Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is It OK To Hit Your Children? A Follow-Up

Although I was going to write about something entirely different today, I was floored by this article today, which essentially describes the difference in laws regarding parenting between Sweden and the US.

The 1979 ban was decades in the making, from the first description of children's human rights in the 1920s, to a ban on smacking in schools in 1958, to the removal of legal language that allowed parents to hit children in 1966. Public attitudes continued to shift in the 1970s after a few high profile cases of discipline gone too far, and in 1977, Swedish Parliament created a committee to examine children's rights. Before the new policy was official, they explained the ban in pamphlets translated into several languages and printed information about it on milk cartons.
The result was Chapter 6, Section 1 of the Swedish Children and Parents Code: "Children are entitled to care, security and a good upbringing. Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to corporal punishment or any other humiliating treatment." It passed almost unanimously.
"The police are not going to say, 'This parent should be charged,'" said Durrant, who has studied the effects of Sweden's ban for decades. "The police will say, 'What you did is not OK, I understand why it happened, but you need to know that's against the law, and here are the supports available to you.'"
Those supports might be access to parenting groups, child development information, children's health care or nurses that help childproof homes or offer advice.

Good for Sweden. I'm all for it, and I see that they're doing it right, not throwing a bunch of parents in jail for patting their child on the butt a little too hard. Of course I don't think the US is anywhere near ready for this sort of legislation, considering how they started expelling kids for bringing nail clippers to school or pointing a chicken finger at a teacher and saying "bang" as a completely irrational response to school shootings. The US needs to learn to be reasonable first.

However, despite this, there were two little nuggets of information that absolutely floored me
1. It is legal for teachers to hit children in school in 19 states
2. The US and Somalia are the only two contries to not ratify the UN convention on the rights of the child

USA, shame on you.
Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, shame on you even more.
I understand that the United States has some very backward laws, but this takes the cake. This isn't even about homosexuals or criminals, it's KIDS for Xs sake! What ever happened to no child left behind? I am flabbergasted.

If you are going to share your thoughts about this, please check your "I was hit as a child and I turned out just fine" arguments at the door. There are people who have been molested as children and turned out just fine too, but it's a piss poor argument for saying that it's OK to do so.

Other than that, I'd love to hear your thoughts

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