Spanking and Other Punishments

(h/t: Mark Peters)

Interesting story at Canada.com
Removing the parental defence in the Criminal Code to prevent parents from spanking their children could lead to parents being slapped with assault charges for something as simple as trying to strap a screaming toddler into a car seat or forcing them to wear boots instead of sandals in the winter, Justice department lawyers warned a senate committee Monday.
Testifying before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, Justice Department officials Gillian Blackell and Elissa Lieff warned that the threshold for charges of simple assault is very low and the Criminal Code is a very blunt instrument. Technically, all that is needed is the intent to apply any force against someone’s will, they said.
Consequently, without section 43 of the Criminal Code — which allows parents to use reasonable force by way of correction — parents could easily face criminal charges, they warned.
"If section 43 was simply repealed, any non-consensual force that a parent or teacher uses on a child or pupil could be an assault given the broad definition under the Criminal Code," said Blackell. "There would no longer be a statutory defence to criminal charges where the force used is minor corrective force of a transitory or trifling nature. Parents who physically put a reluctant child in a car seat or remove a child to their bedroom for a time-out are applying nonconsensual force and could be convicted of simple assault."
The Supreme Court has already put limits on the way in which parents can use force to correct their children, they added.
The Justice Department officials were the last to testify Monday as the committee wrapped up its hearings into a bill tabled by Quebec Liberal Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette which could open the door to parents who routinely spank their children being hit with charges of assault.
The bill, which now goes to clause by clause consideration, would remove the defence currently contained in section 43 of the Criminal Code for parents and educators who resort to corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure.
In a comprehensive report tabled in April on the rights of children, the committee recommended that section 43 of the Criminal Code be repealed by April 2009. The committee also recommended the government launch an information campaign on the negative effects of corporal punishment, research alternative methods of discipline and examine whether alternate defences should be made available to those charged with assaulting a child.
Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk, chairwoman of the committee and a former judge, said the challenge for the committee now will be how to balance its desire to prevent corporal punishment while still allowing parents the possibility of using reasonable restraint.
Currently, following a Supreme Court ruling, it is illegal for parents to strike a child under the age of two or over the age of 12. However, it is legal to use reasonable force "by way of correction" for children between those ages.

This is yet another attempt by the state to parent our kids. Parents should parent. The government can barely manage the country. It will not be managing my home, thank you very much.
It is alarming to me that there are so many people who confuse spanking with hitting, beating and child abuse. It is unfortunate that abuse abounds to the point that people cannot tell the difference.
Abuse is wrong. There is no reason to justify it.
Spanking is not abuse. It is a tool. Spanking has its proper place and time. It should not be used for everything. Indeed, it cannot since it will not correct everything. Parents who spank must always be careful to control their anger in order to avoid crossing the line. If spanking is to be used, it must be used in a consistent manner as a first line of defense and not as a last resort because the parent has "had it" with their kid. Typically, such an attitude is indicative of frustration and anger.
It is of paramount importance that children learn to accept authority. They must also learn to accept no for an answer. If they do not, they will never learn to be in authority and deal in that authority correctly. If children do not learn to accept a no, they will never learn to deliver a no effectively and will forever be manipulated and manipulating.
Parents have different views on what is best for their child. They know what is best because they have the immediate experience. Parenting requires a great deal of thinking on one's feet. The government has no right to dictate what is or is not a correct approach to parenting. They should stick to the business of managing healthcare and stop meddling.


Jeff Davidson said...

spanking is assault... pure and simple. if you're not clever enough to manage your children w/o assaulting them, you shouldn't be anywhere near kids.

Ardvark said...

"It is of paramount importance that children learn to accept authority. They must also learn to accept no for an answer. If they do not, they will never learn to be in authority and deal in that authority correctly. If children do not learn to accept a no, they will never learn to deliver a no effectively and will forever be manipulated and manipulating."

