Family First is warning politicians that an outcome of voting for Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking’ bill is that children will report their parents to the police when they don’t like parental discipline and correction.
Prominent QC Peter McKenzie, in his opinion released last week, highlights this when he says “complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges.”
“And this is consistent with international experience,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Supt Logan, the deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London and Britain’s most senior black policeman said at the weekend(1) that parents no longer use physical punishment because they fear they will end up in court facing an assault charge. He said that the results have been a decline in respect, a rise in family breakdowns and an increasing number of children being put up for adoption. He made these comments during an inquiry into patterns of crime among black men.
In Sweden (where smacking was banned in 1979), the Nordic Committee for Human Rights says(2) “Children have been informed of their rights and so they use their rights to demand more freedom to do as they please. They report their parents in the aim of obtaining freedom, unaware of the consequences of their report to the social authorities or the police…When the children realise the seriousness of their accusations they try to withdraw them, but they are held to their stories – without any consideration of the damages that the children themselves incur.”
“The resentment that the parents feel towards their children whose unacceptable behaviour was the direct cause of the charges against the parents, has resulted in the loss of normal, loving parental guidance for these children. The guilt felt by the children has also seriously damaged the parent/child relationship.” (cases in detail below)
Mr McCoskrie says that if politicians pass Sue Bradford’s bill, it will only increase the likelihood of disgruntled children making complaints against their parents because of resentment against correction, ‘time out’, or denial of privileges.
“This will pit children against their parents, and will place parents under extreme pressure,” says Mr McCoskrie. “This would be a totally unacceptable situation for parents who need a level of authority in order to raise their children in the best environment possible. It is already happening in NZ, with the recent example of a teenager effectively ‘divorcing’ her parent because she didn’t like the family rules.”
In an attempt to protect children from the small minority of parents who are obviously unsuitable to hold the responsibilities of parenting, we are steam-rolling good parents who deserve the backing of the state – not undermining and potentially criminalising.
Mr McCoskrie says that a child’s rights should never be at the expense of the parental right to nurture, protect and set boundaries in a family setting. Rights of children have been shifted from simply protecting vulnerable children to granting them rights that are destructive to them, to good parenting practice, and to the welfare of the whole family in which they are being raised.