Gosh, just started this blog and already a serious issue! I was hoping to start off slowly with how much pocket money I dish out…another time.
In today’s papers there’s a report of a judge overturning an assault charge on a man, who cuffed his 13 year old stepson around the ears for swearing at his mother and refusing to wash up.
Judge Paul Conlon said, ” it is a sad day when caring parents, attempting to impart some discipline to the little princes and princesses are dragged before the courts”.
He also commented that, “one of the reasons that so many young persons find themselves in trouble with the law is that there has been an absence of any effective discipline in their lives”.
It’s definitely a decision that will ignite more controversy and stir even more debate about the smacking issue, which was raised just recently when a leading pediatrician called for smacking to be banned in Australia.
This judge, for my mind imparted common sense and made the right call. The step father should never have been charged or appear in court.
But this story adds an extra layer to the smacking stack of opinions.
I believe in smacking. Like everyone else of my persuasion, I abhor child abuse and loathe the extremes of physical force, but I also cannot abide the rights of parents being removed.
I smacked my girls when they were young. It was an effective way of stopping them touching the oven or running onto the street. With a short, sharp smack on the hand I could defuse a tantrum or silence an argument between siblings. Somewhere around the age of 6 or 7 though, it became obsolete and I had to employ other methods, but I am on the smacking side of the fence.
But not for step children.
For exactly the reason that saw this step dad in court.
The boy’s biological father called the police.
I can tell you when I first “gained ” my three young step-daughters there were many times I would have loved to impart a nice circuit-breaking tap on the hand or behind.
So what did I do? I yelled louder than them or I left them to beat each other up, or I went in search of their father or sometimes I had a little private weep. It meant that the smack-worthy action went on for much longer than it should have or was repeated more times than it could have.
Of course once I stopped shedding tears, or screaming, or hiding, or seeking, I had to come up with other ways of asserting my control.
I have devised a few over the years but am still on the prowl for those elusive, effective parenting ploys because I’m not keen on going to court.
But good on you Judge Conlon.