Scotland to Pass Ban on Corporal Punishment
The Scottish government has announced that it supports a ban on “smacking” children. On October 19, children’s commissioners in the nation called for the law to be changed throughout the United Kingdom.
John Finnie, the justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, proposed the removal of the “justifiable assault” clause in Scottish law, saying that it will give children the same legal protection as adults. This clause uses the word “assault,” but it is essentially what makes it legal for a parent to use corporal punishment to discipline a child. The government has said it now intends to remove that clause and make it illegal for a parent to “smack,” or to spank, a child.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish government is certain the bill will, in fact, become law. “We believe physical punishment can have negative effects on children which can last long after the physical pain has died away,” she said. “We support positive parenting through, for example, funding for family support services.”
Fifty-two other countries have already banned physical punishment of children; the United Kingdom is actually one of only four countries in the European Union that have not committed to changing laws regarding the physical punishment of children. But England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, said, “The current legislation in England, which grants an exemption from the law on common assault to allow the physical punishment of children, is outdated. It should be updated to reflect what the vast majority of parents believe: that hitting children is wrong and that there are better and more effective ways of disciplining children and encouraging positive behavior.”
Finnie says that his “proposals will give children in Scotland the necessary protections to flourish in a healthy environment and encourage the building of stronger relationships between children, their parents and others who care for them.”
These lawmakers are correct in asserting that “smacking,” “assaulting” and “hitting” a child are wrong and do have negative effects on children long after the physical pain has died away. These words that they use convey images of parents physically abusing their children by lashing out against them in frustration, slapping or striking their children’s upper body, even the head and face.
However, outlawing “smacking” does more than just protect children from out-of-control parents who are doing them physical harm. Such a ban also makes outlaws out of parents who properly and calmly swat their children’s backside in a non-abusive way in order to teach them to resist wrong behaviors that harm themselves and others.
Spectator’s Rod Liddle wrote that the “smacking” ban results in “unhappy and fat children.” He said that spanking children, even before the ban, has been a “vanishing art.” “These days we are expected merely to smile indulgently as they shriek their little lungs out in a restaurant or on an airplane,” he wrote. unicef reported that these “British brats” are the least happy in the Western world. Rates of depression, anxiety, mental illness and suicide have all increased and are at a year high. “Whatever way you look at it,” Liddle continued, “we are not bringing up our children terribly well. Something is wrong—perhaps many things are.”
Liddle is right, but he only scratches the surface of properly disciplining children so that they grow up to be strong, happy, loving, loved and self-disciplined. The way to properly raise a healthy, happy, loving and loved child is not “funding for family support services.” It revolves around learning what true love for your child is, what virtues he or she should develop, and the purpose of his or her life.
“What Is Your Child’s Attitude Really Like?” by editor in chief Gerald Flurry and Wayne Turgeon covers the three basic ways to properly develop a child’s attitude: love, education and discipline. Discipline comes last, because a parent must have the proper love and proper education in order to properly discipline.
“Rebellion in a child requires you to bring him under the law. If you do not, the child, rather than the father, rules the household,” they wrote.
Isaiah 3:4 says, “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.” If parents don’t put down the rebellion in their children, they will raise rebellious youths who lack the proper respect for authority, making it impossible to discipline or correct them. They kick and scream their way through life—and in Scotland, they won’t receive so much as a spanking to snap them out of it.
There is a complete lack of teaching, let alone disciplining, in our society. How is the child supposed to know what not to do if he or she is never taught what to do? Unfortunately, in the rare case that parents actually use physical discipline, they typically do it without proper love and instruction, which are the cases reported on today that cause society to view spanking as abuse.
Liddle gave some important contributory factors that lead to our “unhappy and mad” kids of today:
And the rise of the two-working-parent families where the kids catch only fleeting glimpses of their—what is the word we are meant to use?—guardians. Yet try advancing the theory that divorce and working mums may have resulted in poorer outcomes for the nation’s children and see how far you get. The howl-round will be immediate and cacophonous.
“What Is Your Child’s Attitude Really Like?” continues:
Too many parents, with their hectic lifestyles, are unwilling to take the time to first train their children in the right behavior they desire. Then, if they do spank, they do so in frustration or anger. This kind of punishment is wrong and harmful to the child’s development. But proper, safe but effective spanking, when combined with clear teaching and lots of love, is absolutely vital in rearing children properly.
If parents aren’t around to raise their children, children will look to their authority less and less. The “healthy environment” Finnie is imagining his spanking ban will bring is in actuality a rebellious and lawless environment. It will not bring happiness or peace in a family. Our article continues:
To have happy, well-adjusted children with a right attitude, remember to love them, teach by example, and discipline in love. God is building family government through the physical family as a type of what He is ultimately building spiritually. We as parents have the sobering responsibility of rearing our children to love God’s way and the awesome future of being a part of God’s Family.
To continue reading “What Is Your Child’s Attitude Really Like?” click here.