Sunday, March 22, 2009

What did you learn today, kid?

I've been having an argument with Anna over at the Hand Mirror about Boscawen's proposed bill to modify the worst features of Bradford's S59 amendment (Grant posted on it further down).

My view is that Boscawen's got rich political pickings here, and if lefties don't like that they should blame Sue Bradford and Helen Clark for it, not ACT and Family First. But anyhoo, among the usual strawmen and false analogies offered by anti-smackers was this:

...during the 90s, ACT went to the polls with a policy of lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12. So a few years ago, ACT thought of children as calculating, rational and culpable creatures that needed to be called to account in the dock. Now, they're dumb things that need to be hit so they can learn.

Leaving aside the fact that a 12-year-old isn't someone you're able to discipline with a slap on the arse, I'm interested in the idea that smackers supposedly think kids need to be hit so they can learn.

The bit about needing to be hit to learn was presumably hyperbole, but it did cause me to ponder what I actually learned from the occasional thoroughly well-deserved smack I got as a kid. According to liberals, what I learned was that violence is a good means of getting your own way, but given that the last time I threw a punch was in school, that lesson doesn't seem to have worked too well. I think what I actually learned from my parents smacking me was more like this:

1. Behaviour has consequences.

2. If you behave badly enough, the consequences can get swift and unpleasant.

3. If there's a credible threat, you pay attention to warnings.

4. If you push people far enough, they will hurt you.

5. It's possible for situations to arise in which even otherwise placid and charitable people are best served by some carefully targeted violence.

It may not be the stuff of which episodes of "The Waltons" are made, but frankly I think these are good, valuable lessons and I'm glad my parents troubled themselves to teach them to me. Perhaps liberals manage to get the same lessons across to their own kids in some way, but I have my suspicions about that.

13 comments:

WAKE UP said...

Hope this doesn't read as off-topic:

In a very small village I lived in a long time ago, two liberal parents wouldn't let their two healthy boys have guns as toys (for the usual social engineering reasons)- so the little buggers kept stealing my boy's toy guns (of course:)

...until I kicked their arses.

I rest my case.

WAKE UP said...

Back on topic: isn't the real point of the Bradford obsession- fiasco (apart from the thousands of wasted dollars and man-hours debating the damn thing), the fact that it hasn't made the slightest bit of difference to our incidence of real child abuse and death?

In fact, a case can probably be made that it has provided a distraction and cover to avoid dealing with the real stuff.

macdoctor said...

Good Post, PM. I think you are bang on the money when you talk about consequences. Kids who don't learn that actions have consequences tend to wind up thinking violence is an acceptable way to deal with things.

An occasional light smack does not do this, but inattentive parenting does.

Inventory2 said...

Excellent post Milt. Our young get so much teaching nowdays about their rights, but it's not counterbalanced by teaching about responsibilities. And it's that attitude which underpinned Bradford's legislation. But let's get real. Children are NOT "little aduts". It is an essential part of their development that they learn about rights and wrongs, and of the consequences of doing wrong.

Anonymous said...

I hold hope for your kids, PM. When they learn from their father that there are non negotiable boundaries, they are unlikely to develop into obstreperous self-centered arseholes.

I have largely cut off from social contact some friends whose children are not corrected. They regard reasoning as a substitute for an order. The kids just see it as weakness and continue to misbehave accordingly. They can do what they like in their own little world but it is a lot easier when I don't allow it to spill over into mine.

George

Lucy said...

I learnt the same lessons from my parents. My son learnt the same lessons from me.

And guess what neither my son or I were ever beaten. We were smacked.

Unfortunately the likes of Sue Bradford et al don't seem to no the difference or even that there is a difference if they did they would not have bought in that stupid law.

Lou Taylor said...

Great post Milt. I went to a meeting to listen to Bradford put her case. She only used the word "beating" not smacking, so it was pretty obvious to 99% of people in the room, that she was a complete nutbar.Boscawen will get much political milage out of this. ACT should stand him in a seat next time.

Psycho Milt said...

I don't believe there's a moral high ground to be occupied here. I've smacked my kids on occasion and they're well-behaved. My brother's kids have been raised the liberal way and are also well-behaved. If you're any use as a parent that's generally going to be the outcome - and if you're no use as a parent you can smack them or not smack them as much as you like, the outcome most likely isn't going to be well-behaved kids. I don't see any way to alter that through legislation, and Bradford was stupid to imagine she could.

Gooner said...

It's not about smacking.

It's about parents being responsible for their children and not the State. It's about the State getting the fu*k out of parents lives. That's what it's about.

Mr Dennis said...

Great post PM, and good points made all round. I am waiting to see the wording of the actual bill, I'm keen to see if it specifies that you cannot use an "object" to discipline your kids, like the proposed Borrows amendment did.

In my mind it is a complete waste of time to say whether you can only smack with an open hand or anything like that, because that is not the issue - the issue is whether kids are being abused. You can lightly tap kids with an object, and you can beat them to death with your bare hands.

Unfortunately I expect this irrelevant point will be in there and continue to make this a debate about how you can discipline your kids, rather than a law to stop child abuse. Hopefully we get to see the actual wording soon.
http://sjdennis.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/smacking-with-a-wooden-spoon/

Socrates said...

“I don't believe there's a moral high ground to be occupied here. I've smacked my kids on occasion and they're well-behaved. My brother's kids have been raised the liberal way and are also well-behaved. If you're any use as a parent that's generally going to be the outcome - and if you're no use as a parent you can smack them or not smack them as much as you like, the outcome most likely isn't going to be well-behaved kids. I don't see any way to alter that through legislation, and Bradford was stupid to imagine she could.”

I am glad you added this bit PM :-)

I think Macdoctor said the most important bit “Kids who don't learn that actions have consequences tend to wind up thinking violence is an acceptable way to deal with things.”

Kids need to have boundaries, and too know the consequences of those boundaries, and then have those enforced without fail. Personally I believe that you don’t need to smack your child to enforce this, and don’t/won’t, but I don’t see that it’s my business or the States as to how other parents parent their children.

Consequences/punishments [whatever they may be] are only as effective how they are enforced.

Anonymous said...

"violence is an acceptable way to deal with things.”

violence is an acceptable way to deal with things.
Anyone who thinks it is not is naive in the extreme
(hello libertarians)

Everyone believes that violence should be used to deal with crime. There are some (minor) differences about how much violence, and who may apply that violence. Libertarians and Lefties, for example, believe that such violence may only be employed by the state. Other people are quite happy for violence to be employed by individuals.

Lefties believe that violence should be used in many other areas of society

Unionists, for example, believe that violence should be used to deal with workplace disputes.

Maori Nationalists believe that violence should be used against "Waitiis"

Labourists and Greenies believe that violence should be used to deal with the "rich".

observer said...

Macdoctor said

“Kids who don't learn that actions have consequences tend to wind up thinking violence is an acceptable way to deal with things.”

These are the ones who grow up to
- hurl abuse at pensioners as they steal their handbags and wallets

- walk the downtown streets at 3 am looking for drunks to sexually abuse (both sexes do it)

- threaten teachers to the point where no sensible young person wants teaching as a career

- throw bottles onto cricket pitches

and a thousand other things that liberal adults decry as a society out of control.

Will they learn - will the hades, but you know what, when they have their own children they seem to want them to behave properly and are not afraid to deliver a smack if they don't.

PS The truth will set you free, but it will pi55 of a lot of people first!