does after he has delivered a baby in order to get it to take it's first breaths (at least, they used to). This is for the welfare of the child and no one would question the doctor.

What if your child was choking? Would you whack it on the back to try and dislodge whatever it was? Yes, you would. Sometimes when a medic performs CPR, the patient's ribs will be broken (my grandmother's were), but better some pain and discomfort rather than death,

And we let our babies be immunized, even though it is painful and being jabbed with long needles causes them to cry, because we know in the long run it will help and protect them.

Most things worthwhile come with pain or discomfort when we are learning to do them - falling off a bike while learning to ride, etc. I watched The Last Samurai last night on TV and he was learning how to fight with a sword. He suffered a lot of knocks during his training. Raising a child is training them for the future.

I think we can see, looking at history, that children are suffering from a lack of discipline now. I think it is more a case of 'child abuse' not to discipline a child if it does require a smack.

The child may grow up thinking he can have everything his own way and gets a shock when he gets into the real world. Perhaps he gets into an argument and hurts somebody else because he has no self restraint - he has never learned the discipline of self control because parents and teachers have always treated him as a little adult and let him get his own way.

The old parental saying 'this hurts me more than it hurts you' I'm sure is true.

Parents smack because they love their children.

tom said...

I was with you till just after the
Raising a child is training them for the future
i was listening to the woman who is responsible for the referendum can't remember her name she was being interviewed by John Cambell
In a reply to a question of an example of what she smacks for she said (from memory)
was if the kids keep pressing the remote and they won't stop after several warnings a quick smack does the job.
Now I thought of what I would have done in the same circumstances with out the option of a smack.
I would have probably said" i find you playing with the remote annoying and asked why they were playing with the remote?" And then dealt with the answer BTW no way would they have carried on the disruptive behaviour
Can you see which "trains" them for the future better.?
I think my way does
You say "I think we can see, looking at history, that children are suffering from a lack of discipline now. I think it is more a case of 'child abuse' not to discipline a child if it does require a smack.'
But if 80% of parents are smacking their kids already you argument is a little flat
or are you saying parents aren't hitting hard enough?

I.M Fletcher said...

I didn't say 80% of parents were smacking their kids already, just that 80% want the right to be able to do so without being criminalized. There seems to be a general lack of discipline, or perhaps a lower standard of discipline - smacking with or notwithstanding. I think that also extends to discipline (or lack thereof) in schools.

As for the remote story - you did say the woman in the story gave several warnings. I guess it depends on the circumstances.

I think a parent can usually tell what is warranted at the particular time.

MK said...

Approach it in the same way as leftists approach abortion. Borrowing from Ann Coulter.

I wouldn't smack a child myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for smacking children for the heck of it. But how will criminalizing parents making difficult, often pressured decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the smacking of children?

If you don't believe in smacking children, then don't smack one.

KG said...

"I find it offensive actually"
Tough.
A lot of us find it offensive when decent, loving parents are lumped in along with the primitives who beat children to death.

Max Power said...

Tom, if you don't want to smack your kids, then don't. No one is arguing over whether or not you should be forced to smack your kids. Parents just want the option available. Clearly there are people like you who see smacking as wrong. That is fine; you're entitled to your opinion. But there are also people who don't have a problem with smacking, so why should a minority of people with your views force them upon the majority? The 70-80% of people who are predicted vote no in this referendum aren't forcing their views on you. They just want you to have the freedom to make your own decision.

I don't necessarily believe pain has to be caused by a smack for it to be effective. Often it's just the shock to the senses that kids receive that is effective. Watch a young kid when a balloon pops, or there's a loud bang. They don’t get hurt, but it'll often upset them because of the huge shock it gives them. If you smack a kid lightly enough that it barely hurts, but gives them a shock, then it is just as effective.

Oswald Bastable said...

"I've smacked my child before, and it is a very rare occasion. I can confirm for you it didn't harm them. I think it helped.

But that's another point in your comments. You say If something just as effective could be substituted would you continue to smack?

Well, given that several years has gone past and I rarely smack, then you might wish to concede that good parents don't necessarily smack as a first, middle or even last "resort". They might smack when they consider it appropriate, and its just one consideration of many."

Well-said and that sums it up for me too!

Leonidas said...

I've a question for the anti smackers: If you are so concerned with ABUSED children, why not simply increase the penalty for the "primitives" (nice turn KG) who beat the shit out of their offspring?, are you not, by removing the option and dismissing our ability to reason and make judgment in any given circumstance, merely compensating for your own lack of confidence? as tom said "How hard do you smack?

Do you smack harder if it doesn't work the first time?

At what age to you stop smacking ?"

this is not a personal attack Tom, but to me those are the questions of someone who does not trust themselves to make hard decisions. now, I have never smacked my son, and I hope I never have to, as I would not tell you how to raise your children, I simply ask that you reciprocate.

tom said...

Ok lets put it another way
A small smack on the hand or on the bottom is at one end of a continuum, at the other end a severe beating

(A continum "anything that goes through a gradual transition from one condition, to a different condition, without any abrupt changes")

So at the one end the end that most parents are, you have the small hit on the hand or bottom harmless enough Ok
But there will be some parents(few I agree) that smack that little bit harder and when angry harder still and so on and so forth till we reach the other end
Now I know we would all have a line on that continuum that we wouldn't cross.

