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UN agency scolds Canada for allowing spanking

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Haven't we taken child discipline a little too far now, my god we seemed to survive spankings and most of us turned out just fine. Now the UN says that we can't even give a child a light slap! What is the next step for our children and their children, give birth and leave them in a house to do what they please?

UN agency scolds Canada for allowing spanking
_
Steven Edwards
CanWest News Service

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

UNITED NATIONS - The UN has told the Canadian government to ban all forms of corporal punishment of youngsters -- including even a light slap.

The ruling, handed down by a committee of the world body, comes as a poll yesterday showed Canadians are evenly split when it comes to spanking by Mom or Dad, but on the whole against allowing teachers to hit children.

Spanking is also before the Supreme Court of Canada, which is weighing a petition to repeal a federal law that lets parents, teachers or guardians apply "reasonable force" to discipline a minor.

Traditional family rights groups in Canada yesterday expressed dismay at the UN ruling, but children's rights groups are expected to use it to boost their calls for stricter laws.

Ottawa appeared to be for and against the ruling at the same time.

"While the government does not support spanking of children, it is also against the criminalization of parents for lightly disciplining their kids," said Chris Girouard, spokesman for the Department of Justice. "It's whatever is in the child's best interests."

The UN ruling was issued after Ottawa sent a large delegation of experts and government officials to Geneva, where the 18 experts of the world body's Committee on Rights of the Child questioned them on Canada's child care record. In a report, the committee says Canada should "adopt legislation to remove the existing authorization of the use of 'reasonable force' in disciplining children, and explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against children, however light, within the family, in schools and in other institutions where children might be placed."

As a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Canada is obliged to make periodic appearances before the committee. The rulings of such treaty committees cannot override national law, but Ottawa tries to accommodate their recommendations to give the UN an argument for encouraging the spread of international norms.

Senator Landon Pearson led the Canadian delegation as Jean Chrétien's representative, but her spokeswoman said yesterday she would not comment because the issue is before the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Toronto Public Health released results of a survey of more than 2,000 Canadians showing 51% believe parents should be prevented from using physical force against children. The figure rose to 60% if guidelines were in place to prevent prosecution for "mild spanking" and 69% said teachers should be banned from hitting children. The margin of error of the survey -- a few percentage points either way -- suggests Canadians are evenly split when it comes to spanking without guidelines.

Based on that, conservative groups say Ottawa is deferring too much to the world body.

"This ruling is another example of the UN infringing on our own national concerns," said John-Henry Westen, spokesman for LifeSiteNews.com, an online monitor of family values.

"When a child is young and cannot understand, a tap on the hand is essential for training. We have a wood-burning stove that gets very hot. It's ridiculous that I can't save my child from burning himself by tapping his hand away from it."

In an interview yesterday, the committee member responsible for communicating with Canada said such a child would learn quickly enough not to touch a hot stove.

"If he puts his hand on a hot oven, he will be burnt and he will not do it again," said Moushira Khattab of Egypt. Ms. Khattab admitted to having lightly disciplined her own two children, now adults. But she added she now knows better.

"There are other means," she said. "Children are very smart, and even when they are as young as two or three months old, they will understand if you have a tough look, or change the tone of your voice, or turn away from them.

"The body language is the first language that they know. This hurts much more than a spank."

The committee routinely tells every country that appears before it to pass laws banning corporal punishment. Only the United States and Somalia are not members of the convention and so are not subject to the committee's rulings.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule before the year's end on the constitutionality of the "spanking law" after hearing arguments by the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law that it violates the right of all Canadians to be treated equally.

©_Copyright _2003_National Post
post #2 of 23
Oh this is ridiculous. What happens if a child goes to run into the street they should just let them, after all after being hit by a car they wouldn't do it again.
post #3 of 23
I saw an article in a NZ newspaper that spanking will be outlawed in NZ in 2005.

In all my life, I have only ever been spanked once. I just didnt misbehave. So I can not really say if it is a good or bad thing not to spank.
Personally, I do not like the idea of hitting my son, why inflict pain to say that something is wrong, its like teaching the kid that it is okay to hit if someone does not listen to you.

I am still on the fence with that one.

post #4 of 23
I hope no one spanks their children to inflict pain. I was spanked and I don't remember it hurting. It was done with my father's hand and it was never done when he was angry. I have only had 2-3 spankings in my life, because I didn't need anymore than that. Not that I was perfect by a long shot, but I learned to obey. Also, spankings were reserved for outright defiance. We were punished in other ways for not doing your homework, etc. - by priveleges being taken away.

