Friday, 8 February 2008

Smacking children 'allowable': minister

NSW Community Services Minister Kevin Greene has defended himself against accusations of hypocrisy for smacking his children and then supporting his department taking a six-year-old boy away from a grandmother who smacked the child.

He had smacked his children in the past, he said today, but did not think it had done them any harm.

"My children, I'd like to think, are all pretty average normal children," he told Fairfax radio Network.

Asked about the department's policy on reports of smacking, Mr Greene said: "We have a law in NSW that basically says that children can be smacked but they can't be abused.

"You cannot literally clip a child across the ear," he said. "You can smack a child but you can't cause them physical harm that's going to last a long time.

"I mean, a smack is allowable. It's not encouraged but it is allowable. It's up to individual parents to make the decision. We certainly do not allow physical abuse of children."

He said the report in a News Ltd paper today accusing him of hypocrisy was "disappointing".

Frontline caseworkers who made decisions about taking children away from abusive situations were "doing a difficult job in extremely difficult circumstances", he said.

"They have to make the real judgment decisions. They're the ones who are dealing with really vulnerable children."


NZ passes anti-smacking law

New Zealand's anti-smacking Bill will become law within weeks after winning overwhelming support in Parliament.

The country joins only a handful of European nations to legislate against the use of unreasonable force in disciplining children.

The parliamentary vote is the culmination of a two-year campaign by Greens Party MP Sue Bradford, who argued New Zealand's appalling record of violence towards children demanded drastic action.

"Every day, there are dreadful injuries inflicted on children," she said.

"People need to realise this is what happens in the name of child discipline."

Members of Parliament were free to vote on the issue according to their conscience but there was near unanimous support for the change, which passed 113 to 7 in the 121-seat Parliament.

Loud applause broke out from the public galleries after the vote.


Spare the Rod?

We all know the phrase from the Bible that says spare the rod and spoil the child. Does this mean hitting them? Is there another meaning that is possible here? An advisor of mine whilst I was Children’s Commissioner in Tasmania, who was preparing for church ministry, said that her interpretation of the Bible allows us to consider these statements from a non violent perspective. She said that the rod in the Bible referred to the shepherd’s rod. This shepherd’s rod had a crook in it which was used to hook onto the sheep to prevent them from straying, to contain them. I then realized for myself, that the rod was not the staff that the shepherd also had, that I believe was used to beat off wolves and other predators. My own reflections also lead me to this conclusion, as my favourite Psalm, Psalm 23 states that the Lord is my shepherd and that His rod and staff will always guide me and be my comfort.

The rod is to steer me to paths of righteousness with the rod to protect me from harm. Neither of these were there to harm me, and this concept of a benign and loving God, who like a good shepherd was devoted and faithful in looking after his flock is commonplace in the Bible. I humbly and respectfully offer you this alternative way of viewing some Biblical statements as matters for your consideration, to show how it is possible to parent without any violence, but with guidance, care and love.

Patmalar Ambikapathy

End Physical Punishment of Children

1 comment:

Publik said...

Violence does not win and smacking children is the root cause of domestice violence. Didn't you know?

There are no laws that allow people to smack anyone else. Why children? If parents learn better parenting skills then they would never use smacking to teach their children a lesson.

Dialogue is the only reasonable response to any mischievous child because the only defence a child has is fear. The tone of voice raised one decibel is enough to put fear into any child, severe punishment. If children are in danger they can be picked up and relocated to a safer place. If the tone of your voice is low children as young as a baby can understand what you say to them.

By inviting children into the decision making process they can be asked how they may be able to help with a problem that they may be causing you or others - and they will then be more likely to be obligated to doing it especially if it were there idea and if they can come up with a solution themselves, they won't feel judged and learn better lessons and no bad lessons in between. PET Parent Effectiveness Training - Thomas Gordon PhD. Check it out!