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Depriving Children of Clear Standards is Harmful

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

Depriving Children of Clear Standards is Harmful

The Select Committee's proposed replacement of Section 59 specifically says reasonable force is to be totally prohibited for the purpose of correcting children. Bradford has at last revealed her true intentions: that parents should be prevented by law from correcting their own children.

In spite of Bradford's consistent ranting against the use of force, this new Section 59 she and the Committee have come up with says three times that reasonable force can be used by parents to prevent their children from doing something. However nowhere is force allowed to make the child do something he should, to behave in a way the parents insist upon.

Reasonable force can be used to stop some (but not all) behaviour the parent may want to stop, but nothing in this law allows parents to use reasonable force to get the child to behave in a way the parent requires.

Part of parenting is teaching right and proper behaviour and speech, teaching right from wrong, good from bad, wise from unwise. Will this law allow parents to enforce standards such as: making the child apologise to anyone or to address elders by using "Mr" or "Mrs" or "Dr", etc? Will parents be legally able to cause their children to conform to their standards of dress, grooming, speech and behaviour if the standard being set by the child cannot be called offensive or disruptive, but just not up to the standard required by the parents? Can parents legally correct children's bad grammar or slang? Can parents stop their children from visiting a friend if going over there is not obviously harmful, is not a criminal offense, is not offensive or disruptive, but the parent simply thinks the other household is a bad influence? This Bill is totally unworkable. It supposedly allows a parent to use reasonable force to cause a child to cease offensive behaviour. But is this not how one corrects a child? First stop the unacceptable and then coach in doing the acceptable? And yet correction is specifically forbidden by this Bill. It is a nonsense.

This Bill is a direct attack on parents, parenting and parental authority. It wants to forbid parents from imposing their standards upon their own children by forbidding them to correct their own children. It is incredibly harmful to children morally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and academically to present them with unclear and ambiguous standards or to be inconsistent in enforcing them. This Bill puts good parents into a quagmire of uncertainty as to how or even if they can legally impose and then enforce any standards at all upon their children without falling foul of the law.

The sooner we dump this Bill the better.


ENDS

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