Parents have to have the freedom to raise their children. Spanking (done in the correct manner) can teach your children that you mean what you say and a much more pleasant child is the outcome.
post #5 of 23
There are already laws on the books for child abuse, i.e. if a parent or guardian uses more than "light" corporal discipline.

There are still such atrocities in the world that I would think that the UN has some more pressing issues to deal with rather than whether Canadians spank their children as a form of discipline. I don't know, perhaps the whole situation in Iraq perhaps???

I hate to see the day when the only means that a parent has to discipline their children is a "tough look". After spanking is gone, what else will be inhumane? Time-outs? Telling them they are bad or disappointing? There are so many kids who are completely out of control, and even the "good" kids get away with things that I certainly would have never even thought of doing growing up. (For the record, I could count on one hand the number of times I was spanked, and rest assured I deserved every one of them! I grew up in a well disciplined house, but spanking was only used as the last resort.)

The part of this issue that I'm torn on is the teachers being allowed to use corporal punishment. They haven't been allowed to do that here since I was in elementary school. (Although it wasn't legally outlawed, I don't think. The schools faced too many lawsuits from parents to allow it.) At the same time, I've also seen firsthand that the whole idea of discipline in schools is a joke when I was a high school teacher for a short time. I'm not saying there *should* be spanking allowed in schools, but there does need to be some discipline. As it stands now in the States the schools' hands are tied so tight that some kids literally run amok and learn next to nothing.
post #6 of 23
I think spanking is useless. It only conveys one message: when people disagree with what you believe is right, then it's okay to resort to violence. Heck, most people here will say it's not okay to hit your cat, so why would you hit your kid.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DTetrev
Oh this is ridiculous. What happens if a child goes to run into the street they should just let them, after all after being hit by a car they wouldn't do it again.
Quote:
Originally posted by valanhbThere are still such atrocities in the world that I would think that the UN has some more pressing issues to deal with rather than whether Canadians spank their children as a form of discipline. I don't know, perhaps the whole situation in Iraq perhaps???
DTetrev, I think that if a child runs out into the street and gets hit by a car they might not have a 2nd chance. They could die!

Valanhb, I tend to agree with you I think that the UN has more important issues in front of them right now and they should leave the spanking of children on the back burner, way back!

Next thing you'll know the UN will be telling people that they cannot HUG OR EVEN TOUCH their children......so what's next?
post #8 of 23
This is getting ridiculous. I was spanked when I was younger, chased with wooden spoons (Italian mother.. lol) and hit with the belt, but there is nothing wrong with me, I am not a violent person.

I feel that if you cant even lightly spank your child on the butt there is no way they are ever going to learn certain things!! You can yell at them till you're blue in the face, punish them in their room, but if they have nothing to be 'afraid' of, they are just going to repeat the mistakes. I learned to be afraid of getting a spanking, so I would try to be on my best behaviour. I dont feel that flat palm spanking on the butt is a form of violence at all.

And cats are different, because they dont realize what's going on, you cant hold a conversation with them and tell them what they did wrong like you can a child.
post #9 of 23
OK, I'll fess up. I spank my kids. Know what though? They KNOW where the uncrossable lines are. I don't spank for everything, we use time-outs, loss of priviledges, and my oldest has learned to HATE writing sentences(usually a repetition of 50, I will not -insert crime here-). I have never hit a child in anger, and have never laid a hand anywhere except on the back of a hand or on a behind. People are trying to paint the world in black and white, it just doesn't work that way. There is a HUGE difference between a light tap to teach a toddler to leave those wires alone and a beating. The ONLY time I can even imagine "turning my back" is on a temper tantrum. Turn your back??? What the h***???

IMO there is a whole generation running around out there that was raised with the "oh honey don't do that" mentality and they are for the most part spoiled brats. I'm not saying there aren't good kids in a certain age bracket out there, but they are pretty few and far between.

Grrrrrrrrr.
post #10 of 23
Inflicting pain and violence is always wrong. Spanking, to me, does neither. It is one quick way of getting a child's attention in an emergency situation, or when they are out of control. Meaning out of their own control. In my experience (seeing other kids spanked) the crying was always because of the indignity of it all, not the pain.

I am Canadian, and the UN should mind their own business unless there are crimes being committed. And there are much more serious crimes than spanking.
post #11 of 23
Maybe the UN needs a little of this...

post #12 of 23
Actually that was my whole point with my comment, if parents are surpose to let the child do the action to learn they could be seriously injured or the absulute worse killed. I can't see any parent letting a child learn this way, knowing they will be hurt.
post #13 of 23
The UN fails to condemn brutal dictators, genocide in Africa, children being sold into slavery and terrorists yet it has the time to chide Canada for SPANKING???

