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THE AFC-MOTION ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS HARMFUL”
DOSSIER FOR SUBMISSION TO PARLIAMENT AND THE TASK FORCE ON GUYANA’S NEW EDUCATION ACT
The overall aim: provide the church and citizenry with effective overview of the main issues! Corrections? Suggestions? Need help/clarifications?: E-mail: RogerWilli@Yahoo.com
HOW THE “CORPORAL PUNISHMENT” AND “RIGHTS” ARGUMENTS ARE BEING USED TO UNDERMINE FAMILY, RELIGION AND SOVERIGNITY!
"But what does the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have to say on the matter of corporal punishment? It may be eye-opening to some that the Convention does not mention the term ‘corporal punishment’ at all. Article 28(2) which is used as the basis for the call to abolish corporal punishment in schools states: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention” “Guyanese should decide what parts of the CRC mandate are applicable to Guyana”; http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_archive?id=56510565
In today’s relentless barrage of words, images, slogans, and ideas that assault us from all sides, many of us have become dependent on sound bites – short, simple, predigested, emotion-laden, one-stop conclusions. We have neither the time nor the ability to sort through the primary information for ourselves in order to arrive at our own considered conclusions. … To disentangle this confusion and form solid principles by which to reach responsible conclusions requires effort …” (Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., circa 1996).
PROPOSING A METHOD OF ANALYSIS AND A WAY FORWARD THROUGH AN ASSESSMENT OF KEY ISSUES SUBMITTED BY ROGER WILLIAMS AS A PERSONAL OPINION APRIL-JUNE 2007 AND COPIED TO: GUYANA’S MINISTRY OF EDUCATION THE CARIBBEAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES, THE EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION OF THE CARIBBEAN THE GUYANA COUNCIL OF CHURCHES, THE GUYANA EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP, THE GEORGETOWN MINISTERS’ FELLOWSHIP, THE PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLIES OF THE WEST INDIES,
OPEN LETTER TO POLITICAL/SOCIAL LEADERS ON THE ISSUE OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT Dear Sirs/Ladies, I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I refer to the Motion on corporal punishment tabled before the House on November 6 2006, and would register my concern about its apparent threat to established legal and constitutional structures, its apparent bias and misrepresentation, its apparent pursuit of a dubious political agenda to the detriment of the national ethos, and its apparent assault on sovereignty. It is also anti-Bible, anti-Christian and anti-religious in its scope and intent, since it is directly opposed to established principle in various sacred texts. This letter is accompanied by a Dossier below, same also available by writing RogerWilli@Yahoo.com. As to misrepresentation: Firstly, the Motion may be asking Government and Parliament to agree to something that it never envisioned when signing the Convention. We ask the House: “What does the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have to say on the matter of ‘corporal punishment’?” It may be eye-opening to some that the Convention does not mention the term ‘corporal punishment’ at all. Ms. Chantalle Smith of the AFC, as well as the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC), are guilty of misrepresentation in implying that Guyana must consider the specific idea of “corporal punishment” as falling within the perspective, framework and intention of the original framers and signatories of the convention. Sections 2 and 5 of the Motion fail accordingly, lacking as they do specific legal and constitutional imperative. Given the evidence liberally supplied everywhere in the Dossier below, this attempt at legislative sleight of hand is unworthy of our political representatives, and illustrates a casualness with factual detail that reflects poorly on the awareness of those initiating the Motion. I represent the other hidden issues in the words of Elder Lionel Persaud on pages 9-11 of the Dossier below. The implications are enormous. Not to consider them constitutes a misrepresentation of the issue by the said Motion. Secondly, the Motion seems aimed at imposing some extreme interpretations on the Convention as a means of promoting a somewhat ‘radical” social agenda. Sections 6 and 7 of the Motion illustrate the unacceptable analytical latitude taken in moving from the broad terms of the Convention to the campaign for “the abolition of corporal punishment”. The issue of “excessive latitude” is addressed in more detail using the words of Families First at page 15 of the Dossier below. I urge the House to recognize that nothing in Article 19 as stated in Section 2 of the Motion, and Article 28(2) (“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention”) should be considered as inimical to, or in any way destructive of, the generous provisions for the protection of other rights and cultural distinctives preserved in additional UN -Declarations and local legal/constitutional provisions, specifically: (a) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; (b) the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; (c) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; (d) the right to freedom of religion under the provisions of the Guyana Constitution; (e) the rights, duties, privileges and responsibilities of parents; (f) the duties and responsibilities of caregivers and schoolteachers as currently and historically outlined by the local ministry of Education, and; (g) the careful distinction between lawful punishment and abuse already outlined by Guyana’s laws. Indeed, I believe with Lionel Persaud that the guidelines for corporal punishment of learners set out on page 21 of the Guyana Ministry of Education’s “Manual of Guidelines for the Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools”, published in April 2002, adequately address this matter, and render Section 8 of the Motion (Resolution) contentious and unnecessary. These guidelines provide for corporal punishment to be administered by a Head or Senior Teacher, in appropriate circumstances such as fighting or gross insubordination, in an appropriate place, privately, on the hands or buttocks, with the appropriate instrument, cane or strap, and must be documented in the “Misdemeanour Book” the same day the punishment is administered. These provisions are in keeping with Guyanese traditions, cultural values and the dignity of our children and must be upheld by the Ministry of Education. This also is in keeping with the Convention itself which stipulates that the due account must be taken “of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child.” We in Guyana must interpret Articles 19 and 28 for ourselves and resist foreign interpretations which seek to impose values alien to our culture. Section 7 of the Motion is thereby of dubious legal merit. As to a threat to established legal and constitutional structures, and an assault on sovereignty: Thirdly, we should reject the implications of Sections 1-4 of the Motion that Guyana conceded sovereignty generally in any way, and/or specifically on the context of corporal punishment, with its accession to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (hereinafter CRC). The words of Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation on page 14 of the Dossier are useful in advocating strongly that the U.N. Charter itself states that "Nothing contained [herein] shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter." Indeed, a 1960 General Assembly Resolution states that "All peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory." It is further contended with Fagan that the Motion illustrates that the U.N.'s long-standing respect for the right of sovereign nations to set their own domestic policies has, as with this Motion, yielded to a new countercultural agenda espoused in U.N. committee reports and documents, particularly those relating to the implementation of the CRC.
Fourthly, I signal to the Government and Parliament of Guyana that, consistent with Dr. Mark Hartwig’s abundant outline of evidence on page 8 of the Dossier, Section 5 of the Motion confirms the CRC’s threat to established legal and constitutional structures (in Guyana and elsewhere) on several distinct grounds. The issues outlined below are enough to evince caution at this time, and also if necessary to evince the two-thirds parliamentary unity necessary for the constitutional change needed to fend off the anarchy portended by the Motion: 1. It allows excessive breadth of interpretation; a) b) c) The CRC allows committee members too much room to impose their own ideological agenda. The committee chastised the (UK) government for allowing parents to withdraw their children from sexeducation classes if the parents disagreed with what was being presented. Precedence is given not to religion, culture, or the rights of parents, but to the committee’s ideological preferences— contrary to fundamental principles repeatedly affirmed in such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It gives the Committee on the Rights of the Child virtually unlimited jurisdiction; a) b) c) The CRC gives the committee a virtually unlimited mandate to insert It can demand wholesale changes in a country’s legal system, institutions In fact, the lack of an enforcement mechanism is what gives enforcement mechanism approved by the General Assembly would appeals—and would thereby limit the committee’s discretion. itself in the affairs of a nation. education system, and social-welfare the committee its broad reach. Any include provisions for due process and
It gives undue influence to special interests; a) NGOs have consultative status at the UN. Examples of such organizations are International Planned Parenthood, International Save the Children Alliance, World Assembly of Youth, the American Psychological Association, and the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. Not only are these working-group meetings closed to government representatives and the public, but the committee may invite NGOs to join these deliberations. This arrangement is ripe for abuse. It essentially allows groups that have a stake in the committee’s decisions to play a role in those decisions.
It undermines the legitimate role of parents: a) b) c) d) The rights and duties of parents are consistently given the lowest priority. The obvious role of parents as a frontline defense for their children is rejected in favor or some unspecified monitoring mechanism.” By weakening these bonds of accountability, the convention weakens important restraints on selfish, hurtful behavior. Allowing children to hide their activities also cuts the children off from their parents’ guidance and protection.
