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Adults hitting children

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Thomas
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Adults hitting children

#1 Post by Thomas » July 6th, 2008, 5:11 pm

Did your parents or teachers hit you and do you think they were justified? Do you hit your own children? Does it serve a useful purpose?

I was smacked as a child and I also smacked my own children. To me it just seemed normal and if I'd been asked why I did it, I would've said that sometimes children push to see just to see what they can get away with. No amount of reasoning teaches them that certain behaviours are unacceptable but that smacking seemed to work.

Occam
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Re: Adults hitting children

#2 Post by Occam » July 6th, 2008, 9:46 pm

I disagree stongly. I was essentially never smacked as a child, and I didn't do so with my daughter. My parents took the time to explain to me why certain behaviors were acceptable and some not. In addition, the way they behaved served as excellent role models for me.

I did the same with my daughter. Of course, there are negatives. I was pleased when she went to law school and became a lawyer, and I asked what prompted her. She said, "Self defense. I hated it when I was a kid, and you used logic to quietly shoot down all my arguments for whatever I wanted to do. Now I defy anyone to out-argue me." :laughter:

Occam
========
On a more serious note, children who are hit learn that hitting is a good solution to their problems. They become bullies and believe that force is the best solution to any difficulty in their lives. From what I've seen over the years, people with this attitude tend to be much less happy later in life.

Fia
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Re: Adults hitting children

#3 Post by Fia » July 6th, 2008, 10:22 pm

It can work the other way too, Occam.

I was subject to both angry and ritualised violence as a child. I grew up determined never to put any child of mine through that, and have so far succeeded in nurturing a 12 and 17 year old without ever hitting them. Not that I haven't felt like it from time to time.:headbang:

Yes, Thomas, children push and push to find where their boundaries are, but there are other ways of enforcing them. Sometimes reasoning is inappropriate due to the age of child, or tiredness/hunger etc. But there is always some sanction a parent can choose. (We had chocolate bans, after 3 warnings, ranging from a day to a week.) I can see no reason to inflict violence upon a child. I consider it morally wrong - it is painful, degrading, and to my mind an abuse of parental power. Does smacking not just make the parent feel better without having to explain why? It is more challenging to creatively mark our offspring's boundaries by keeping our exasperation in check, but as one one has known it from the powerless side I am lucky to have had the strength to maintain my childhood determination.

Jem
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Re: Adults hitting children

#4 Post by Jem » July 7th, 2008, 12:24 am

I'm a bit too inebriated to make a meaningful contribution but I wanted to point out that if you don't spank your kids then you are rebelling against God. It says so on this website so it must be true.
God Himself declared that spanking is the basic way to discipline children. Therefore, those who refuse to spank their children are in rebellion against God. They do not trust what God has said in the Bible about such spanking discipline of children. In the Bible, God clearly commands all parents to spank their children. "Unbelievers", who reject what God said about Jesus in His Word, The Bible, shall have their part in the "Lake of Fire", according to this same Bible in Revelation 21:8.
I was smacked by both my parents and it did me no harm but I don't think it was necessary either.

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jaywhat
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Re: Adults hitting children

#5 Post by jaywhat » July 7th, 2008, 6:34 am

I believe that is is wrong to generalise and say that all children who were smacked become bullies.

It is also wrong to say things like 'it didn't do me any harm' because that can have the effect of suggesting that is all right.
(It also causes sniggering!)

I was struck, a bit, at home and at school and I did a bit of it myself, but I now believe it is totally wrong.
It was not wrong then - or was it?

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Ninny
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Re: Adults hitting children

#6 Post by Ninny » July 7th, 2008, 9:28 am

"I was smacked by both my parents and it did me no harm"

Isn't that for us to say, Jed?

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Parapraxis
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Re: Adults hitting children

#7 Post by Parapraxis » July 7th, 2008, 10:03 am

I'm half and half, I was spanked and it did me no harm - I'm certainly not a violent person or a bully because of it. However I do not think that because it did me no harm, that means it will do no one else harm. I personally am against smacking children on the basis that by smacking a child you are not really teaching them the alternative behaviours, or what is wrong with the punishable behaviour.
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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jaywhat
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Re: Adults hitting children

#8 Post by jaywhat » July 7th, 2008, 11:05 am

I really don't know if it did me any harm or not, because I do not know what I would have developed into if it had not happened. Does anyone?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Adults hitting children

#9 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 7th, 2008, 12:33 pm

Well ... this is something I feel very strongly about. I think the evidence is overwhelming that corporal punishment of children does do harm, both to many individual children and to society at large, and it isn't even a very effective form of discipline. Even if there weren't very good moral reasons for not doing it, there are plenty of pragmatic reasons.