Substitute the word Liberal for child/children, and you have a very accurate description of the way the Liberal Party of Canada governs.


Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY agree. We should also let husbands and wives be able to slap each other - JUST A LIGHT SLAP! - when they get really frustrated with each other.

Also, bring back the strap at school.

Ruth said...

Jeff and Anonymous,
You have both articulated the most common misconception regarding spanking.
Anonymous, as I already stated, spanking is NOT to be done in frustration. That defeats the purpose.
Jeff, spanking simply is not assault. There are many parents who use it very effectively and love their children dearly. Your accusation is not only unfounded, but unfair.
You have to understand how it is that a child's brain develops. They simply are not born with an adults level of understanding. It takes time to develop. To explain every decision to your child is simply a waste of time. It doesn't matter what words you use, they don't get it. The ability to rationalize doesn't develop until about 7 years old. Until this time, in order to teach a child how to act, you need the simplest method possible. Copious amounts of praise for good behaviour and immediate punishment for bad behavoiur works very well.

John M Reynolds said...

I was subjected to both assault and spanking when I was a kid. The assault was always when my father had been angry. The spanking was different because he was calm. The spanking was nothing. The assault was significant. There is a huge difference.

Hannah said...

This article frightens me. How can a parent raise their children if any and all means of disciple are taken away from them? Assault for strapping an unwilling child into a car seat? Sending a child to a time out could be considered abuse?

This has taken things much too far. The government has no business in the private lives of individuals.

Also, to Jeff and Anonymous. If you cannot see the obvious conclusion of the above article, I suggest you go back to college and take "Logic 101". It's not just about spanking, it is about using any reasonable force whatsoever to enforce rules and order upon a child. Without rules and order, a child's life becomes chaotic and unstable. This results in a very insecure child with no end of social impairments.

Anton said...

I agree with Jeff Davidson when he says:

"spanking is assault... pure and simple. if you're not clever enough to manage your children w/o assaulting them, you shouldn't be anywhere near kids."

Any child, just like any adult can be reasoned with and made to comply simply by phrasing your point with the correct words.

Therefore I am also in favour of disbanding all SWAT teams and police should no longer carry guns or be trained in submission holds etc. A clever officer can 100% of the time convince a criminal to cease and desist with a well crafted sentence. The officer should never assault the suspect by forcing his will upon them.

If they can't do this they shouldn't be anywhere near criminals.

Anonymous said...

What a motley collection of dumbasses that find their way to this site.

BTW, Ruth, your understanding of early childhood development is pretty sparse. Teaching children to articulate their feelings - and teaching them the words to describe their frustrations - develops the 'forward' brain's capacity that is associated with rational thinking, over the emotional reactions that are typical of misbehaviour at a young age.

Anton: Children and criminals are slightly different, so your analogy is crap.

Spanking just teaches kids that violence and physical coercion are acceptable final resorts when you don't get what you want. It works well for parents that were spanked, as they lack the capacity or imagination to solve the problem without resorting to violence, thereby completing the cycle.

Anyhow, carry on hitting your kids.

Anonymous said...

'Spanking is not to be done in frustration' Come on, please. Do you just randomly spank your kids? Or do you give them empty platitudes about how it hurts you more than it hurts them, and that you hit them because you love them? Isn't that what abusive husbands say? What a crock.

I was spanked all through my childhood and it is a waste of time. It is embarrassing for the parents and serves no purpose other than telling kids: "when it comes down to it, violence is the final answer".

Ruth said...

To the two most recent anonymous posters, you are both wrong. Spanking, done correctly, is neither violent nor does it teach violence. It is a tool only; neutral in and of itself. It can be used either well or poorly.
Also, at no point did I ever that you don't need to teach your kids how to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Of course you do. But it takes time. If you begin with a lecture at two, yo are wasting your time. Your kid doesn't understand. They don't even understand that crap comes out of their ass. You have to teach them this.

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