It advances policies that intrude on national sovereignty: a) b) The government reports and committee recommendations give citizens and interest groups legal standing to sue their governments and force compliance with the convention. Imagine the plaintiff in a lawsuit being able to meet privately with the jury before the trial, or a businessman joining a legislative committee to weigh a new law that affects his business. Such obvious conflicts of interest would never be tolerated in American law or politics. Neither should they be tolerated at the UN (or in Guyana).
As to the blind pursuit of a dubious political agenda to the detriment of the national ethos Fifthly, we would address the issue of the place of physical correction in the discipline of children. We use the words of Families First in its representation to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in 2003 to reject the point that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child considers the "reasonable chastisement" defence to be "a serious violation of the dignity of the child". At this forum, much as in/at the Ninth Parliament of Guyana, no supporting evidence was supplied to substantiate this view which appears to reflect a predetermined ideological commitment. In fact, we should point out that a generous amount of secular academic work and theological doctrine exists to the contrary. We point to pages 22, 25 and 27 of the Dossier below to illustrate the inadequacy and casualness with which the author of the Motion has treated this important issue. Families First goes on to illustrate that the UK’s equivalent of the NCRC went on to call for blanket legislation against all forms of physical punishment as a matter of "urgency" and suggests that corporal punishment is a negative and violent form of discipline. We point to pages 15 and 30 of the Dossier in dismissing this position. We further urge comprehensive review of the calamitous developments in Sweden and Trinidad documented on pages 6, 11 and 19 of the Dossier as further evidence in this regard. These developments, including a 519% increase in child-on-child assaults for Sweden, all occurred after “bans” on corporal punishment.
Therefore, on the basis of the experience of generations of parents and academic research findings, I join Families First in rejecting the notion that all forms of corporal discipline are negative and violent, and constitute a violation of a child's human dignity and physical integrity. We use the words of David Benatar at page 12 of the Dossier to show that no less than five safeguards (Infrequent pain without injury; Non-discrimination; Due process; Timing; and other Safeguards) can be generally applied to legitimize the application of corporal punishment in schools. Consistent with the Families First position, I am “…enclosing along with this submission references to our paper “Not Without Reason: The place of physical correction in the discipline of children”, which was submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in advance of its day of general discussion on "Violence against children within the family and in schools" in June 2001. This paper addresses the emotive language frequently employed by campaigners who wish to impose their own unproven philosophy on all other parents by force of law and draws on research findings which demonstrate the positive benefits of appropriate physical correction used in conjunction with reason and in the context of a warm relationship where the child is valued and cherished.” The document “Not Without Reason …“ is referenced at pages 13 and 16 of this Dossier. I should also mention that the highlighted annotation at the head of page 16 in the Dossier has serious academic and moral implications, and I will supply evidence of this duplicity in the ongoing correspondence between Families First and the CRIN website by anyone writing to RogerWilli@Yahoo.com. I believe that the failure of the Motion to bring the magnitude and scholarship of the opposing view, and its implications, to the attention of Parliament represents the blind pursuit of a dubious political agenda to the detriment of the national ethos As to bias, and a threat to constitutional provisions regarding freedom of religion: I am mindful of the responsibility to provide perspective and clarity to the House, unlike the authors of the Motion. Sixthly, therefore, the President and Members of Parliament will find that the attached Dossier, distilled from hundreds of pages of research to a compact 30-page format, addresses the obvious bias in the Motion to the House. The Dossier outlines alternative perspectives of approaching the idea of corporal punishment that corresponds with the view, both academic and spiritual, of a majority of Guyana’s population. It identifies the new imperative in the issue of corporal punishment, and with other social issues, as “Education & Information” rather than “abolition”. It presents corporal punishment as a meaningful and time-honoured part of an overall strategy to enable meaningful and productive child development. It illustrates that a liberal approach to child development, without being under-girded by the incentive of corporal punishment, is decidedly flawed. It shows that “corporal punishment” is a credible alternative/support to other strategies of discipline and child-development, and that a robust body of research-based knowledge and theological experience already exists to show that the concept has been effective. Finally, it demonstrates how corporal punishment has been put into good effect in relevant child- and adult-populations, and its relevance to Guyana’s unique circumstances. We therefore conclude that corporal punishment is beneficial in schools when applied within the parameters of existing Ministry of Education guidelines, and the safeguards outlined. To the extent that any leeway given to the AFC on this Motion will portend a future attempt to ban corporal punishment altogether, I conclude further that it should be left to parents to determine disciplinary measures in the home. I call on the government and parliamentarians to legislate or defer accordingly. The Caribbean (including Guyana) is an example of good family life and values. Discipline by authority figures is encouraged to be administered in an environment of affection. We must not import the failed model of other countries. In 2004, the Guyanese public was consulted on this very issue (http://www.corpun.com/gys00406.htm, and facilitated by a workshop run by the First Lady. The response from the majority, including a clear voice from our children, was a resounding "No" to the removal of CP. Sincerely, Roger Williams Georgetown, Guyana; June 2007 Disclaimer:
While this document/dossier is styled as an "advisory" which any person/organization can choose to adopt, I stress that the text of the entire document has been screened to represent and reflect a purely personal opinion, and should not be construed at this time as the opinion of the Christian Community in Guyana or the respective churches or heads of churches that its members represent (I had styled another version as a more direct advisory to the Christian Community). While I have tried to be diligent in the editorial process, any typographical or constructional errors that take away from this are entirely my responsibility, and should be brought to my attention immediately. A public apology and correction will be offered immediately. Roger Williams
The totality of the available facts found in this dossier … is substantial in itself. One disturbing development is that pro-ban and anti-Christian activists now seem more preoccupied with the very reasonable professional academic position in the disclaimer above than with an acknowledgement of the substance exposed in the dossier. At the time of this disclaimer-update, the dossier has been in the public eye in over 100 countries for about seven months. It is now possible to strongly recommend the dossier as the foundation of an official position for the Christian community and Guyanese citizens generally. As outlined in the Introduction on page 7, all readers are encouraged to do follow-up reading of their own for each of the articles cited and arguments used, and to provide comments and feedback to us through RogerWilli@Yahoo.com. These comments/arguments will be included in future editions. Roger Williams March 30, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Context: Good law should be based on good data! Introduction …………………………………………… 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 22 25 27 28
……………………………………………………………………………..………….……. ……………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………… ……………………….
Implications of the CRC for sovereignty!
Is this challenge to sovereignty evident in Guyana?
Insert: Considering the results of Trinidad’s “ban” by MoE circular! Defining corporal punishment!
The place of physical correction in the discipline of children A counter-cultural agenda?
The intentions of the original framers of the CRC Convention!
What happens when/if corporal punishment is removed from a range of measures? ….... UN Conventions undermine family, religion and sovereignty! Sweden’s smacking ban: more harm than good! ………………………………...
“Brief” and “detailed” critiques of Dr. Liz Gershoff’s review of corporal punishment! ..... Resources: The corporal punishment of children! (includes critique of Murray Strauss) ... A Biblical perspective on corporal punishment An open letter to Chantalle Smith, AFC Parliamentarian Conclusion …………………………………………… …………………………………
“But what does the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have to say on the matter of corporal punishment? It may be eye-opening to some that the Convention does not mention the term ‘corporal punishment’ at all. Article 28(2) which is used as the basis for the call to abolish corporal punishment in schools states: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention” “… I believe that the guidelines for corporal punishment of learners set out on page 21 of the Guyana Ministry of Education’s Manual of Guidelines for the Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools, published in April 2002, adequately address this matter. These guidelines provide for corporal punishment to be administered by a Head or senior teacher, in appropriate circumstances such as fighting or gross insubordination, in an appropriate place, privately and on the hands or buttocks, with the appropriate instrument, cane or strap, and must be documented in the Misdemeanour Book the same day the punishment is administered. These provisions are in keeping with Guyanese traditions, cultural values and the dignity of our children and must be upheld by the Ministry of Education. This also is in keeping with the Convention itself which stipulates that the due account must be taken “of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child.” See Lionel Persaud’s full text on Page 9 of this document!
GOOD LAW SHOULD BE BASED ON GOOD DATA AND EVIDENCE
Data above is for Sweden: A 519% increase in assaults after the ban “I do not question the good intentions of Dr. Durrant and other advocates for smacking bans. They sincerely think that smacking bans will improve the welfare of children. Unfortunately, there is no objective evidence that the overall situation has improved for children in countries that have adopted smacking bans.”( http://www.christian.org.uk/pdfpublications/sweden_smacking.pdf) Larzelere, p. 19 of this document. “Other countries need unbiased, objective evaluations of spanking bans and the resulting balance between child protection and parent empowerment before discrediting generations of parental disciplinary practice” (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/rdurrunl.75.pdf) Larzelere responds to Durrant’s criticism of document above.