I even think the time has come for the UK to legislate against all corporal punishment of children. We wouldn't exactly be pioneers. The following countries have already done so: Sweden (back in 1979!), Finland, Norway, Austria, Cyprus, Italy, Denmark, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Israel, Germany, Iceland, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile and Spain. If we hurry up we might manage to get in the first twenty-five.

A February 2008 report from the Institute for Public Policy Research [---][/---] Make Me a Criminal: Preventing Youth Crime, by Julia Margo [---][/---] makes the following recommendation:
The Government has previously ruled out moving further towards the banning of physical punishment by parents. But it should reconsider its position in light of the evidence presented in the report, as well as for moral reasons. More than 40 years of research show that hitting children increases the chances of aggression, anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour. Recent studies have demonstrated beyond doubt the causal relationship between physical punishment and increased aggressive behaviour.

Parents should be banned from any form of physical punishment of children. This would not only reduce criminality in the long term, but would also send out a message about the kind of society we want to be [--][/--] one in which violence and physical abuse are not tolerated [--][/--] and send a message to children that they will be treated as we expect them to treat others, and that the law is there to protect them as well as to enforce norms of behaviour.
I used to think that we should try to change majority public opinion first, before introducing a ban, but lately I've had second thoughts. Sometimes public opinion needs a legislative shove. According to an NSPCC policy summary, "Equal protection for children under the law on assault [--][/--] Hitting children is wrong and the law should say so":
Evidence from Germany, where corporal punishment was outlawed in 2000, strongly suggests that when the law is stated explicitly and with comprehensive advertising, societal attitudes towards corporal punishment change and become less supportive. Bussmann et al (2004) found that the law had:
• Increased the level of legal sensibility and consciousness of corporal punishment
• Sensitised perception and definition of physical punishment as violence.
• Stimulated family discussions on sanctioning styles and on the legal limits of physical punishment.
I would like to see the campaign against corporal punishment of children being taken up by humanist organisations everywhere. It seems to be a perfect example of where we can use reason, scientific evidence and compassion to make changes that will help improve people's lives. For details of global and national campaigns, see the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children; the Children are Unbeatable Alliance (UK); and the Center for Effective Discipline (USA).

Emma

Nick
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Re: Adults hitting children

#10 Post by Nick » July 7th, 2008, 3:22 pm

Hmmm. A number of points.

I don't have children, and have only limited experience of 'handling' children, so what do I know?

To use 'hitting' for smacking is a distraction and adds nothing to the issue.

There are occasions when discussion does not work. I once smacked a kid to stop him playing 'chicken' with a tractor. He went crying to his mum (and told whopping lies too). Discussion had not worked, but it saved him from danger. I do not regret it. Should I be prosecuted.

As a general rule, of course one should avoid smacking, as there are better ways of disciplining children. Physical punishment which causes damage is out, right out. That is abuse.

I'm interested to hear more about the effect of legislation, and more particularly how it would cope with this scenario. It tends to be the less well educated, the less affluent and the less intelligent who use smacking. I would be very concerned indeed that what starts as a well intentioned law to protect children (and I sympathise with the objective, absolutely) would have the effect of criminalising and penalising those families least able to cope with wayward children. A single mum with a crying baby, at the end of her tether, smacks her toddler kid for nicking chocolates in the supermarket for the umpteenth time. What do you propose? A fine she can't pay? Community service she can't do without child-care? Imprisonment? Is the trauma of a court appearance really going to help her, or her kid?

I can think of all sorts of situations what a wayward kid could cause immense trouble for a parent, just by accusing him or her of 'hitting'. The essential unit for raising kids has to be the family. I am seriously concerned that such legislation could break the weakest.

What should the law do in such circumstances and what experience do other countries have?

I also think it is not a humanist issue. Certainly we should counter any group which justifies corporal punishment by referring to a bible or holy book, but it is not the place of a humanist group, which has more than enough to do anyway, to be campaigning as humanists on such issues any more than we should campaign for more sport for all as humanists or (whisper it softly!) advocate any particular diet as humanists or call for the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

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jaywhat
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Re: Adults hitting children

#11 Post by jaywhat » July 7th, 2008, 5:38 pm

Emma,
I totally agree with you about it being wrong, although it does not look like it from my last posting. I was arguing against those who say 'it did me no harm'.
As for a 'humanist' stance, I have doubts about that too - as about all (or most) 'humanist' stances.

