This week, the Senate passed the following amended version of Senator Hervieux-Payette’s Bill to ban corporal punishment. The Repeal Bill 43 Committee (which I support) wished for a stronger version, but they felt this to be a very important step forward, nonetheless. Here it is:
THAT Bill S-209 be amended in clause 1, on page 1, by replacing line 5 with the following:
“repealed and replaced by the following:
43. (1) Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in
using reasonable force other than corporal punishment toward a child who is under their
care if the force is used only for the purpose of
(a) preventing or minimizing harm to the child or another person;
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that is of a criminal nature; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in excessively offensive or disruptive behavior.
(2) In subsection (1), “reasonable force” means an application of force that is transitory and minimal in the circumstances.”
Here is how the CBC covered the story. Notice there are almost 500 comments to this story. I started reading through them thinking I would add my 2 cents, but after reading pages and pages I thought better of the idea.
Frankly, I am afraid of a lynching! Maybe all the parents who wrote “I was spanked as a child and I turned out okay” should reflect on what an angry mob they are formulating. Hmmm…
I have a full post on my thoughts on spanking that I posted back in 2004 when Bill 43 was before the Senate.
What I may gather the nerve to share outside my own site is this:
1) Arguing that because you were spanked and turned out fine doesn’t shed any light on just how much MORE WONDROUS a person you might have developed into had you NOT been spanked. It’s tantamount to declaring, “I drank bleach and I didn’t die,” so that is to be taken as an endorsement for the benefits of feeding bleach to your child? I don’t think so.
2) YES, we have a parenting crisis underfoot, and parents ARE losing control of their children. My goodness, it’s almost as bad as when men lost control of their wives, and when white landowners lost control of their African American slaves. We must embrace the idea that in 2008, all people should be granted the right to respectful treatment, regardless of their race, religion, gender or age.
3) Our knee-jerk reaction to loss of control is to use MORE control and MORE physical domination to get underlings back in line and prevent a revolt. We have a hard time understanding how to move from our historical model of external control over children, to adopting new methods of stimulating cooperation and developing an internal locus of control and a true desire to behave in adaptive, helpful ways.
4) Parents need to be educated about why 4 year olds have tantrums and how to respond to misbehavior in a way that is effective. “No spanking” doesn’t mean “no discipline.” There are other child guidance practices that are non-punitive and evidence-based research proves they are the better way!
What do you think? Shall I dare post this to the CBC? If I do, will you come support me there too?