THE RESULT? See Page 13 of this document… The Families First Report goes on to conclude about Sweden that so great is the public concern about the impact of the 1979 law two decades on, that two Swedish lawyers, one of whom also serves as a chief of police, are calling for a review of the legislation. While supporting a child’s right to care, security and respect, they are convinced that the ban on physical discipline: “… is so dangerous it must be repealed... The law and the courts enforce the child’s rights not to be subjected to physical punishment despite what the child might have done. The law has thus given rise to absurd situations. Many parents are afraid of their children and dare not chastise them because they know that they can be reported to the police, indicted and fined or sentenced to prison... The law against the physical punishment of children is dangerous and must be repealed because it does more harm to the children than a spanking from mother or father. When the authorities - social or police - intervene in the life of a wellfunctioning family, its life is destroyed. There is nothing that can mend the hurt and pain and the bitterness that the authorities cause, and the children are the losers!”
The reader will find that there is stunning correlation and agreement between the Judeo-Christian position on corporal punishment and enterprising, detailed and academically distinguished secular research. The position is also eminently consistent with the Ministry of Education’s current Manual of Guidelines for the Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools. There are implications for this issue at the “Child-development” and “Adult” levels. As complex as the exercise is, this generalized treatment serves its introductory purpose. To achieve this end we should allow “snapshots” of expert opinion to speak for us. It will be comforting to find out that what the Bible says in a few sentences is almost always inevitably borne out by unbiased scholarly research. The Christian position on Corporal Punishment is summarized at http://www.creationists.org/corporalpunishment.html. It is very clear, and summarized in full at pages 25-27 herein. Readers are encouraged to do follow-up reading of their own for each of the articles cited and arguments used, and use the contact information on our cover page to provide comments and feedback to the through RogerWilli@Yahoo.com. These comments will be included in future editions. There are usually two sides to every argument, and that the only sure way of ensuring that the truth prevails is to consider both sides openly and honestly … with scholarship, evidence and common sense coming together to accommodate objective, if not definitive, judgement on an issue. The scholarship which supports the classic activity and perspective of the Church and Faith-Based-Organizations (FBOs) has been consistently left out of the pool of available information used in framing the role of corporal punishment in a range of measures to enable disciplined and productive child development. This Dossier seeks to correct that. For example, the position of the David Benatar (http://www.corpun.com/benatar.htm ) speaks volumes: “In the first instance, my arguments, although lengthy, have been directed against a radical yet commonly held view -- that corporal punishment should never be inflicted. I have sought to show that this position is untenable, even though the arguments for it do show that frequent and severe physical punishment is morally wrong … My view is that the empirical data, insofar as I have understood them, are insufficient to defend the extreme view that physical punishment should never be administered”. The entire process and argument for the ban on corporal punishment has been characterized by deception. Nowhere has this deception been evident as in the misrepresentation of Benatar’s work. Benatar destroys seven of the myths the pro-ban crowd in Guyana have foisted on the Guyanese people: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment leads to abuse”, and shows us why! Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment is degrading”, and rationalizes why! Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment stems from and causes sexual deviance”, and shows why not! Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment teaches the wrong lesson”, and rationalises why not! Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment necessarily injures authority relationships” Benatar disagrees with the view “That corporal punishment does not deter” and outlines why! Benatar disagrees with the view “That all the arguments above taken together fare better”, and rationalizes why not!
Benatar then outlines the case for limited corporal punishment as follows: 8. 9. 10. 11. 12: Corporal punishment punishes only the guilty! Corporal punishment plays a significant role in the scale of punishments! Corporal punishment is not a good in itself, but a good alternative/substitute to other punishments! Child-rearing and parents’ liberty interests are protected! Parental and academic requirements could be satisfied with the judicious use of five safeguards, namely: Infrequent pain without injury; Non-discrimination; Due process; Timing; other safeguards such as 1) the offences for which the child may be physically punished; 2) the implement used to inflict the punishment; 3) the number of blows; 4) the places on the body to which such punishment may be administered.
Parliament, and the Ministry of Education, is urged to rule against the attempt to ban corporal punishment. Sincerely, Roger Williams Georgetown, Guyana May-June 2007 (Please refer to disclaimer on page 4)
IMPLICATIONS OF THE CRC FOR SOVERIGNITY
Article: “False Promises: How the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Undermines National Sovereignty, the Legitimate Role of Parents and the Well-Being of Children“ Dr. Mark Hartwig. He comments on the reasons why the CRC-regime is generally unacceptable to sovereign states. . http://www.worldfamilypolicy.org/New%20Page/Forum/2001/Hartwig.pdf;
Dr. Hartwig offers that the provisions of the CRC are unacceptable because of the following five reasons: 1. It allows excessive breadth of interpretation;
a) b) c) The CRC allows committee members too much room to impose their own ideological agenda. The committee chastised the (UK) government for allowing parents to withdraw their children from sex-education classes if the parents disagreed with what was being presented.3 Precedence is given not to religion, culture, or the rights of parents, but to the committee’s ideological preferences— contrary to fundamental principles repeatedly affirmed in such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It gives the Committee on the Rights of the Child virtually unlimited jurisdiction;
a) b) c) the CRC gives the committee a virtually unlimited mandate to insert itself in the affairs of a nation. It can demand wholesale changes in a country’s legal system, education system, and social-welfare institutions In fact, the lack of an enforcement mechanism is what gives the committee its broad reach. Any enforcement mechanism approved by the General Assembly would include provisions for due process and appeals—and would thereby limit the committee’s discretion.
It gives undue influence to special interests;
a) NGOs have consultative status at the UN. Examples of such organizations are International Planned Parenthood, International Save the Children Alliance, World Assembly of Youth, the American Psychological Association, and the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. Not only are these working-group meetings closed to government representatives and the public, but the committee may invite NGOs to join these deliberations.9 This arrangement is ripe for abuse. It essentially allows groups that have a stake in the committee’s decisions to play a role in those decisions.
It undermines the legitimate role of parents
a) b) c) d) The rights and duties of parents are consistently given the lowest priority. The obvious role of parents as a frontline defense for their children is rejected in favor or some unspecified monitoring mechanism.” By weakening these bonds of accountability, the convention weakens important restraints on selfish, hurtful behavior. Allowing children to hide their activities also cuts the children off from their parents’ guidance and protection.
It advances policies that intrude on national sovereignty
a) b) The government reports and committee recommendations give citizens and interest groups legal standing to sue their governments and force compliance with the convention. Imagine the plaintiff in a lawsuit being able to meet privately with the jury before the trial, or a businessman joining a legislative committee to weigh a new law that affects his business. Such obvious conflicts of interest would never be tolerated in American law or politics. Neither should they be tolerated at the UN.
“The U.N. Charter itself states that "Nothing contained [herein] shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall 4 require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter." And a 1960 General Assembly Resolution states that "All peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, 5 the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory." But the U.N.'s long-standing respect for the right of sovereign nations to set their own domestic policies has yielded to a new countercultural agenda espoused in U.N. committee reports and documents, particularly those relating to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of 6 the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against 7 Women (CEDAW). (See page 14 of this document for more of this argument)
IS THIS CHALLENGE TO SOVERIGNITY EVIDENT IN GUYANA?
Article: Author: Location: “Viewpoint on corporal punishment “; June 10, 2004 Mr. Lionel Persaud; Elder, Bethel Gospel Hall. Unpublished!