DougS
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Re: Adults hitting children

#12 Post by DougS » July 7th, 2008, 6:09 pm

Nick wrote: To use 'hitting' for smacking is a distraction and adds nothing to the issue.
But are we just talking about smacking? I was smacked, punched, kicked and hit with a stick by my Dad. Hitting seems a good enough catch-all word.

As for whether it did me harm, it surely depends what we mean by 'harm'. It certainly didn't turn me into a bully. In fact I loathe violence in any form nowadays.

plonkee
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Re: Adults hitting children

#13 Post by plonkee » July 7th, 2008, 7:07 pm

My general position is that you shouldn't hit an adult, so you shouldn't hit a child.

And, if you want to say that it's different with children because they can't understand logical reasoning (when young, anyway) then I'd ask whether you'd think it was ok to hit an adult with intellectual disabilities, or an older person suffering from dementia.

Just for the record I was smacked as a child, it neither did me a great deal of good, nor did me a great deal of harm.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Adults hitting children

#14 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 7th, 2008, 7:41 pm

Nick wrote:I don't have children, and have only limited experience of 'handling' children, so what do I know?
I could have said something similar, actually. But I don't see why my lack of children should disqualify me from having an opinion about this. After all, if I'd had children I might have been lucky enough to have angelic ones who never put a foot wrong!
Nick wrote:To use 'hitting' for smacking is a distraction and adds nothing to the issue.
Do you think? It seems perfectly sensible to me. Still, if we're talking solely about open-handed hitting (and I don't think we are), then I'd be happy with "slapping". But "smacking" is a word that is used solely to describe what adults do to children, and I think it's a misleading euphemism.
Nick wrote:There are occasions when discussion does not work. I once smacked a kid to stop him playing 'chicken' with a tractor. He went crying to his mum (and told whopping lies too). Discussion had not worked, but it saved him from danger. I do not regret it. Should I be prosecuted.
You could have been already, under the existing law. The excuse of "reasonable chastisement" applies only to parents, or to adults, such as grandparents, baby-sitters or nannies, to whom parents have given permission to slap their children. You had no such permission, therefore your "smack" was illegal. You might have had a reasonable defence, though, if you'd argued that you did it because you feared the child's life was in danger. In UK schools, physical punishment such as smacking, caning or shaking a child is illegal these days, but staff can use "reasonable force" to stop a child committing a crime, hurting someone (presumably including themselves), or damaging something. I assume, though, that that is intended to cover grabbing or restraining a child rather than actually hitting them.
Nick wrote:I'm interested to hear more about the effect of legislation, and more particularly how it would cope with this scenario. It tends to be the less well educated, the less affluent and the less intelligent who use smacking. I would be very concerned indeed that what starts as a well intentioned law to protect children (and I sympathise with the objective, absolutely) would have the effect of criminalising and penalising those families least able to cope with wayward children. A single mum with a crying baby, at the end of her tether, smacks her toddler kid for nicking chocolates in the supermarket for the umpteenth time. What do you propose? A fine she can't pay? Community service she can't do without child-care? Imprisonment? Is the trauma of a court appearance really going to help her, or her kid?
That used to be my objection. Criminalising parents, and certainly putting them in prison, would do much more harm to a child than the original slap (if that's all it was). But we don't have to go that far. In most of the countries that have legislation against corporal punishment of children, there are no criminal penalties attached. The most obvious response is to force parents to take parenting classes. But we'd also have to make sure that all parents understand alternative methods of disciplining their children before the law was changed. There'd have to be a huge information campaign. Plenty of advice about where to get help.
Nick wrote:I can think of all sorts of situations what a wayward kid could cause immense trouble for a parent, just by accusing him or her of 'hitting'.
Yes, that is a danger. But it's an argument that could be applied to other crimes, including rape (of an adult), and certain kinds of child sexual abuse, not all of which are provable through physical examination. If we conclude that a particular behaviour is morally wrong and damaging to individuals and to society, then I don't think the possibility of false accusations should prevent us from legislating against it.
Nick wrote:The essential unit for raising kids has to be the family. I am seriously concerned that such legislation could break the weakest.
I agree that it might, and we'd have to do all we could to avoid that.

