Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anti-Smacking Law Now Proved to Criminalise Good Parents

Family First Media Release 10 April 2008

Family First NZ says that the charging of a Glen Innes man which was subsequently dismissed in the Auckland District Court today is evidence that good parents are victims of the anti-smacking law, a law which has done nothing to stem rates of real child abuse.

"The lawyer representing the father is agreeing with Family First's original assertions that good and loving fathers (and mothers) would be victims of this ideologically flawed law, that members of families would use it against other members, and that supporters of Bradford's anti-smacking law have simply abused child abuse laws," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Family First has already publicized many cases where good parents have come under the suspicion and investigation of CYF and police for light smacking, or not even smacking at all.

"As well as the many cases of good parents being investigated, here we have perfect evidence of wasted police resources and time and a good family impacted by badly drafted legislation resulting in a good father being charged and dragged through court."

"It is sad that it comes in a week where a step-father has been charged with the murder of 22-month-old Tokoroa boy Tyla-Maree Darryl Flynn, a woman has been charged with the murder of ten-month-old Jyniah Mary Te Awa from Manurewa, a father has been charged with the murder of Otahuhu two-month-old Tahani Mahomed from Otahuhu last December, and two men have already pleaded guilty to the gang-related drive-by shooting of Wanganui toddler Jhia Te Tua," says Mr McCoskrie.

"Sue Bradford was right. The anti-smacking law has done nothing to stop child abuse."

Family First is demanding that the anti-smacking law be amended to protect good parenting, and that resources, policing and policy is targeted at the real causes of child abuse. Family First's 5-point Action Plan can be viewed at

"The promises made by Helen Clark and John Key have tragically, especially for this family but also for all NZ parents, shown the law to be severely deficient," says Mr McCoskrie.

UK: Couple turned down as foster parents for smacking policy

David and Heather Bowen, who only smack their daughter as a last resort.

this from 9 April 2008

A Christian couple have been barred from fostering because they occasionally smack their own daughter as "a last resort".

David and Heather Bowen, of Whitmore Road, Taunton, say they would never smack a foster child.

But they were rejected because of their discipline policy for their own child, Emma, 9.

Mrs Bowen, 47, a volunteer helper at Wellsprings Primary School, which Emma attends, said: "We've been open and honest - we smack Emma once or twice a year, but wouldn't smack a foster child.

"It's controlled, on the leg and legal.

"We sit her down and explain what she's done wrong. It's a last resort."

Click here to read the entire article

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Anti-Smacking Bill hits California

California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber has introduced AB 2943 to outlaw spanking children up to 3 years old in California. It is identical to last year's AB 755, which drew national attention.

The bill will ban "any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, [or] punching." The penalties in the bill, which can be seen here, are fairly substantial. A few thoughts:

1) I don't believe in and do not practice physical discipline of my kids

2) The bill represents another state intrusion on the family and parenting rights, which is already a problem.

3) As with any government policy related to the family, there is the definite possibility of anti-male bias in the law's application. Bystanders, police officers, judges and juries may well see a mother who spanks as a poor, overburdened woman trying to control her out-of-control kids, while viewing a father who spanks as abusive.

Lenin perceptively said "Only weak governments need strong measures." I think it is often true that only weak parents--or parents who've been temporarily placed in a position of weakness--need "strong measures" like spanking or other forms of physical discipline. However, I do believe there can be extraordinary situations where spanking a young child is appropriate.

An example from my youth--my mother, my younger sister and I were near a crowded, busy street and my sister--probably age 3 or 4 at the time--bolted out into the street. My mother quickly got her and then spanked her--not because my mom was mad or scared (though I'm sure she was), but because she wanted to give my sister a quick and memorable lesson to prevent her from ever bolting out into the street again like that. I don't know that I would've handled it the same way, but it's certainly a defensible reaction, and hardly something worthy of government sanction.