In early February 2004 the Agenda of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) with regard to corporal punishment, began to be widely publicized in Guyana. Page 2 of the February 6th Stabroek News carried the caption “Abolish Corporal Punishment - UN Committee tells Guyana”. This Agenda is set out in greater detail in a January 2004 UN Document CRC/C/15 Add. 224 paragraphs. 31 and 32 where with regard to Guyana it is stated: “The Committee expresses its concern at the fact that corporal punishment is still widely practised in the family, in schools and in institutions, and that domestic legislation does not prohibit its use. The Committee recommends that the State Party [Guyana] • expressly prohibit corporal punishment by law in the family, schools and other institutions”
It is in this context that the action of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRS) to conduct a workshop on “Discipline Without Beating” must be understood. This Workshop is scheduled for 16-17 June 2004 at the Pegasus Hotel. In a letter of invitation of 14 April 2004 to one participant, the Chairperson of the NCRC, Her Excellency Varshnie Jagdeo, First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, has stated that: “The objective of the Workshop is to: • • • Explore alternatives to beating in homes and schools; Reflect on the escalating violence in society and consider ways reduced; and Launch a campaign to abolish beating in schools” .
in which such violence could be
In a subsequent letter of 4 May 2004 on the National Commission’s letterhead, addressed to Head Teachers in Georgetown and signed by Ms. R. Singh Administrative Assistant, the positions and signatures of primary school pupils and secondary school students are being sought as to whether children should be beaten in schools. At this point permit me to express a few concerns on the process: Firstly. Is it appropriate for the National Commission on the Rights of the Child to address itself to Head Teachers who come under the purview of the Ministry of Education, notwithstanding the claim of collaboration with the Ministry of Education? Can any other Commission give directives to Head Teachers? Secondly. Is it also appropriate for the signatures of schoolchildren to be sought and obtained on any matter without the consent of their parents or guardians? Thirdly. It appears that the stated objective of the Workshop “to launch a campaign to abolish beating in schools” prejudges the outcome of the process of consultation and of the event before it takes place. It is clear that the results are determined before the experiment is conducted. Fourthly. The Head of a visiting UNICEF Team indicated on the NCN midday News on Friday 4 June that he had received governmental commitment with regard to legislation to abolish corporal punishment. Does that act, if true, make the abovementioned Workshop a show and a farce? But what does the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have to say on the matter of corporal punishment? It may be eye-opening to some that the Convention does not mention the term ‘corporal punishment’ at all. Article 28(2) which is used as the basis for the call to abolish corporal punishment in schools states: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention”.
The Convention also addresses a wide range of children’s issues and speaks against violence and abuse of children. While I condemn all forms of violence against and abuse of children, I must affirm that corporal punishment administered in the home and the school in a loving, prudent and sensitive manner, can be an instrument of our children’s growth and development. Indeed, I believe that the guidelines for corporal punishment of learners set out on page 21 of the Guyana Ministry of Education’s Manual of Guidelines for the Maintenance of Order and Discipline in Schools, published in April 2002, adequately address this matter. These guidelines provide for corporal punishment to be administered by a Head or senior teacher, in appropriate circumstances such as fighting or gross insubordination, in an appropriate place, privately and on the hands or buttocks, with the appropriate instrument, cane or strap, and must be documented in the Misdemeanour Book the same day the punishment is administered. These provisions are in keeping with Guyanese traditions, cultural values and the dignity of our children and must be upheld by the Ministry of Education. This also is in keeping with the Convention itself which stipulates that the due account must be taken “of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child.” We in Guyana must interpret Article 28:2 for ourselves and resist foreign interpretations which seek to impose values alien to our culture. Values which are fraught with contradiction such as the abolition of corporal punishment in schools and the home but the liberty to purchase a gun under the guise of the right to bear arms. The National Commission must be made aware of the furore that would be caused by any attempt to remove corporal punishment in the home. I raise the red flag at this juncture to indicate that this would run counter to the fundamental right of freedom of religion which is enshrined in the Guyana Constitution. The Christian faith allows for the use of the ’rod’ in the context of a package of training and disciplinary measures including instruction, correction, reproof, rebuke and warning among others. The rod must always be lovingly, feelingly and sparingly applied in a manner that is both timely and appropriate to the misconduct and must be accompanied by the counsel that is needed. The word ‘rod’ is also translated ‘scepter’, an instrument associated with rulership, authority and correct guidance. Moses’ rod worked wonders for Israel and Christ’s Shepherd rod is both an instrument of comfort and protection. It must also be pointed out, that Christians are both called upon to obey and respect Governmental and other Authorities and when it comes to differences on matters such as these between Church and State, we are called to obey God rather than men. What else does the Convention say on the rights of children? Among many others : • • • It calls on State Parties to recognise the responsibilities, and duties of parents. (Article 5) It recognizes the right of every child to life (Article 6) It takes account of the statement in the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth”. (Preamble) It calls for respect of the child’s religion and that of the child’s parents, legal guardians or family members; (Article 14) It states that State Parties shall make higher education accessible to all; (Article 28) It states that State Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. (Article 34)
• • •
It is clear that the National Commission has clutched as its priority the controversial issue of corporal punishment when the weightier matters listed above are begging attention. Consider, that Article 28 calls for State parties to provide access to higher education for all. Consider also that in Guyana 2 persons in every 1000 receive university education, compared with the third world average of 11, and the first world average of over fifty. If there is the desire is to copy elements of first world society then let us copy the good ones like this. There is a glaring need for repeal of the Abortion Law which contravenes both the spirit and letter of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which recognizes the right to life and to legislative protection before and after birth. What a contradiction it is to say we can kill children before birth but cannot cane them when appropriate. Finally, it is somewhat puzzling to note that the National Commission has made no public statement to date on the Reeaz Khan issue of sexual abuse of a 13 year old child. Such abuse is proscribed in the Convention. Shouldn’t the National Commission play a lead role in raising the age of consent which has been mooted for
over a decade. And since the Convention defines a child as, “every human being under the age of 18 years..” then I suggest that the Commission should recommend that the age of consent be raised to eighteen years. In conclusion, I believe, the stage has been set for the National Commission on the Rights of the Child to engage in genuine, overt, broad-based, national consultations with all interested parties, on the fulfillment of Guyana’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Such a grouping should prioritise those issues that can be immediately implemented in the best interests and harmonious development of our children. I have every confidence that there would be a outpouring of goodwill, support, collaboration and resources for the implementation of any Action Plan that would be derived from that process. Lionel Persaud … Viewpoint, 10 June 2004
CONSIDER THE RESULTS OF TRINIDAD’S CIRCULAR “BAN” 'Bring back the whip' By Darren Bahaw; Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 17 June 2004
http://www.corpun.com/tts00406.htm A REPORT to combat violence and indiscipline in the nation's schools has recommended the reintroduction of corporal punishment as one of the immediate measures to be implemented by the Ministry of Education. Education Minister Hazel Manning, in releasing the report yesterday at the Hilton Trinidad, said Prof Ramesh Deosaran, author of the report, was commissioned to research the growing trend of indiscipline in schools and come up with the necessary solutions. Manning said the rush by the previous administration to provide secondary school places for all students in 2000 had contributed significantly to the current crisis in which pupils were entering a system inadequately prepared and the teachers were not trained to attend to their needs. She added that poor leadership in the management of some schools, teacher absenteeism, along with unpunctuality resulting in unsupervised students for long periods contributed to the problem. Manning also saw the scenario in which social and domestic issues overflow from the home into the classroom, poor physical school environment, including the lack of proper equipment and supplies and inadequate school security as parts of the problem. The Deosaran report recommended that corporal punishment, governed by strict controls and conditions, "be put in place for its use in schools for a three-year period, during which time a close study will be made of its efficacy and consequences for both teachers and students". "We cannot be guided purely by foreign research, nor by ungrounded philosophy, not when the teachers, parents and even students believe that at least the threat, if not the actual use, of corporal punishment is a deterrent to many students. "Of course, corporal punishment should not be seen as the only method of student control; but as part, in fact an extreme and rarely used part, of achieving classroom management and student discipline," the report stated. Deosaran conceded that the "policy and practice of corporal punishment in schools has been and still is quite bothersome. We note that the teachers and parents we consulted, almost unanimously (i.e., except two out of 145), supported the practice of corporal punishment in schools, but with 'some controls'." Manning said that the Ministry "will continue to implement the recommendations of the report" and the benchmarks provided will allow the Ministry to scientifically monitor the effectiveness of the strategies. She pleaded with the media to support the initiative.
