Monday, 30 January 2012

Barbarism begins at home

The comments by Labour MP David Lammy over the weekend that last summer's riots, which began in his Tottenham constituency, happened at least in part because "parents are scared to smack their children" are not exactly the cutting edge intellectual "big ideas" that his party needs if it is to return to power at the next election.

Much of the subsequent debate was based on the bizarre assumption that "smacking" children has been made illegal when it clearly has not. Lammy was actually talking about the clarification in the 2004 Children's Act as to how hard parents can hit their children.

"Smacking" is of course a euphemism, a polite way of saying "hitting" or "beating". Hitting your children should be just as unacceptable socially and legally as domestic violence (which of course is exactly what it is). The idea that hitting children will make them more rounded and sensitive individuals is of course a sick joke. All the excuses about discipline and not being able to reason with children are just that and are ultimately based on the fact that children are too small to hit back. Parents who regularly beat their children - including Lammy who admits to hittting his three and five year old sons - are bullies and should be treated as the perpetrators of domestic violence.

I once saw a woodwork teacher in anger, and rather unwisely as it turned out, throw a block of wood at the head of the biggest boy in the class. Not only did it miss him but he then proceeded to punch the teacher in the face, leaving him with a black eye. The teacher was now in a bind as reporting the boy to the headmaster (who had the power to cane pupils) would have opened him up to more serious charges.

No comments:

Post a Comment