The problem is we all have a different line .
Do fathers hit harder then mothers for example?
All that has happened is that a line has been drawn in the sand.
I really can't see this as a bad thing
It seems to me there are two distinct arguments
One the smacking itself is it harmful or not (in general terms)
Two One is the not being told what to do
In our society we have several rules that govern our behaviour, what we can or cannot do . And I guess we generally put up with most of them because of the 'common good"
I happen to think drawing a line in the sand re hitting children is for the common good .
BTW leondas You will have to trust me the I trust myself to make hard decisions
But from what I read from some is that hitting is not a hard decision what, with all the accrued benefits and all, Not hitting them seems to be :-]
Ps just phoned my son how he was going to vote in the referendum

He said he wasn't going to bother as it was a stupid loaded question

Gee perhaps I should have smacked him

cheers
Thomas

ZenTiger said...

It's not a stupid loaded question though is it?

Because you have just explained you want to see smacking made illegal, "for the common good".

The question asks "should a smack be illegal" and many people are saying that is a stupid loaded question, because they think it ridiculous to imply smacking should be illegal.

Yet you yourself continually come back to this point, as does Sue Bradford etc.

Are we, as a society not entitled to ask this fundamental question without the anti-smacking lobby continually implying that this is not the crux of the issue, as if smacking is still permissible.

The law has been explicitly changed to make all forms of discipline technically illegal.

Bit by bit, it will be enforced harder and harder.

As far as you are concerned, this is all right, because you are happy to draw a line in the sand that any smack should be considered illegal.

Hopefully, people of NZ will wake up to the fact that this question is exactly what needs an honest answer. Some people think it should be illegal - fair enough. Many, many people think good parents should not be criminalised in this way. I hope they realise that this referendum is a chance to signal this view to politicians, because in a few years, this result, if not made clear, will be used to justify harsher measures.

tom said...

Should smacking be a crime ?
would have been a better question surely
for the smackers ?

Or I would prefer... is it ok to hit children?

Its the assumption of "good parental correction" that a bit iffy and loaded
which gives the politicians an "out" surely?

I however have no such confusion as to what the question tries to say . I was merely pointing out that others do.

The fact that my son thinks its loaded And having just finishing Uni with a Masters with distinction would tend to suggest that he knows how to interpret a question.

Btw Bit by bit, it will be enforced harder and harder.
I hope that wasn't some Freudian slip ;-)

I.M Fletcher said...

A continum "anything that goes through a gradual transition from one condition, to a different condition, without any abrupt changes

Tom, are you implying that because smacking is legal that it will eventually lead to beatings? History says you are wrong on that count.

Now I know we would all have a line on that continuum that we wouldn't cross.

We always have had that line, and most people don't cross it. Why? Because they love their kids and don't want to hurt them.

In our society we have several rules that govern our behaviour, what we can or cannot do

Yes, but children are too young to know what those laws are, or to be expected to follow them, until they reach the Age of Reason. That is why children cannot be arrested until a certain age. That is why we have parents to guide them and bring them up.

As for the question, there is nothing stupid or loaded about it. It's fairly straightforward to me. What is loaded about it? Perhaps it's only loaded for those who don't believe in good parental correction at all, and that kids should be allowed to do whatever they wish.

ZenTiger said...

Yes, Tom, we have laws that govern our behaviour. As I said in an earlier post, we are allowed to drive on the road if we obey speed limits.

You want to ban driving.

People who focus on the trivial part of the question to decide it is loaded, are evading their responsibility.

They are happy for the government to ban driving, because it's not going to happen to them. Or so they think.

tom said...

IMF
Tom, are you implying that because smacking is legal that it will eventually lead to beatings? History says you are wrong on that count.
I am most certainly not

We always have had that line, and most people don't cross it. Why? Because they love their kids and don't want to hurt them.

Your line is of course different to mine
you will always cross mine because I would never hit, it therefore follows that someone will cross yours because the believe in that little bit of harder hit and so on and so forth
hence the continuum argument
Yes, but children are too young to know what those laws are, or to be expected to follow them, until they reach the Age of Reason.
I was really taking about society in general not children per se
As for the question, there is nothing stupid or loaded about it. It's fairly straightforward to me. What is loaded about it? Perhaps it's only loaded for those who don't believe in good parental correction at all, and that kids should be allowed to do whatever they wish.
The question includes a value judgement - how can something “good” be bad?
Why not just say
Should smacking be a crime ?
or is it ok to hit children?
No confusion there eh ?
I have a problem with the question and I most certainly do not think kids should be allowed to do whatever the wish

ZEN
Yes i was going to use a driving example ..to extend the metaphor
I think we should ban driving if we have a proven alternative that achieves exactly the same outcomes and stops the rogues who drive 60,70 80 in 50 kph limit. If you get my point?

People who focus on the trivial part of the question to decide it is loaded, are evading their responsibility.

Or people that ask a referendum question that cost a lot of time and effort and money should surely frame a question that hasn't a trivial part
It is surely self defeating as it can be easily batted away by parliamentarians

AS Maxine Boag:said "many of us believe that a smack is not part of good parental correction. So if you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ you are still agreeing that a smack is good parental correction."
Can you see that point of view ?
The question as framed is poorly drafted
When you look at it from that different POV Don't you think ?

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