DEFINING “CORPORAL PUNISHMENT”
Article: Author: Location: “Corporal Punishment“; Social Theory & Practice, Summer 1998, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p.237 David Benatar; Philosophy Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa http://www.corpun.com/benatar.htm; What is corporal punishment? Corporal punishment is, quite literally, the infliction of punishment on the body. Even once it is differentiated from "capital punishment," "corporal punishment" remains a very broad term. It can be used to refer to a wide spectrum of punishments ranging from forced labor to mutilating torture. My focus in this paper will be on a form of corporal punishment that seems to me to be the pivotal area of controversy -- the infliction of physical pain without injury.3 I am not suggesting that this is the most problematic form of corporal punishment, but I shall focus on it because it seems to be the mildest level of corporal punishment at which the disagreement enters. Furthermore, the infliction of pain without injury appears to be the variety of corporal punishment that is at stake in the debate, even though opponents of corporal punishment make frequent reference to those instances of corporal punishment that result in injury. Corporal punishment goes by a variety of names including, but not limited to, "beating," "hitting," "spanking," "paddling," "swatting," and "caning." Some of these terms are generic, others are specific to the severity of the punishment or the instrument used to inflict it. I shall use some of these terms interchangeably as general terms for corporal punishment…. Some Requirements for the Just Infliction of Corporal Punishment a. b. c. d. e. Infrequent pain without injury … Non-discrimination … Due process … Timing … Safeguards … Conclusion I have argued that corporal punishment is not always immoral. With appropriate restrictions and safeguards, it is sometimes permissible. There is a danger that the position I have advanced will be misunderstood. This danger lies partly in the polarization of views about corporal punishment, such that those who hold the polar views are not sensitive to an intermediate position. However, it is also partly attributable to the form this paper has taken. I have suggested a battery of arguments against the opponent of corporal punishment. Some positive arguments for this form of punishment were also raised. This may create the impression that mine is a vigorous defense of beating children for wrongdoing. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In the first instance, my arguments, although lengthy, have been directed against a radical yet commonly held view -- that corporal punishment should never be inflicted. I have sought to show that this position is untenable, even though the arguments for it do show that frequent and severe physical punishment is morally wrong. Second, although I think that corporal punishment is sometimes justified, I nevertheless feel uncomfortable about the idea of people being punished physically. I have a distinct distaste for the practice, and in the years that I taught school children I never resorted to corporal punishment. It may seem, then, as though my moral intuitions do not match my theoretical commitments. However, I think that an unease about corporal punishment is perfectly compatible with my theoretical position. There are many unpleasant practices that, although sometimes justified, should never be gleefully embraced. For example, it is sometimes justified to take another person's life, as in the case of self-defense, yet even in these circumstances we would judge the killer to be morally defective if he enjoyed or even failed to detest his killing of the aggressor. A killing is to be regretted even when it is justified. Finally, many of the arguments about corporal punishment rest, at least in part, on empirical questions. Indeed, as I have said, these are difficult matters to settle. My view is that the empirical data, insofar as I have understood them, are insufficient to defend the extreme view that physical punishment should never be administered. Nevertheless we should remain open to the fruits of further research and be prepared to adapt our views accordingly.31
PLACE OF PHYSICAL CORRECTION IN THE DISCIPLINE OF CHILDREN
Article: Author: “Not Without Reason: the place of physical correction in the discipline of children” Families First; June 2001; 173 Frinton Road, Kirby Cross, Frinton on Sea, Essex CO13 0PD; June 2001 http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.28/FamiliesFirst.pdf;or alternatively by requesting copies through RogerWilli@Yahoo.com; (Note, since our last reference to this material in December 2006, CRIN has under pressure hurriedly removed the electronic version from its website, while maintaining all the anti-CP references. It has since been returned. However, this kind of pressure is unacceptable and distasteful. Families First has written the CRIN network.)
Excerpt Summary: 1 Advocates of legislation against all physical punishment of children tend to be selective in their use of evidence, citing research on violence and abuse, and then proceeding to make a blanket application of the findings of such studies to all corporal discipline. There is a vital distinction to be drawn between abusive and violent corporal punishment on the one hand, and physical correction administered to a moderate extent out of a genuine concern for the moral development and safety of the child. A survey of articles on corporal punishment published in clinical and psychosocial journals has shown that they frequently take the form of opinion-driven commentaries. Most of the best studies, methodologically speaking, demonstrate the beneficial effects of appropriate physical correction. The rate of reported physical abuse of children in Sweden has increased dramatically since corporal discipline was outlawed in 1979. In Sweden, the prohibition of all forms of physical punishment has resulted in the prosecution of caring parents and the intervention of the social authorities in well functioning families with devastating effects. Recent reviews of academic studies on corporal punishment have concluded that there is no sound basis for the blanket imposition of legislation against all forms of physical correction. Studies which have measured for a balanced combination of corporal discipline and verbal reasoning, have found that it is effective in preventing a recurrence of misbehaviour and also leads to a reduction in the necessity of a physical sanction as children grow older. Research which takes a broad view of the dynamics of the family demonstrates the positive effects of corporal discipline used consistently and appropriately in the context of a warm, caring and loving parent-child relationship. Physical correction is most effective and beneficial for the child when it is used in response to disobedience or wilful defiance, in a controlled manner, accompanied by a verbal explanation and with the good of the child at heart. Research demonstrates that parents who use appropriate and moderate corporal punishment in the overall discipline of their children, use ridicule, fear and withdrawal of love less than other parents. Parents who are least likely to use corporal discipline are the most likely to report “explosive attacks of rage” when they are unable to control their children’s behaviour. Legislation against all physical punishment of children is unfounded and would be contrary to the interests both of children and their families. Parents should rather be encouraged to use corporal discipline in a responsible and effective way.
A COUNTER-CULTURAL AGENDA?
"How the UN Conventions On Women's and Children's Rights Undermine Family, Religion, and Sovereignty"
The Heritage Foundation; Patrick F. Fagan; 22 pages; http://www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/BG1407.cfm;
The U.N. Charter itself states that "Nothing contained [herein] shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall 4 require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter." And a 1960 General Assembly Resolution states that "All peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the 5 exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory." But the U.N.'s long-standing respect for the right of sovereign nations to set their own domestic policies has yielded to a new countercultural agenda espoused in U.N. committee reports and documents, particularly those relating to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the 6 Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 7 (CEDAW). Under the auspices of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, many of these committee reports urge countries to: ● Remove their prohibitions on prostitution and eventually legitimize it; for example, a CEDAW committee report on Germany--which has legalized prostitution--notes with disdain that "although they are legally 8 obliged to pay taxes, prostitutes still do not enjoy the protection of labor and social law [in Germany]" Make abortion a "demand right" protected by national and international law, with unrestricted access for teenagers, and make the non-provision of abortion a crime in all cases, even for reasons of conscience. A report to Croatia, for example, finds "the refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis 9 of conscientious objection of doctors...[constitutes] an infringement of women's reproductive rights." De-emphasize the role of mothers and increase incentives for them to work rather than stay 10 home to care for children. The U.N. criticized the republic of Georgia, for example, for "the prevalence of stereotyped roles of women in Government policies, in the family, in public life based on 11 One country patterns of behavior and attitudes that overemphasize the role of women as mothers." report even criticized the observance of Mother's Day. Reduce parental authority while expanding children's rights. In 1995, a CRC committee rebuked the United Kingdom for permitting parents to withdraw their children from sexeducation classes if 12 they disagreed with the content.
Encourage governments to change religious rules and customs that impede its efforts. A report on Indonesia states, for example, that "the most significant factors inhibiting women's ability to 13 participate in public life have been the cultural framework of values and religious beliefs." _______________________________________________________________________________
4. United Nations Charter, Article 2, Para. 7. 5. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), December 14, 1960, reiterated in General Assembly Resolution 52/119, December 12, 1997: "Popular sovereignty intensifies and fortifies the claim about the vital role that popular sovereignty plays in protecting and enhancing fundamental international human rights." See Robert John Araujo, "Sovereignty, Human Rights and Self-Determination: The Meaning of International Law," Brigham Young University Conference on the United Nations and the Family, June 2000, p. 14. 6. The 10 members of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) include "experts" in human rights and international law, juvenile justice, social work, medicine, journalism, and governmental and non- governmental work. The committee holds three sessions a year. See http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/2/fs10.htm#ii. 7. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) includes 23 "experts" on women's issues. Its mandate is to monitor progress made by signatories in fulfilling treaty obligations. At biannual meetings, members review reports submitted by states the year after signing the treaty and every four years thereafter. See http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/reports.htm for most of the CEDAW reports cited in this study. 8. CEDAW Committee, 22nd Sess. (2000), "Report on Germany," Para. 39. 9. Report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 13th Sess., to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 53rd Sess. (1998), "Report on Croatia," Document #A/53/38, Para. 109. 10. See Mark Genuis, The Myth of Quality Day Care (Calgary, Alberta: National Foundation for Family Research and Education, 2000). 11. CEDAW Committee, 21st Sess. (1999), "Report on Georgia," Para. 30. 12. CRC Committee, 8th Sess., Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, CRC/C/15/Add.34, February 15, 1995. 13. Report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 18th Sess., to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 53rd Sess. (1998), "Report on Indonesia," Document #A/53/38, Para. 10.
INTENTIONS OF THE ORIGINAL FRAMERS OF THE CRC CONVENTION
Article: Author: URL: “Joint Committee on Human Rights; Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence” Memorandum from Families First; March 2003, on the CRC http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/96/96a05.htm
1. THE UN COMMITTEE'S CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ON THE UNITED KINGDOM “… we would observe that the committee is imposing some extreme interpretations on the Convention as a means of promoting a somewhat radical social agenda. Certainly the committee has consistently pursued a course which goes way beyond what was in the minds of the original framers of the Convention, and far beyond what most states would have understood the Convention to mean when it was originally ratified. The Convention itself is framed in very broad terms. For example, the committee argues that an absolute ban on all physical correction of children is required by Article 19 of the Convention. But in reality, the Convention states that children should be protected from "all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse." It does not say anything about parental discipline at all. Similarly, in its insistence that homosexual and transsexual young people should receive information, support and protection to enable them to "live their sexual orientation", in its recommendation that contraception should be made available to schoolchildren free of charge, and in its call for the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1986, the Committee is going beyond the requirements of the Convention. We would also note that the committee is not consistent in its view of children. There is a strange anomaly in the report in that at the same time as calling for an absolute ban on all physical correction of children, the committee is also pressing for a considerable rise in the minimum age for criminal responsibility. On the one hand the committee wants children to be treated exactly the same as adults, while on the other, it wants them to be treated differently. The message being conveyed is that children should have adult rights but not adult responsibilities. We have three main concerns about the committee's approach: — It is seeking to impose an unproven philosophy of childhood on every country in the world in a way that fails to respect the social, cultural, religious and philosophical factors which shape each family; — It is undermining parents and the autonomy of the family. It is striking that in its 17-page report, the Committee focuses exclusively on the responsibility of the state for children, without giving any recognition to the role and responsibilities of their parents or of the family unit; and — It does not promote harmony within the home to think, speak and act in terms of the "rights" of one family member over against another, whether the family members are adults or children. 2. PHYSICAL CORRECTION OF CHILDREN The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child considers that the "reasonable chastisement" defence represents "a serious violation of the dignity of the child". No supporting evidence is supplied to substantiate this view which appears to reflect a predetermined ideological commitment. The committee goes on to call for blanket legislation against all forms of physical punishment as a matter of "urgency" and suggests that corporal punishment is a negative and violent form of discipline. On the basis of the experience of generations of parents and recent academic research findings, Families First rejects the notion that all forms of corporal discipline are negative and violent, and constitute a violation of a child's human dignity and physical integrity. We are enclosing along with this submission a copy of our paper “Not Without Reason: The place of physical correction in the discipline of children”, which we submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in advance of its day of general discussion on "Violence against children within the family and in schools" in June 2001. This paper addresses the emotive language frequently employed by campaigners who wish to impose their own unproven philosophy on all other parents by force of law and draws on research findings which demonstrate the positive benefits of appropriate physical correction used in conjunction with reason and in the context of a warm relationship where the child is valued and cherished….”
WHAT HAPPENS IF “CP” IS REMOVED FROM A RANGE OF MEASURES?
Article: Author: “Not Without Reason: the place of physical correction in the discipline of children” Families First; June 2001; 173 Frinton Road, Kirby Cross, Frinton on Sea, Essex CO13 0PD; June 2001 http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.28/FamiliesFirst.pdf;or alternatively by requesting copies through RogerWilli@Yahoo.com; (Note, since our last reference to this material in December 2006, CRIN had under pressure hurriedly removed the electronic version from its website, while maintaining all the anti-CP references. This kind of pressure is unacceptable, unacceptable and distasteful. Families First has written the CRIN network.)
“The inadvisability of legislating against the use of physical chastisement by parents is further reinforced by findings which suggest that such a measure may, in fact, contribute to an increase of violence and abuse against children rather than reduce it. Significantly, Baumrind (1973) reported that those parents who were the least likely to use corporal discipline, were the most likely to report: “explosive attacks of rage in which they inflicted more pain or injury upon the child than they had intended... Permissive parents apparently became violent because they felt that they could neither control the child’s behaviour nor tolerate its effect upon themselves.”57 It is therefore with some justification that Larzelere suggests: “… it could be that prohibiting all spanking eliminates the type of mild spanking that serves to maintain control before escalating into a coercive cycle of violence (Patterson 1982). Using a mild spanking as a back-up for less aversive discipline responses subsequently makes those less aversive responses more effective by themselves, thereby avoiding the coercive cycle of violence further (Day & Roberts 1983; Roberts 1988; Roberts & Powers 1990; Sather 1992).58 This would account for the reported rise in the rates of both physical child abuse and youth violence in Sweden since corporal discipline was outlawed there in 1979. Where parents are deprived of a sanction which, when appropriately used, will nip problem behaviour in the bud, the result will be that their children run the risk of becoming out of control and the parents reach breaking point, when they are inclined to act in a manner which is neither moderate nor reasonable. There is mounting evidence to suggest that a lack of parental control is a major factor in the increase in youth crime. In this connection, it is of interest to note that the recent Gallup report Youth Crime in the 90s, found that 66% of parents were finding it more difficult to discipline their children because of fear of being accused of abuse. The same survey found that 82% wanted greater parental power to discipline children without fear of prosecution. The report concluded that: “… Less trendy theory, return to corporal punishment, return to disciplinary fatherhood are measures that would have popular adult support.”59
SEE ALSO … A Comparison of Two Recent Reviews of Scientific Studies of Physical Punishment by Parents (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/Larzelere02.html) by Larzelere, June 2002. In a more comprehensive review of Gershoff's article, Larzelere shows that "child outcomes associated with ordinary physical punishment are also associated with alternative disciplinary tactics when similar research methods are used. Detrimental child outcomes are associated with the frequency of any disciplinary tactic, not just physical punishment. Therefore, it is the excessive misbehavior that is the actual cause of detrimental outcomes in children."
UN CONVENTIONS UNDERMINE FAMILY, RELIGION AND SOVERIGNITY
"How the UN Conventions On Women's and Children's Rights Undermine Family, Religion, and Sovereignty"
A Heritage Foundation Report; by Patrick F. Fagan http://www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/BG1407.cfm ;
The Heritage Foundation's 22-page report illustrates the unprecedented socio-political agenda that the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has engaged in. We ignore the findings of these reports at our peril, and risk guiding Guyana down a calamitous path to social liberalism and anarchy. Expanding Children's Rights If the U.N. committees have their way, the freedom of parents to raise their own children, to shape their behaviors, and to safeguard their moral upbringing will be a relic of past centuries—despite such clear articulation of parents' rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the following: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children." That almost all cultures and religions have protected the time-honored role of parents in forming the character of children does not deter the U.N. from seeking changes in domestic laws to bypass parents on matters dealing with their children. The U.N. committees are urging states to give minor children: • • • • • The right to privacy, even in the household; The right to professional counseling without parental consent or guidance; The full right to abortion and contraceptives, even when that would violate the parents' ethics and desires; The right to full freedom of expression at home and in school; The legal mechanisms to challenge in court their parent's authority in the home.
For example, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends to the Japanese government that it "guarantee the child's right to privacy, especially in the family." Such a measure would establish legal and structural wedges between parents and their children in the home. Normally, when children rebel against their parents, society frowns. Yet the U.N. is attempting to put in place, in policy and law, structures that foster this type of rebellion. Among the broad "rights" of children articulated in the CRC are freedom of expression; freedom to receive and impart all information and ideas, either orally, in writing, or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice; freedom of association; and freedom of peaceful assembly. The language of the treaty could be interpreted to prohibit parents, for example, from putting software on their children's computers to filter out pornography if their children opposed their intervention. Once this "right" is embedded in domestic law, children could easily gain access to legal help from NGOs or government agencies to challenge their parents in court. Indeed, the U.N. committee report to Belize recommends that the government set up legal mechanisms to help children challenge their parents, including making an "independent child-friendly mechanism" accessible to In children "to deal with complaints of violations of their rights and to provide remedies for such violations." other words, the CRC committee is suggesting that the state create some entity to supervise parents, a structure that enables children in Belize to challenge their parents' parenting in court. Then the CRC committee goes even further: Its report asserts that it is "concerned that the law does not allow children, particularly adolescents, to seek medical or legal counseling without parental consent, even when it is in the best interests of the child." This statement illustrates the committee's intent to undermine the authority of parents, especially those who hold traditional religious beliefs or who would disagree with the committee's radical interpretation of the CRC. The definition of medical attention and counseling for adolescents is a continuing area of dispute at U.N. conferences, as illustrated in the preparatory commission reports and final conference proceedings
61 60 59 58 56 57
meetings as the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, the Beijing World Conference on Women in 1995, the ICPD+5 conference in 1999, and the Beijing+5 conference in 2000. The counseling for children is likely to include information on abortion and contraceptives, regardless of parents' guidance. The latest, most authoritative research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that opposition by parents to contraception for their teenage children is protective and effective in At the Beijing+5 conference, the clash between those who wanted to reducing rates of teen pregnancy. protect parental rights and those who opposed those rights almost scuttled the possibility of a final conference document. The U.N. committee's opposition to the freedom of parents to guide the moral education of their children is made clear in a CRC committee rebuke directed at the United Kingdom in 1995. The committee stated that insufficient attention has been given to the right of the child to express his/her opinion, including in cases where parents in England and Wales have the possibility of withdrawing their children from parts of the sex education programs in school. In this as in other decisions, including exclusion from school, the child is not systematically invited to express his/her opinion and those opinions many not be given due weight, as required under article 12 of the Convention.
The U.N. committee went even further in its recommendation to the Ethiopian government, urging it to change its laws so that "the limitation of the right to legal counsel of children be abolished as a matter of priority."
Consider how direct the CRC committee is in its advice to Austria to increase children's rights over parents' authority: "Austrian Law and regulations do not provide a legal minimum age for medical counseling and treatment without parental consent... [and] that the requirement of a referral to the courts will dissuade children from seeking medical attention and be prejudicial to the best interests of the child." Austria, like all nations, has defined the age at which the child becomes legally independent of the parent. This effort by the U.N. committee to make states define a different age for medical counseling and treatment is targeted specifically at removing parents' control over the moral formation of their children and the parameters of their children's sexual behavior. The U.N. committee showed little awareness that Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65 percent of its land area either desert or semi-desert. About 10 percent of the population is nomadic, and some 80 percent of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Per capita GDP in Mali in 1998 was estimated to be $790. Yet the U.N. suggests that Mali allocate "adequate human and financial resources, to develop youth-friendly counseling, care and rehabilitation facilities for adolescents that would be accessible without parental consent, where this is in the best interests of the child." The preparatory session leading up to the Beijing 1995 conference illustrates that making "counseling" and "rehabilitation facilities" accessible is "U.N.speak" for giving government agencies and NGOs the right to guide minor children toward abortion services and counseling on contraceptives regardless of the wishes of their parents.
68 67 66 65
The overall agenda is to seek changes in the laws of each nation that will weaken the freedom and authority of parents to direct the moral education and attitudes of their children. Nowhere is there a suggestion in the CRC reports to signatory nations that the role of parents should be strengthened, even though most parents and observers agree that raising children is becoming increasingly difficult. The U.N. demonstrated that it is no longer a friend to parents in its deliberate stand at the First United Nations Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which resulted in promulgation of the U.N. Declaration on Youth During the deliberations, the U.N. conference rejected the inclusion of a statement in Lisbon in August 1998. about the role and importance of marriage, parents, and families to the upbringing of youth. The U.N. stand prompted an objection from the Vatican, which repeatedly sought to introduce the concept of parent's rights, duties and responsibilities to provide appropriate direction and guidance to their youth, in a manner consistent with their evolving capacities, a right enshrined in the most significant international documents of this century.... Despite our best joint efforts...[the declaration] continues to fail to take into account the vital role which parents must play.... [T]here is no language currently in the draft Lisbon Declaration as regards marriage and the creation of the family.
As this statement makes clear, the omission from the declaration of a statement about marriage and a parent's vital role in a child's upbringing was not an oversight; it was deliberate. The U.N. agenda is subverting parental authority and the standing of marriage, regardless of the language in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
SWEDEN’S SMACKING BAN: MORE HARM THAN GOOD
"Sweden’s Smacking Ban: More Harm Than Good”
Robert E Larzelere PhD; Associate Professor of Psychology; University of Nebraska Medical Center, responds to criticisms by Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba http://www.christian.org.uk/pdfpublications/sweden_smacking.pdf ;
Violence by young perpetrators: Durrant concluded that those raised after the 1979 ban on smacking were less likely to be perpetrators of 14 assaults against children, relative to overall societal trends. Table 1 summarizes the percentage increases in criminal assaults against 7-14 year-olds by the age of perpetrator, from the very source that Durrant used to 15 test this hypothesis. This shows that the largest increases occurred for perpetrators under 15 years of age, who were born after the ban on smacking. The second largest percentage increase occurred for 15-19 year-old perpetrators, who were aged 0-4 when the law was passed in 1979. Thus those raised after the ban on smacking are increasingly likely to be perpetrators of such assaults as they grow up. How then did Durrant arrive at the opposite conclusion? First, she reported the percentage of all perpetrators who were in a particular age cohort rather than the actual frequency of criminal assaults. This distances the readers from the actual descriptive data and obscures the fact that assaults against children were increasing for all age groups. Second, she featured adults in their twenties as the youngest cohort. Age of suspect 1984 (Birth Year) 1994 (Birth Year) % increase Table 1 shows that the smallest percentage increase in assaults against 7-14 year-olds was by 25-29 yearolds. People in this age group were at least 10 years old when the ban on smacking was introduced in 1979. By combining them with 20-24 year-olds, she obtained a group that was increasing its criminal assaults against children less rapidly than the older cohorts. Since this category of assaults was increasing less rapidly, it was decreasing as a percentage of all assaults against children. In the journal article, but not in the paper published by Save the Children, Durrant acknowledged that the number of assaults by 15-19 year-olds against 7-14 year-olds increased significantly from 1984 to 1994, but she claimed that as a proportion of all perpetrators, there was no significant increase among 15-19 year-olds. Nevertheless Table 1 shows that the percentage increase in assaults against 7-14 year-olds was larger for 1519 year-old perpetrators than in any older group. Its percentage increase is exceeded only by perpetrators born after the ban on smacking, whose assaults increased by 519% from 1984 to 1994. This trend was reported by Durrant, but in a separate section on youth crime. In her published article she combined data on assaults
against children under 7 as well as assaults against 7-14 year-olds. Assaults by 7-14 year-olds against children under 7 are infrequent and relatively stable, so combining the two ages of victims serves to dampen the increase of 519% shown in Table 1…. Summary Joan Durrant draws conclusions about four major trends since Sweden’s 1979 ban on smacking. On the first three trends, the very sources she cites strongly suggest conclusions opposite to hers. Attitudes and practices about corporal punishment have changed very little since 1979. In fact such changes were far more dramatic before 1979. Secondly, the best indicators of physical child abuse showed a 489% increase in physical child abuse cases classified as criminal assaults in Sweden from 19811994. Child abuse fatalities have been infrequent in Sweden both before and after the 1979 legislation, though not as low as Durrant claims. Thirdly, the best evidence suggests that perpetration of criminal assaults against 7-14 year-olds is increasing most rapidly in age groups raised after the law against smacking was passed. This directly contradicts Durrant’s conclusion based on selected evidence from the same data source. On the fourth issue, it is difficult to evaluate the extent to which the Swedish social services have achieved an optimal balance between a preventive approach to protecting children on the one hand, and becoming overly intrusive on the other. Most of the evidence suggests that the large increase in assaults by minors and in physical child abuse is not entirely explained by changes in reporting mechanisms. Critics of the law do not think the increase has been caused entirely by the ban on smacking. Rather, the critics say that the influence of parents has been inadvertently compromised by the entire set of overly intrusive Swedish policies. Because parents have been disempowered, the police must intervene in many more incidents than was previously the case. Sweden has historically been a very non-violent country, especially compared to the United States. Perhaps Sweden can afford a sixfold increase in criminal assaults by minors against minors. Other countries cannot. Accordingly, we need to get a much more convincing explanation of this increase in Sweden before other countries regard Sweden as an example to emulate. We also need objective, unbiased evidence that their policies have reduced physical child abuse. Such evidence does not currently exist.1 To repeat the main conclusion of my 1999 article with Dr Byron Johnson of Princeton University, we need timely, rigorous and unbiased evaluations of these kinds of policy changes in the future. The degree of bias in Durrant’s evaluations increases my suspicions that the success of Sweden’s ban on smacking is uneven at best and counterproductive at worst. Successful policy changes do not need their evaluations to be biased to document their success…. Conclusion At every point, the evidence contradicts Dr. Durrant’s conclusions. The decline in acceptability of smacking in Sweden occurred prior to their 1979 smacking ban and, if anything, has reversed since then. Their rates of physical child abuse and criminal assaults by minors against minors have increased at least five- or six-fold since the smacking ban. Finally, their programs to support childrearing include removing children from their homes far more often than in most other countries. Before other countries follow Sweden’s example of a smacking ban, they need to explain Sweden’s subsequent increase in child abuse and criminal assaults, if they hope to avoid those consequences of the Swedish example. As one of the least violent countries in the world, perhaps Sweden can afford a six-fold increase in criminal assaults by minors against minors. Most countries cannot risk a six-fold increase in criminal assaults by minors. I do not question the good intentions of Dr. Durrant and other advocates for smacking bans. They sincerely think that smacking bans will improve the welfare of children. Unfortunately, there is no objective evidence that the overall situation has improved for children in countries that have adopted smacking bans. Whenever an absolute anti-smacking agenda has been evaluated by a range of scientists, it has failed to earn a consensus of support, e.g., in the only scientific consensus conference on the topic in 1996.27 While the debate is continuing in scientific circles, anti-smacking advocates continue presenting only one biased side of the evidence to try to impose their perspective on parents rather than waiting for more objective evidence on this important issue. In the meantime, the most appropriate conclusion seems to be that how parents use any disciplinary tactic (including smacking) is more important for its effect on children than whether they use it or not.