WHERE are the UN's priorities????

As for kids, sometimes a swat on the butt is the cure for what ails 'em. I don't advocate beating but, when little children reach for things that they shouldn't, a tap on the fingers is the cure . Sometimes, you just have to get their attention and a smack on butt does that.
post #14 of 23
you make a good point Cindy. nothing makes sense in this world.
post #15 of 23
this is going to be a completely TMI post, but maybe it could put some perspective onto things with spanking from the child's point of view. i'm younger...21...and from the days right before spanking started to become taboo. now both of my parents were of a different minds when it came to physical punishment.

there was my father, the monster than EVERYONE thinks of when they think of spanking...until age 7, i was spanked almost everyday, and he did it to hurt, not to discipline. even being that age, i understood motivations to physical punishment. it was excessive, and often for stupid things just because he was angry. i was even punished for what my sister did and not my own trespassings.

but then, there was my mother, who only hit me 3 times in my entire life....she usually reasoned with me, or took away priviledges when it came to doling out punishment. but on the occasions she DID spank, i KNEW i had crossed a major line and i never did it again.

so i guess what i'm saying is, it really all depends on your motivation for the spanking. i think that a little spanking never hurt anyone and can be an effective disciplinary tool. and a child knows the difference between the different kinds of spankings. i've never resented my mother for the times she spanked me, but i've never been able to forgive my father.
post #16 of 23
I appreciate your post and your absolutely right. A child knows when it is being abused or disciplined. I never in my life thought my parents where abusing me by spanking me. I was spanked because I deserved it and I understood why it was happening, because an explanation was given with each punishment - not matter what it was.

I'm sorry you were treated so unkindly by your father.
post #17 of 23
This is a thing I've been tossing around for a while.. I was spanked now and then as a kid, and I turned out OK.. But I don't think it would be right for me to spank my kids, and not because of the whole "violent" aspect of it. This may sound weird, but in my generation spanking has a very strong sexual aspect. I don't want to blur any lines, or maybe give my kid a kink, so I have made the decision to steer clear of it. I don't think it's abuse or anything, I just know i couldn't do it because of the way I feel about it.
post #18 of 23
There is a big difference between a light snack to the behind and hitting a child. next thing you know they will be arresting my hubby for wife abuse when he gives my butt a love tap. Get real UN and deal with some real issues like child starvation and abandonment. IMO it is more of an abuse for a parent not to give their child breakfast before school or leaving them alone for long periods of time.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by adymarie
There is a big difference between a light snack to the behind and hitting a child. next thing you know they will be arresting my hubby for wife abuse when he gives my butt a love tap. Get real UN and deal with some real issues like child starvation and abandonment. IMO it is more of an abuse for a parent not to give their child breakfast before school or leaving them alone for long periods of time.
Ady,

I tend to agree with you, is the UN going to arrest our spouses or us for that matter for tapping each other on the butt? Also, you are absolutely right, a parent who does not give their child breakfast before school or leaving them alone for long periods of time is Neglect/Abuse.

IMO I think the UN should keep their noses out of our butt tapping and start dealing with issues that really matter. For example what katl8de stated. The UN should get their priorities in order and I don't think this is a priority.
post #20 of 23
Why is Canada under the microscope? I know for a fact that corporal punishment is still legal in Florida schools, although my district's policy discourages it. Personally, I haven't seen a student paddled since the late 80s.

I have used a light swat on the bootims of my kids when they were young. But I also set other limits for their behavior and am happy to say that as teenagers, I am proud of them. I am not saying, "Spare the rod, spoil the child", but it is in my experience that in the age since spanking has become taboo, I just notice parents being too lenient with their kids overall.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Sammie5
Inflicting pain and violence is always wrong. Spanking, to me, does neither. It is one quick way of getting a child's attention in an emergency situation, or when they are out of control. Meaning out of their own control. In my experience (seeing other kids spanked) the crying was always because of the indignity of it all, not the pain.

I am Canadian, and the UN should mind their own business unless there are crimes being committed. And there are much more serious crimes than spanking.
Me three!!
post #22 of 23

What next?

I was only spanked a few times as a child, and deserved them completely. It was a last resort, for serious discipline, and my pride was hurt more than my bottom. I certainly don't feel that I was abused.

I do see kids every day whose parents do the 'now, honey, don't do that' and shake their heads, while the kids jump around breaking things and terrorizing other children and small pets. I wonder what they'll grow up to be like?
:
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by glentheman20
I think spanking is useless. It only conveys one message: when people disagree with what you believe is right, then it's okay to resort to violence. Heck, most people here will say it's not okay to hit your cat, so why would you hit your kid.

I agree
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