When we think of mothers, chocolate chip cookies, cuddles on the couch and help with homework come to mind. But there is a whole other aspect of mothering that we need to think about this Mother’s day. And that is mother as Commander-in-chief. Mom firmly demanding that her five-year-old eat her vegetables and stay in bed at bedtime. Mom turning off an illicit TV show or shutting off a violent video game to a choir of complaints from her third grader. Mom spanking her pre-teen son because he took money from her purse and, after hours in his room, still refuses to confess his thievery.
But beware mom! Because if a small group of social engineers have their way, mother as Commander-in-Chief will forever disappear from Canadian society. It all began in 1994 when the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recommended that “the physical punishment of children in families be prohibited… and that educational campaigns be launched with a view to changing attitudes in society on the use of physical punishment in and fostering the acceptance of its legal prohibition.”
In plain English, the UN is suggesting that parents should finance political propaganda aimed at releasing them of their centuries-old right to discipline their own children!
And that’s exactly what has happened. In 1995 the Repeal 43 Committee was established. Named after the section of the Canadian Criminal Code which it hopes to revoke, the committee is the first formal group to advocate the prohibition of spanking. Launching a media campaign to connect a swat or two on the behind with the torture and murder of children at the hands of their parents, the committee succeeded in reaching the public with loud and clear message that “Both are abuse.”
It wasn’t long before MP Svend Robinson came on side with a Private Member’s Bill to outlaw spanking. (Isn’t uncanny that whenever one is unsure where they stand on a given issue, all they need do is find out where Svend stands, and then pick the opposite side?) Thankfully, his bill died when Parliament was prorogued last month.
But even though anti-spanking advocates have had a little success in the political arena, their battle in other spheres has been much more fruitful. In the past several years, dozens of parents have found themselves interrogated, threatened, fined, dragged into lengthy court battles—even arrested at work—by overzealous authorities who know that the best way to stop parents from spanking their children is to make an example of a few.
One such parent, a Kingston mother, was recently threatened by child authorities that spanking her son would result in his permanent removal from the home. In fact, authorities did not remove him for a while—impressing on him the various powers and privileges under the law which he could use against his mother. Upon his return, the social worker made it very clear that even threatening her son with spanking was grounds for charges of child abuse.
If you think this is an isolated or extreme case, think again. There are literally dozens of recent examples—several of which are documented in March’s issue of Citizen magazine, “Parent’s Rights at Risk” by Cindy Silver.
In this article, Silver, a lawyer with Focus on the Family’s Public Policy Department, not only identifies the threat to parental rights but cleverly debunks many of the myths employed by anti-spanking advocates. Reviewing all available research on the topic, Silver concludes that rather than being detrimental to children, moderate spanking (as a last resort by a loving parent) is actually beneficial to their social-psychological development, and that rather than decreasing child abuse—as advocates claim—anti-spanking laws seem to have the opposite effect
But Silver didn’t just write an article and leave it at that. She also drafted two important aids for parents. The first is a short review of the issue entitled “A Response to the Anti-Spanking Movement.” The second “Corporal Punishment of Children” is a legal analysis of Section 43 of the Criminal Code and is a necessary tool for anyone who would like to involve themselves in this urgent and timely issue.
In the meantime, parents should keep several important points in mind: firstly, most public and separate school children who have been indoctrinated since kindergarten that even the mildest physical contact constitutes abuse; secondly, children who threaten to charge their parents usually aren’t bluffing. They have the power and they know it. So before you spank, you should consider the potential costs. Last, should your child file a report of abuse against you, the authorities will probably remove them at once. If this happens, keep your cool. Remember that as far as they are concerned, you are guilty until proven innocent. It is therefore important that you do not answer any questions or even comment about the alleged incident without a lawyer present.
According to Dr. Mervyn Fox, a paediatrician and expert on the spanking issue, if parents lose the right to discipline their children, they will have suffered a knock-out blow leading to “an epidemic of omnipotent child syndrome and absence of respect for authority.” Some would maintain that we’re already there. But none can claim that we haven’t been amply warned.
For more than a decade, Christian leaders like child psychologist James Dobson and Evangelist Ken Campbell have been cautioning the Church that if allowed to go unchallenged, the atheistic secularists would not remain tolerant with their almost absolute control of the classroom, the culture and everything in between, but would eventually steam-roll into the most hallowed of territory—the sanctity of the family home.
Unfortunately, the spanking issue is just one of many home-front issues that parents will have to contend with in the coming years. Documents such as the UN convention of the Rights of the Child and the Beijing Platform for Action seriously usurp parental authority while granting all kinds of excessive rights to children. There is also talk that the movement to licence parents is growing and that a bill to outlaw homeschooling is on the way.
Thus only one question remains: Will Christian parents surrender their homes as easily as they have their culture and their classrooms? If I were a betting woman, I’d say “No way!”