Thursday, May 17, 2007

Big Brother is here

The so-called "anti-smacking bill" just got passed through parliament. Apparently now parents are no longer allowed to use any sort of physical force towards their child in order to discipline or correct them. I am all for not hitting children, but isn't this taking it a bit too far? I mean I can remember only 2 times in my entire life that I was hit by my parents, and I know that each time I more than deserved it. But thats precisely the point - I never forgot those times. It does make a difference. It should only be used as a last resort of course, but to say that parents have no rights to decide how to bring up their children is truly sad. As I said, big brother is here. Now people are told how to raise their children?

The ironic thing is that I cant really see a lot of good coming out of this in the first place. I mean perhaps the intentions were in the right place - there are some parents out there who do physically abuse their children - and that is not alright. But will this really stop those people? Is a drunk angry father who needs to take out his frustration on someone going to stop and think about the anti-smacking bill before he hits his child? And if you argue that this gives right of prosecution to the police - they already had that anyway - because it is already a crime to abuse a child. The only thing was that if it was not a huge incident and used to correct the child, it wasn't categorised as a crime.

But now it is. Sure, apparently the opposition came up with a compromise where the police have the ability to use their discretion regarding the seriousness of the incident, and thus can decide whether to prosecute. But the point is, come six weeks, as soon as you so much as touch your child with a miniscule amount of force, you are technically a criminal. Sure, noone may complain, but is a thief who isn't caught by the police not a criminal?

And then when it comes to complaining, can you imagine what kids can do with this. Kids today are so media aware that of course they will bring this up with their parents. My mother is a teacher, and she tells me that seven and eight year old kids know that if a teacher uses any physical force towards a child, she is liable to the police. And they dont stop from using this as a threat. So how would you stop a child saying to a parent 'dont you dare touch me or I'll call the police'. What will happen to basic respect that a child has for a parent? And what kind of a society will that be?

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