The Anti-Spanking Lobby

The Anti-Spanking Lobby

Posted in Statist and Professional Trends

Our family had a lot of fun a few weeks ago when we appeared on the Holmes Show as the “Disciples of Discipline”! I had written an article on spanking, the parental skill of the judicial application of the rod of correction, which appeared in a recent edition of Above Rubies. Someone had sent a copy to Holmes.He had read in that article that we were Christians, spank our children, are home schoolers and foster parents as well. He may have thought he was on to some fringe people or extremists, which always make good stories. Well, if you ever find yourself in this position,and I hope many of you do, since many New Zealand parents are literally tearing apart at the seams because they do not know are totally unaware of the educational and parenting skills many of us Christian home schoolers take for granted. If you are ever in this position, you must plan ahead. Speak only in measured and calm tones. Decide before hand what you want to say and what you do not want to say. Anticipate the trickiest questions they might ask and practise how you should answer them.

They spent the first two hours with us filming and talking about home schooling. They then indicated that they were favourably impressed with us as a family. So we relaxed about the upcoming interview on spanking. And sure enough, they were easy on us and did not try to make us look bad. We believe the Lord also overruled when the final cut and editing took place as His Biblical standards seem to have come across accurately.

So where is the debate on whether to ban smacking in the horne up to at this point? I rang Labour MP for Hamilton East, Dianne Yates’ office, and they assured me she had no further plans to introduce legislation of that sort. Someone rang me to say that the Minister of Justice also had no plans to amend the Crimes Act to make spanking illegal. I rang the office of the Commissioner for Children in Wellington to see what they were up to. Although they have nothing in the pipeline at the moment, it was conveyed to me that when the political and social climate was right, they would be considering moves to ban parental corporal discipline. They have already published several pamphlets with titles like, “Hitting Children Is Unjust.” Now, most of us would hopefully agree that to haul off and hit a child with a back-hand across the mouth because you were annoyed is totally unacceptable. But to this crowd, hitting also means smacking and spanking no matter how lightIy or lovingly done. They also sent me a disturbing article by a Ms Penelope Leach, titled, “What’s Wrong with Hitting Children?” It is terribly biased. Check out this paragraph explaining that abused children seem to blame themselves for the abuse, and never the one who abused them. Watch the language carefully:

“A study of a very large sample of University students, reported in the international journal Child Abuse and Neglect shows that this tendency to self-blame for physical punishment continues into adult life and therefore into parenthood. Subjects retrospectively justified not only punitive but brutal parents by assigning crimes to the children they used to be. Far from blaming those parents, they often expressed gratitude to them for the way they themselves had grown up. And during interviews, they consistently played down the violence used towards them. For example, 80% reported being spanked as children, but only 40% reported that they had received ‘physical punishment’; for many young adults, then, smacked bottoms were too trivial to count. Some subjects had suffered lasting bruises from parental beatings, but only 10% of them considered those punishments to have been excessive or cruel. Even amongst the group of students who had received hospital treatment for fractures, or other serious injuries resulting from parental punishment, only 43 % classified themselves as having been ‘abused’ or ‘cruelly treated’. The study concludes that ‘the recipients of punitive physical discipline are the least likely to recognise its inappropriateness.”

I find this paragraph one of the best promotions IN FAVOUR OF smacking from the pen of unbelievers that I have ever read. As much as the authors clearly despise spanking, those University student-subjects of theirs clearly did not. So the authors had to fabricate imaginative interpretations of their findings to agree with what they wanted to find . These poor, confused University students were so perverted by their loyalty to their parents that they were unable to think for themselves. Even among those who definitely had been subjected to excessive force, the kind that broke bones, only 43 % said they had been ‘abused’ or ‘cruelly treated’. So tbe study reckoned that these adult aged University students were a) deluded, b) unable to recognise their ill treatment and c) so rnessed up as to actually express gratitude for the way their parents had treated them. In other words, if you disagree with the authors’ pre-commitment to the idea that spanking is never justified, by their reckoning you need professional help for you are clearly not a full packet of biscuits!

Write to the Office of the Commissioner for Children for their pamphlets and a copy of this article quoted above: PO Box 12537, Wellington, ph. (04) 471-1410, Fax (04) 471-1418. Moves to make criminals out of us parents who spank our children are likely to come from this office.

From Keystone Magazine
November 1995 , Vol. 1 No. 5
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig