Wooden spooning is assault, no back chat
You aren’t allowed to smack your partner, so why should you be allowed to smack your child?
It also makes no sense to me to declare war on thugs in the street and yet still allow parents to hit their kids.
This is particularly the case when it’s done with a blunt wooden object rather than just a hand.
Today the Herald Sun has reported a Victorian mother was dobbed into police after her nine-year-old daughter told a school support worker that she was hit with a wooden spoon.
The mother was interviewed by police officers from the sexual offences and child abuse unit and was told if the hitting occurred again she would be charged with assault with a weapon.
The case has sparked vigorous debate about the rights of parents to discipline their children in any way they choose.
A Herald Sun online poll finds that 90 per cent of parents think they have a right to smack their kids.
But I am happy to be out of step with popular opinion on this one.
All forms of smacking children should be banned – it shouldn’t matter whether it is hand, spoon or belt. It is still physical assault, and our children deserve better.
Sure, most parents who smack do so with minimum force and only as a last resort. But there are some who, given the OK to hit their kids, don’t know when to stop. And it’s their children who need the protection a total ban would bring.
At present it is unlawful to injure a child deliberately using great force or to assault them with an object, but it is not illegal to smack if no obvious physical damage is done.
But this makes no sense – why not ban all forms of smacking? Who’s to say what damage is being done to kids that is not visible to the eye.
In any case, what kind of message are we sending our children when we slap them? That violence is acceptable, that’s what.
And what happens when slapping lightly stops being an effective deterrent? Do you slap a little harder the next time, and the next, and the next?
Now, as a parent of three young kids, I know how hard it is to get discipline right. In fact, it’s bloody hard work.
I also know that smacking is a lazy form of discipline – it’s often a sign that the parents and not just the kids have lost control.
And that’s why parents should get more support in finding alternative ways to make kids behave. A ban backed up with a public education campaign for parents would send a strong message that smacking anyone – man, woman or child – is just not acceptable.
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