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EDITORIAL : Debate On Anti-Smacking Over; Time To Follow The Law

To smack or not to smack was the question at a workshop to discuss a report called Review of the Contextualised Child Protection Manual for iTaukei Communities. The discussion focuses
16 Nov 2016 11:00
EDITORIAL : Debate On Anti-Smacking Over; Time To Follow The Law

To smack or not to smack was the question at a workshop to discuss a report called Review of the Contextualised Child Protection Manual for iTaukei Communities.

The discussion focuses on the conflict that goes on between the law and the old ways of disciplining children.

The law is simple and clear: No corporal punishment in schools, in homes, anywhere.

The old way of the use of physical force to discipline children is banned. There is a good reason for this.

It eliminates parental force for the purpose of correction.

Many studies have concluded that the use of physical force to correct a child is an act of violence.

Therefore the use of violence cannot be justified to discipline a child. Violence, it has been proved, begats violence.

The anti-smacking law is part of our statute books and other jurisdictions including our neighbours, Australia and New Zealand.

It is to ensure that our children can live in a safe and secure environment that is violent- free.

We have a shocking record of domestic violence. It has reached an epidemic level that the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, had to step in and lead the charge against violence in the home.

The law has been passed to curb this culture of violence. So corporal punishment or any other form of violence for the purpose of discipline or correction is no longer acceptable.

Some parents throw their hand up and say ‘we give up’ because the law prohibits them to use force. They claim they have lost control of their children who are now given rights.

They are wary of these rights and the possibility that their own children can file complaints against them and drag them to court. They say that if their children turn to mischief they are not to blame but the law.

This is a cop-out by those parents who once were children themselves and had the benefit of their childhood experience.

If they were to relive their childhood, they would wish they were not smacked or whacked with a stick.

Just because they were given corporal punishment or abused it did not mean it was the right thing to do and they would bring up their children in the same way.

Some say they have succeeded in life because of that type of discipline. Who knows, they could have done much better if they were brought up in a violence-free environment where they were encouraged to speak their mind and choose for themselves what was good for them.

The non-violent way, studies have shown, provides the kind of environment that is conducive to learning, development and growth. When children are hurt and unhappy it impedes their physical, emotional and spiritual growth. The law is there to ensure the children are provided this space to develop and grow.

Their feelings of safety and security are undermined by violence. The law protects the children’s right to a fair deal in the courts.

It teaches children that physical discipline is not the answer.

Children can be confused, leading to fear and distrust of adults because of violence.

Many children brought up in a non-violent environment have become very successful. They usually follow in the footsteps of their parents who nurture, train and educate them until they become independent.

No smacking, no whacking, no verbal abuse, no intimidation, no coercion.

Those who blame the law for their children going astray, have literally abdicated their parental responsibility which is God-given and which they cannot shirk.

When children are properly raised at home, they will succeed in their pursuit for education and a professional career because they are trained at home to focus on their priorities.

The time to debate whether to smack or not to smack is over.

Now is the time to follow the law and help our children.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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