Another concern is the question of how such a law is enforced. If a parent hits his or her child in a public place, then concerned individuals might phone the police, but I'd imagine that most physical chastisement occurs in the home. What may happen is that parents who are determined to hit their children will be careful not to do so in public but will save the punishment until they get home. How can that be policed, without seriously invading people's privacy? However, it is also possible that if parents are forced to restrain themselves in public they will have to learn alternative discipline techniques that they may then be more inclined to use at home. I don't know.
Nick wrote:I also think it is not a humanist issue. Certainly we should counter any group which justifies corporal punishment by referring to a bible or holy book, but it is not the place of a humanist group, which has more than enough to do anyway, to be campaigning as humanists on such issues any more than we should campaign for more sport for all as humanists or (whisper it softly!) advocate any particular diet as humanists or call for the nationalisation of Northern Rock.
I think it's a different kind of issue. If humanists really believe that "human beings possess the power or potentiality to solve their own problems" (Corliss Lamont), or something along those lines, then I don't think we should shrink from taking a stand on moral/ethical issues. (In fact, I think that if humanist groups did take such stands, they might find other aspects of their campaigning easier.) Still, I accept that we can only do that if it's something we all agree on, and clearly we don't about this, at least not yet. A starting point, then, is to discuss it, as we're doing now. I'm very glad Thomas brought it up. :D

Emma

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Adults hitting children

#15 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 7th, 2008, 7:55 pm

jaywhat wrote:Emma, I totally agree with you about it being wrong, although it does not look like it from my last posting. I was arguing against those who say 'it did me no harm'.
I know. I understood. And I thought you made a good point. My mum was hit by her dad when she was a child. With a razor strop, and a slipper. She was also locked in a dark broom cupboard as punishment. It didn't turn her into a violent or aggressive person. She's a very good person, kind and caring and gentle. But I'm not convinced that it didn't do her any (long-term) harm. As you say, how can we know?
jaywhat wrote:As for a 'humanist' stance, I have doubts about that too - as about all (or most) 'humanist' stances.
Yes, I know what you mean. And I'm in two minds about this myself. But I have these waves of feeling that humanists have just got to stop pussyfooting around. If we want to argue that you don't need religion to make moral judgements, we need to demonstrate how humanists might work together in a society to use their collective moral judgements to make decisions about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. I'm having one of those waves now.

But it may pass. :wink:

Emma

Occam
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Re: Adults hitting children

#16 Post by Occam » July 8th, 2008, 1:15 am

I believe the argument that children too young to be rational are OK to be smacked is a canard. By the time my daughter was four she understood and was able to participate in a reasonable discussion. Prior to that, any child is so small and weak that simple physical restraint can prevent him/her from doing destructive things, e.g., trying to run across the street, pull the dog's ears, etc. The promise of withholding an expected pleasure such as dessert, or putting a toy temporarily out of reach was plenty harsh enough to modify my strong willed daughter's behavior.

I know many say, "I was smacked and it did me no harm," but are any of us so competent at introspection and self-analysis that we can be certain it didn't modify our personality in some unconstructive way?

Occam

Nick
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Re: Adults hitting children

#17 Post by Nick » July 8th, 2008, 11:59 am

Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

I thought I had been clear, but on re-reading my post, I can see I was not clear enough.

DougS wrote:
But are we just talking about smacking? I was smacked, punched, kicked and hit with a stick by my Dad. Hitting seems a good enough catch-all word.
and Emma wrote:
Do you think? It seems perfectly sensible to me. Still, if we're talking solely about open-handed hitting (and I don't think we are), then I'd be happy with "slapping". But "smacking" is a word that is used solely to describe what adults do to children, and I think it's a misleading euphemism.
I had intended my comments to refer to a smack with an open hand. Punching, kicking, beating etc. are not acceptable. And smacking can be an abuse, depending on severity, frequency, reason etc. To distinguish between 'slapping' and 'smacking' seems an unnecessary quibble to me, but it's a very minor point, but to classify smacking as 'hitting' is IMO too wide a definition to be useful , especially in the context of public policy.

Though I might say "If you spare the rod, what's the point of teaching?" it is only in jest. I am not proposing a pro-smacking policy, just cautioning against a no-smacking law.
Nick wrote:
I don't have children, and have only limited experience of 'handling' children, so what do I know?
[Emma replied] I could have said something similar, actually. But I don't see why my lack of children should disqualify me from having an opinion about this. After all, if I'd had children I might have been lucky enough to have angelic ones who never put a foot wrong!
I don't disagree Emma, I was just acknowledging my lack of experience, and also acknowledging that other opinions are valid and relevant.

