To Spank or Not to Spank

July 24, 2001
Letter to the Editor

The heavy handed action by Children's Aid Society in the case of the Aylmer, Ontario family is reprehensible. They forcefully took away seven children from their parents against their will and without any good reason or just cause. They broke up a normal home simply to prove that the establishment has more rights and power than the natural family or individual citizen.

In the first place, it's not up to bureaucrats within the government, the CAS, or the UN to decide whether parents can spank their children or not. It's up to the parents! Or are we now living in an era where the state can claim our children as their human capital and the family has been relegated to the lowly position of simply the provider of that human capital?

From most reports, it becomes obvious that CAS and anti-spanking "experts" don't differentiate between spanking a child as a disciplinary measure and hitting a child in anger. Nor do these people consider what makes the difference between an orderly society and a violent one.

In Switzerland, where I grew up, spanking has always been considered part of the disciplinary arsenal parents have for bringing up children in decent fashion. It was a punishment reserved for very specific, and usually, repeated offences (lying, stealing, swearing, bullying, vandalism, and reprehensible behaviour qualified). It was meted out sparingly and never in haste, anger, or without explanation. The punishment was always preceded with a lecture on character, decorum, and the detrimental effects the
offending deed could have on the good name of the family. After the formality of the spanking, the offender was usually ostracized and held incommunicado for the rest of the day and, depending on the severity of the misdemeanour, sent to bed without supper. The spanking was administered by laying on vigorously, across the bare backside, with a small bundle of birch switches. This formidable weapon was called "Aunt Greta" and resided behind the main hall mirror in most homes. "Aunt Greta" neither crippled nor
maimed, but few kids ever needed more than one visit from the much respected "Aunt." Kids requiring more than a couple such treatments were considered "uncool" by the rest in our juvenile society, and that in itself was usually enough to put them on the straight and narrow. By the time a child was 10 years-of-age, a plateau of social conduct was usually reached where the threat of spanking was no longer needed.

Lately, here in Canada and the U.S., there has been a gathering rumble of debate over corporal punishment within the home and school. Strangely, the debate has only centred around whether spanking a child should be legal or not and what it means in terms of human rights, rather than why, when, where, and how such last-resort punishment might serve a useful purpose.

The governments, bowing to pressure from the U.N. and modern political correctness, want to abolish corporal punishment. Psychiatrists and psychologists are concocting statistics, among their many other nefarious endeavours, to point the finger of blame for a host of social maladjustments to the "cruel and unusual" aspects of child-spanking. Why, when, where, and how spanking of the child may serve a useful purpose is never discussed. As a father and grandfather, my firm belief and experience is that spanking a child is a measure rarely required when parents lead by example, with patience, and tender, loving care. However, if it becomes necessary, it is a punishment that should be meted out with discrete determination: never in anger, at random, or without explanation or good reason.

However, it is not for the government to say whether parents can spank their children or not. Nor is it up to the U.N. or the psychiatrists and psychologists to tell parents how to raise their offspring. And the CAS would do well to concentrate on real child abuse cases, of which there are many-including sexual abuse cases involving children placed in foster homes by the CAS. The Children's Aid Society has no moral right to tear a normal family apart simply because the parents won't promise not to spank their

Jann Flury
870 Monaghan Ave, Oshawa, ON. L1J 6Z4 905-571-4811

Phone 1-905-571-4811
Fax 1-905-571-4881


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