The anti-smacking law brought in last year appears to be effective in persecuting good parents and wasting police time while our houses continue to be burgled, our children cut their feet on deliberately smashed glass bottles, and gangs intimidate many communities. I have not seen a gender break-down of those parents attracting police attention, warnings or prosecutions for using physical force in disciplining their children but one can assume it will be mainly men who are now harassed for their sense of responsibility in shaping and managing their children’s behaviour.
This story on Stuff tells of a father who is surrounded by six police after he flicked the ear of his 3-year-old son. This terrible assault was administered when the 3-year-old would not obey the father’s order to stop riding his bike in a situation where the father could not provide the necessary supervision because he was assisting the boy’s 2-year-old injured brother. No doubt the father even dared to raise his voice in the stressful situation he was trying to manage. Clearly another threatening, violent male who should have been locked up at birth for having a penis.
(Bradford should have outlawed male voice-raising towards children too, after all that would be considered offensive behaviour if directed at another adult so why should children be given any lesser rights? For that matter, ordering another adult to stop riding his/her bike would also be inappropriate so why should we be allowed to subject children to such authoritarian power and control? What’s the matter with our society, don’t we see that we should protect children by giving them the same rights as adults?)
According to the article the father frequently took his sons out to ride on their bikes. But from his society there was no commendation for his great contribution to his children’s upbringing, just an official police warning that will be recorded on his criminal history file branding him a violent undesirable. As a male he should have known not to risk even being seen around children, and hopefully he has learned his lesson: stay out of his children’s lives and don’t dare try to manage their behaviour. Hopefully, his children now will be given no further chance to ride their bikes and they will be kept safe at home watching tv where they will be protected from all trauma and violence.
The article was notable in that it highlighted the failure of the police to come up with any suggestion about how the father could have managed the situation legally. Imagine if you are administering urgent care to a 2-year-old and the 3-year-old brother will not obey your command to stop doing something dangerous. Who can come up with an efficient and effective approach that will stop the 3-year-old immediately from continuing the dangerous behaviour, reduce his likelihood of ignoring the parent’s instructions in future, while enabling the parent to continue providing assistance to the younger child with minimal distraction? Perhaps the father should have just left the 2-year-old to suffer while he gave a gentle explanation to the 3-year-old about how important it was that he obeyed the father’s instruction. Or perhaps the father should have found a time-out room somewhere nearby to put the 3-year-old in; oh but I forgot, that might require the father to use physical force to take the boy to the time-out room, also illegal. After all, we wouldn’t be allowed to physically force another adult into a time-out room so why should we be allowed to do that to children? Perhaps the father should have got down on his knees and pleaded with the child to stop riding his bike for a few minutes. Yes, that must be the right way.
Also notable in the article was the father’s reference to one of the big lies of the anti-smacking lobby. Bradford and her supporters claimed that adults are legally protected from disciplinary assault therefore children should be too. The truth is that adults are not protected from disciplinary force. They are given a right not to be touched against their will or otherwise subjected to physical force by other civilians, although even that right is limited. However, any adult will be readily and legally assaulted, batoned, tasered, rammed, shot, handcuffed and/or physically forced into prison cells by the state and its authorized agents. Ah, but that gives us the solution to the father’s dilemma; he should have called the police to come and apply the requisite physical force to stop the 3-year-old from riding his bike and to teach the child to obey instructions. That is the current reality; children have been given almost equal rights as adults to be protected from disciplinary force so only agents of the state are now authorized to administer any such force. We might have to increase police numbers a tad so they can be available to intervene in every instance of child misbehaviour.
It’s sad that the members of the community who reported this man to the police did not instead provide some sensible assistance by, for example, keeping the 3-year-old’s bike from him and looking after that boy while the father helped the younger child. Of course, that would have subjected any such community member to the risk of allegations that their intervention was inappropriate. Their response in calling the police was an indication of the fear and disempowerment adults now experience when it comes to dealing with children.
A related outcome of the Bradford amendment is that it sets people increasingly against each other. Citizens are encouraged to spy on parents and to nark on them for any minor transgressions. This kind of thing is typical of socialist and totalitarian governments, based on the old “divide and rule” trick.
Of course, the much-reported police involvement to date concerning the anti-smacking amendment tells only part of the story. As well as police warnings, these errant parents will be reported to CYFS and that’s when they will really get the persecution they deserve. It serves them right; where on earth did they get the idea that they could discipline their children in other than manipulative, feminist-approved ways?