Re: my smacking incident. (It happened in Canada 30 years ago, btw, and I don't know what their law is, but that doesn't alter the point you and I made.) In English law, I could be open to a charge of assault. Looking back on the incident, I had tried a friendly approach "be careful, you'll get hurt"), I had tried a stern approach ("don't do it!!"), I had tried a threatening approach ("I'll tell your mum"), all to no avail. I was genuinely concerned that he might get seriously hurt, and also that I would be blamed if that occurred. I had intended to grab him by the arm and take him back to the farmhouse, but he dodged and in an instant reflex I smacked him instead, catching him on the back, (a moving target ain't easy!) whereupon he ran back to the farmhouse himself.

Being the farmer's son, he was asserting the perceived power he felt by virtue of that fact. The fortunate result was that he never went near the tractor again while I was on it, the unfortunate result was that his mother (perhaps unsurprisingly) was more concerned with my (IMO) caring actions, than with her son's foolish ones. IMO it reinforced the boy's feeling that he could do anti-social things because his parents would back him up.

I'm not proud of the incident, but I certainly don't think I should be threatened with prosecution.

As for parenting classes, I'd like to see more of that, but I would expect them to be attended by the stable families, not the unstable ones. All purpose policies "rolled out" (as they inevitably are) "across the country" do not always have the best results. I am however quite a fan of "Super-Nanny"-type programmes. I'm not particularly fond of children (I feel very clumsy around them) but I enjoy seeing the psychology at work, and I also think it's a very good way of reaching parents of all types, who might be more likely to adopt some of the ideas, having seen them in action, rather than learnt them in a classroom setting (if you could get them to attend.) As you say, Emma, let's try to improve parenting before we start using the stick (metaphorically) on parents.

As for promoting a 'humanist group' solution to problems, I think that is unachievable, whether it is economics, politics, world peace or climate change, and we shouldn't try. That does not mean of course, that we should not ally ourselves individually with other groups with whom we have common ground and do all we can to promote our chosen solution.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Adults hitting children

#18 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » July 8th, 2008, 1:49 pm

Nick wrote:I had intended my comments to refer to a smack with an open hand. Punching, kicking, beating etc. are not acceptable. And smacking can be an abuse, depending on severity, frequency, reason etc. To distinguish between 'slapping' and 'smacking' seems an unnecessary quibble to me, but it's a very minor point, but to classify smacking as 'hitting' is IMO too wide a definition to be useful , especially in the context of public policy.

Though I might say "If you spare the rod, what's the point of teaching?" it is only in jest. I am not proposing a pro-smacking policy, just cautioning against a no-smacking law.
I'm not sure that I'm in favour of a "no-smacking law", exactly. What I'm uncomfortable with is the "reasonable chastisement" defence for the existing law on common assault. There is no mention of smacking. Do you remember, about ten years ago, a Scottish primary school teacher who pulled down his eight-year-old daughter's underwear in a dentist's waiting room, held her over his knee and smacked her seven times on the bare bottom? He was charged, and later convicted, with common assault, because his "smacking" was considered unreasonable by the courts. "Reasonable chastisement" is not clearly defined, but my objection to it is that it contains the implication that there is any kind of physical punishment of children that is reasonable. The use of "reasonable force" to prevent children from hurting themselves or others, or committing a crime, is a different issue, and that, in my view, would constitute a fair defence.
Nick wrote:I'm not proud of the incident, but I certainly don't think I should be threatened with prosecution.
So do you think the existing law of common assault should be changed to eliminate the possibility that you would be, if you did the same thing here and now? Do you think there should be an additional defence of reasonable chastisement for adults who are not parents or in loco parentis? Or do you think the kind of "reasonable force" defence I mentioned above would be good enough?
Nick wrote:I am however quite a fan of "Super-Nanny"-type programmes.
I confess to having a bit of a weakness for Supernanny. I wasn't comfortable with all of Jo Frost's disciplinary techniques, but she did at least seem to convince all the parents she worked with that "smacking" is not a solution (that's my compromise, Nick; I shall use it, but with quotation marks :wink: ). And one of the most important things she emphasised, I think, was the value of rewarding children for good behaviour, something that so many of the parents neglected to do. And I don't mean rewarding with sweets or gold stars, but with smiles and hugs and thanks and praise. It made such a difference. Anyway, there's a new series coming up, apparently. As you say, it's a good way of reaching parents. But I ... um ... don't think it's widely considered to be representative of best practice by child psychologists.
Nick wrote:As for promoting a 'humanist group' solution to problems, I think that is unachievable, whether it is economics, politics, world peace or climate change, and we shouldn't try.
For me, there's not a lot of point in being a member of a humanist organisation unless we do try. But as it happens, we do try, to some extent. The BHA website lists a number of ethical issues that the organisation has got involved in: assisted dying; forced marriage; prolonging life in fetuses and the newborn; ritual slaughter; genetic testing; organ donation. The emphasis, admittedly, does seem to be on medical ethics and issues in some way related to religion. But the BHA did also join the MAKE POVERTY HISTORY coalition in 2005. Hmm ... Not an entirely successful campaign, that one ... :rolleyes:

