Australian doctors call for ban on smacking kids

July 26, 2013

Australian doctors Friday called for the smacking of children by parents to be made illegal, saying it was too easy to blur the line between reasonable discipline and abuse.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians said Australian laws needed to be changed to make all forms of corporal punishment illegal "so the law protects children from assault to the same extent that it does all people".

"Many cases of physical are the result of physical punishment that became more severe than intended," said Susan Moloney, president of the college's child health division.

"And the difficulty with allowing the physical punishment of children is that the line can be easily be blurred between abuse and 'reasonable' force or chastisement that is currently permitted in some states when disciplining a child."

Research suggests most Australian parents smack their children, but acceptance of the practice is falling with 75 percent of adults surveyed in 2002 saying it was sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child compared to 69 percent in 2006.

Moloney said studies were increasingly showing that those subjected to physical punishment when young were at greater risk of harmful effects.

"These include mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, aggressive or anti-social behaviour, substance use problems and abuse of their own children or spouse," she said.

"While many children will not experience negative outcomes as a result of moderate or reasonable physical punishment, why put your child's and emotional wellbeing at risk?"

Moloney said the reform made sense given other laws.

"If you hit your dog you could be arrested—but it's legal to hit your child," she added in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

The college, which represents more than 14,000 physicians in Australia and New Zealand, said the of children was already illegal in 33 countries, and there was evidence that the legal change and public discussion on the issue had helped shift attitudes.

It said these countries had also experienced other benefits such as increased early identification of children at risk of abuse and very low rates of mortality associated with child abuse.

New Zealand introduced a law in 2007 which banned parents from smacking their children, meaning adults could no longer use "reasonable force" in disciplining their kids.

Other countries with a ban in place include Germany, Israel and Kenya.

The government said at the time it would help tackle New Zealand's poor record on violence against children after a 2003 UNICEF report found it had the third-worst rate of abuse and neglect among developed nations.

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8 comments

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Sinister1811
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2013
A spank given harder than intended, is less harmful than a parent who demeans their child. I ask any parent here, which is worse? A child who is spanked overly harsh, or a child which the parent screams "I wish you were never born, you are a loser, I'm embarrassed to be around you, can't you ever do anything right?"

I've met several men who brag about getting a beating for doing something bad. They knew they deserved punishment, they agree that the punishment exceeded reasonableness right into abuse, but they brag about it.

I've yet to meet a man who has brags about taking a verbal beating, however I've met several men who still cry and are ashamed at the verbal abuse from their parents.

How about criminalizing doctors who want to ban a discipline method that reduces the chance of verbal abuse. Spanking done properly quickly ends many issues before they escalate causing parents to loose control.
JohnGee
1.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2013
"How about criminalizing doctors who want to ban a discipline method that reduces the chance of verbal abuse."
You spend an awful lot of time crying about free speech to come here and deny that of doctors exercising their free speech rights.

"Spanking done properly quickly ends many issues before they escalate causing parents to loose control."
Is that why your sexuality is so tortured? Mommy hit you for touching yourself in public and now you hate women?
antonima
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2013
"It said these countries had also experienced other benefits such as increased early identification of children at risk of abuse and very low rates of mortality associated with child abuse."
Thats a good case.
Still, I think its ridiculous to bar parents from spanking their children.. . . animals get smacked all the time, thats how you train them. You cannot reason with animals and you cannot really reason with young children so you sometimes have to train their behaviors in a different way.
freethinking
1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Sorry GJ, I was using Hyperbole. In case you don't know what that word means, Hyperbole definition, obvious and intentional exaggeration.

Are you actually trying to insult me with 5'th grade insults? This article had nothing to do about sex, yet you bring it up? However it is well known that Progressive Secular Humanists such as yourself project their own mental issues onto others. If you need a good councilor to work through your issues, PM me and I'll find one for you in your area.
freethinking
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2013
Kids need discipline and parents shouldn't be afraid that the government will step in and take effective discipline techniques away. I've used discipline techniques like making siblings who fight hold hands, making them stand on their toes till THEY decide their attitude changed (which at times was hilarious, they could stop the punishment when they wanted to, but the punishment became a challenge for them to see how long they could do it, so I had to make it harder and harder so that THEY would quit.)

At times I gave my kids the choice of a spank, a lecture, or being grounded. It's funny when the older kids tell the younger.... take the spanking.... it's over quick...... the lecture is worse than the spank...... grounding is miserable.
PCB
1.3 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2013
The violence-junkies will always rationalize to justify their 'childish' violent temper tantrums , closet pedo-sadism, or simple bullying as a maladaptive way to bolster their poor self esteem. Also, a larger percentage of people than you realize have some degree of Malignant Narcissism where seeing others in anguish stimulates areas of their brain dealing with feelings of love forming from sex (these are some sick people who were usually Made by untreated trauma, neglect or abuse when they were young).
Sinister1811
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 27, 2013
Open gave me 1/5 for saying that this is ridiculous. What more effective forms of punishment do you suggest? Being sent to the corner and a warning? Get real.

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