"Don’t smack me……or else!"

Imagine a law that prevents a father, a mother or the guardian of a child from disciplining. Parents are not allow – by law – to lay a hand on a child. So when a parent is having problems with a particularly disobedient child, he or she must “control” the child using stern language, rather than clipping the kid around the ear. Can you imagine a law like that? Well, the small nation of New Zealand has such a law and as recently as two days ago, a father was bought up on charges for “flicking his son’s ear”. It seems that the father – a musician and a known “good” father – got pissed off with his young son causing trouble in the city one day, he grabbed the boy and “flicked” his ear. A passer-by, saw the “ear-flicking” and called a police officer. The boy was asked “Did dad hit you son?” The kid – not fully understanding the question – replied “Yes”, so Dad was arrested and dragged before the courts.

Dad was fined, placed on probation and ordered to take anger management classes, for the next nine months. What probation means is that; Dad now has to have supervision by a court appointed “child care” person each time he takes his children out without his wife. The child that was presumably hit, keeps asking dad, “Why is that grey-headed old lady always with us?” Dad wants to reply, “Because you told the police officer I beat you and the courts wanted to use me as an example, so they gave us old Mrs. Grey-hair for the next nine months”. But, Dad can’t say that, he lies and says, “The old grey-headed lady is wanting to have her own kids, but she is so fugly, old and fat that that will never happen. She asked if she could follow us around for awhile.” The kid smiles up at his Dad and says, “Oh, I see, yeah dad she is fugly.”

So, there you have it – readers and writers – New Zealand, that small nation at the bottom of the planet, has a law that says parent’s cannot smack their children. While the intention – of this law – is probably to ward off child abusers and protect the safety of children, it can get a little out of hand as the above case shows. Children need that clip around the ear, that wack on the ass or that smack on the hand, when they are out of control. Speaking sternly to a child works on some occasions but often a physical response is the only way. The passer-by that reported the discipling act to the police, should have viewed the situation more carefully and then acted accordingly. The courts, also, should have checked to see whether the father had a history of violent behaviour – had he hit his children before and if so what were the circumstances. If the court had done its “homework” perhaps they would have found the entirely incident a “storm in a tea-cup” and throwing it out.

Interesting to note here; the new government will have a special referendum in coming months, to decide whether to change this “Anti-smacking law” or abolish the whole thing. I’m for abolishment.


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