Emma

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Re: Adults hitting children

#19 Post by Nick » July 8th, 2008, 4:20 pm

Your post, for which many thanks (would you like a hug too? :D ) throws up a number of points.

"Chastisement". Frankly, I'm not much in favour of punishment, (though I would dearly like to get my hands round the neck of one or two people!) I don't think retribution gets us very far. Prevention, acting as a deterrent, hope of correction, though, are all reasons for chastisement. (That's clumsily put. Oh well...)

"Reasonable". The law is full of clauses which talk about 'reasonableness' in one form or another. In a similar way, company accounts must be "true and fair", but nowhere is that defined. There is merit in this, as it gives the courts a chance to fit the principle to the case at hand, and leads (I think) to better justice in each particular case. To try to define reasonable in law is IMO not possible in practical terms (though I think other countries do have a system nearer to that principle.)
So do you think the existing law of common assault should be changed to eliminate the possibility that you would be, if you did the same thing here and now? Do you think there should be an additional defence of reasonable chastisement for adults who are not parents or in loco parentis? Or do you think the kind of "reasonable force" defence I mentioned above would be good enough?
Hmm. I'm not in the habit of framing law, but I think my concern that if there were a law specifically against smacking children, then my defence would be more difficult. (BTW I don't make a habit of such things! There hasn't been another incident since!) I think the law of assault would take the age of the child and the behaviour of the adult into account in any assault case. (Not that I've experienced any.)
As you say, [Supernanny] is a good way of reaching parents. But I ... um ... don't think it's widely considered to be representative of best practice by child psychologists.
Then it's time for those child psychologists to press their case. I'm tempted to add "quickly, before they change their minds. Again." :wink:

Nick wrote:As for promoting a 'humanist group' solution to problems, I think that is unachievable, whether it is economics, politics, world peace or climate change, and we shouldn't try.
For me, there's not a lot of point in being a member of a humanist organisation unless we do try. But as it happens, we do try, to some extent. The BHA website lists a number of ethical issues that the organisation has got involved in: assisted dying; forced marriage; prolonging life in fetuses and the newborn; ritual slaughter; genetic testing; organ donation. The emphasis, admittedly, does seem to be on medical ethics and issues in some way related to religion. But the BHA did also join the MAKE POVERTY HISTORY coalition in 2005. Hmm ... Not an entirely successful campaign, that one ... :rolleyes:
I am very happy with the BHA campaigns in general, precisely because they are in some way related to religion. (The Make Poverty History is the exception, not because I don't want to see the 3rd World out of poverty, but because I consider it beyond solution by one single grand plan. and too big a problem to be so simply solved. As you say, not entirely successful.) In each of the cases, the BHA position is essentially to get rid of religion and religious justification for or against any particular ethical or moral issue. To take one example: assisted dying. We, as a society should decide whether it is good or bad by reason, not by reference to religious texts. It would be wrong, IMO, for the BHA to get too involved in saying what the law should actually be, since there is a fair amount of variation amongst those who do not hold their position by referring to a religious belief.

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Ninny
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Re: Adults hitting children

#20 Post by Ninny » July 8th, 2008, 4:35 pm

There are two reasons for hitting children - one is to show the child that what it is doing is wrong/dangerous, and surely there are other ways of doing this; and the other is because some parents enjoy it. I know this is an uncomfortable idea, but it is true. I think it is something to do with powerless people exerting some power.

And yes, it did me a whole load of harm - not by making me violent, which I am not, but making me fearful and sad.

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