Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

False arguments against smacking

Leading children’s charity, NCH Scotland, is urging the Scottish Parliament to support a banon smacking children because, according to the charity, smacking discriminates against children.

The charity claims that under Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children’s rights are to be protected against discrimination. They think it is wrong that adults can be prosecuted for assaulting adults but not for smacking their children (BBC News Online 26 September 2006)

False arguments against smacking

  • “Hitting people is wrong – children are people too”
    “Hitting” is a deliberately emotive and misleading word. Where smacking is used the intention is to train children how to behave and to equip them for adult life.
  • “Children should have the same protection as adults”
    For obvious reasons children are not allowed to drive, marry or own a firearms licence. No-oneclaims ‘inequality’ on these issues and it is ridiculous to apply this argument to smacking. Smacking is specific to children as they are dependent upon their parents and need to betaught right from wrong.
  • “If smacking works, why do you have to keep doing it?”
    This is like saying if school works, why do children have to keep going? The same argument could be used against any parenting technique or any law which is broken on a single occasion.
  • “Smacking escalates to child abuse”
    Most parents who smack their children are not child abusers. The overwhelming proportion of parents know what is reasonable. Evidence from Sweden shows banning smacking actually increased child abuse.
  • “Smacking teaches children to be violent”
    The majority of people were smacked themselves as children, and are now law abiding citizens, not violent abusers.
Smacking a child is not like assaulting an adult
  • Despite the repeated calls for a ban, the public remain opposed to such a move.
  • The Government’s own survey found that 88% of the public believed it was sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child
    (Protecting Children, Supporting Parents: A Consultation Document on the Physical Punishment of Children, Department of Health, 2000, pages 20-21)
  • The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, admitted in an interview last year that he had smacked both his elder sons. He said, “I think everybody knows the difference between smacking a kid and abusing a child” Daily Telegraph, 28 November 2006
The Bible teaches that parents,
and not the state,
have a God-given authority over their children

Christians believe that discipline is part of love,
that the benefits last a life-time and that
smacking is one means which most parents choose
to discipline their children

What the law says:
Despite impressions given to the contrary it is perfectly legal for parents
to smack their children.

Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 continues to allow the defence of “reasonable chastisement”.

It specifically bans all blows to the head, all shaking, and all use of implements and, in respect of the incidents involving shaking or implements, the Procurators Fiscal and the courts are barred from considering whether there was actually any harm or threat of harm to the child.

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