A CRITIQUE OF DR. LIZ GERSHOFF’S REVIEW OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
Robert E. Larzelere, Ph.D.; http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/Larzelere602.html ; June 2002
Dr. Gershoff’s review of scientific studies cannot help parents decide whether to use spanking or not, because of two major problems. Dr. Gershoff herself noted the first problem, that there is no scientific basis for any detrimental outcomes being causeda by corporal punishment: "parental corporal punishment cannot be identified . . . as the cause of these child behaviors" (p. 550). She cites spanking as guilty by association, which would never hold up in a court of law. Better research has shown that it is the excessive child misbehavior that leads to a wide range of detrimental outcomes, not the use of moderate corporal punishment. This excessive misbehavior leads parents to use all disciplinary tactics more frequently, not just spanking. In children under 13, most studies that also investigated other disciplinary methodsb found those methods to be more strongly associated with aggressive-type outcomes and noncompliance than was corporal punishment.2-11 A second problem is that 65% of the studies in Dr. Gershoff’s review measured overly severe corporal punishment, such as slapping in the face (7 studies), beatings (3 studies), or hitting with a fist and causing bruises or cuts (1 study). Most of her summary information is thus dominated by overly severe corporal punishment, clouding the issue further about nonabusive spanking. The few studies that explicitly ruled out abusive or violent parenting reported beneficial child outcomes as often as not.2 3 5 6 12 13 How parents use spanking is more important than whether they use it--as with any other disciplinary method. In contrast to Dr. Gershoff’s conclusions, the best research shows that nonabusive spanking is effective with 2to 6-year-old children when used to back up milder disciplinary methods, such as reasoning and time out.14 15 Such usage is not only effective in reducing defiance and fighting, but children then cooperate better with the milder discipline methods, rendering further spanking less necessary. Four studies in Dr. Gershoff’s review2 3 5 6 and four additional studies4 7 8 16 provide causal evidence of the benefits of that approach, and no study contradicts it. It is clear, however, that overuse of corporal punishment in severity or frequency can be harmful to children. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------Gershoff’s review mostly summarizes correlations ("associations"), but correlations do not prove causation. Being in a hospital is associated with detrimental outcomes (e.g., greater likelihood of death), but it does not cause an increased likelihood of death. Instead, the actual cause is the problem that led to the hospitalization. This is generally true of all corrective interventions, whether medical (radiation treatment), psychological (marital counseling), educational (Head Start), or parental (disciplinary responses to misbehavior). Detrimental outcomes are more likely for recipients of all those corrective interventions, compared to people who did not need those corrective interventions. b Alternative disciplinary methods include removing privileges, time out (isolation), reasoning, restraint, ignoring, scolding, love withdrawal, brief room isolation, diverting, child-determined release from time out, and reasoning combined with nonphysical punishment. Of these, only a brief room isolation, diverting, and reasoning combined with nonphysical punishment were associated with less aggressive-type behavior or noncompliance than was corporal punishment, but to a degree that was not scientifically reliable ("statistically significant") in any study. References 1. Gershoff ET. Parental corporal punishment and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin 2002. 2. Bean AW, Roberts MW. The effect of time-out release contingencies on changes in child noncompliance. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 1981;9:95-105. 3. Day DE, Roberts MW. An analysis of the physical punishment component of a parent training program. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 1983;11:141-152. 4. Roberts MW. Enforcing chair timeouts with room timeouts. Behavior Modification 1988;12:353-370. 5. Roberts MW, Powers SW. Adjusting chair timeout enforcement procedures for oppositional children. Behavior Therapy 1990;21:257-271. 6. Larzelere RE, Schneider WN, Larson DB, Pike PL. The effects of discipline responses in delaying toddler misbehavior recurrences. Child & Family Behavior Therapy 1996;18:35-57. 7. Larzelere RE, Sather PR, Schneider WN, Larson DB, Pike PL. Punishment enhances reasoning's effectiveness as a disciplinary response to toddlers. Journal of Marriage and the Family 1998;60:388-403. 8. Bernal ME, Duryee JS, Pruett HL, Burns BJ. Behavior modification and the brat syndrome. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1968;32:447-455. 9. Straus MA, Mouradian VE. Impulsive corporal punishment by mothers and antisocial behavior and impulsiveness of children. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 1998;16:353-374. 10. Sears RR. Relation of early socialization experiences to aggression in middle childhood. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 1961;63:466-492. 11. Yarrow MR, Campbell JD, Burton RV. Child rearing: An inquiry into research and methods. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1968. 12. LaVoie JC. Punishment and adolescent self-control. Developmental Psychology 1973;8:16-24. 13. McCord J. Parental behavior in the cycle of aggression. Psychiatry 1988;51:14-23. 14. Larzelere RE. Combining love and limits in authoritative parenting. In: Westman JC, editor. Parenthood in America. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001:81-89. 15. Larzelere RE. Child outcomes of nonabusive and customary physical punishment by parents: An updated literature review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2000;3(4):199-221. 16. Roberts MW. Resistance to timeout: Some normative data. Behavioral Assessment 1982;4:239-248. Dr. Robert E. Larzelere has over 20 years of experience in doing research on parental disciplinary responses, leading to over 20 publications on various aspects of parental discipline in psychological and pediatric journals and books. He is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
A more comprehensive review of Dr. Gershoff’s treatment is found in the article “A Comparison of Two Recent Reviews of Scientific Studies of Physical Punishment by Parents (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/Larzelere02.html)
Resources: Corporal Punishment of Children
THIS IS WHAT MS. SMITH HAS NEGLECTED TO TELL US ABOUT! This page provides links and references to research on corporal punishment of children in the home and critiques of the anti-spanking research. Some of these critiques can be used in statistics and research design courses to illustrate methodological flaws that can occur in psychological research. These studies also illustrate the importance of going to the original sources and not relying on the media or other secondary sources when studying an area of research. Advocacy groups often over generalize research data ("research proves. . .") and/or ignore research studies which could provide a more balanced perspective on the issues. - Paul Poelstra, Ph.D.
Contact Information (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/contact.htm) for Robert Lazelere, Ph.D. Larzelere (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/rdurrunl.75.pdf) responds to Dr. Durrant's criticisms of his booklet (http://www.christian.org.uk/pdfpublications/sweden_smacking.pdf) comparing their respective published evaluations of Sweden's 1979 spanking ban. Dr. Durrant's data sources indicate an increase in physical child abuse and of criminal assaults by juvenile delinquents since the spanking ban. Although these increases cannot be proven to have been caused by the spanking ban, the increases cannot be easily explained away, either. For a pdf copy of Larzelere and Kuhn's article Comparing child outcomes of physical punishment and alternative discipline tactics: A meta-analysis send your request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a brief rationale for wanting a copy. In a recent article (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/psybulletin.htm) about the intervention selection bias, Larzelere shows that the research methods generally used to find detrimental child outcomes from nonabusive spanking would also find equally detrimental outcomes from recommended disciplinary techniques. Larzelere presented a paper at a conference on The Future of Longitudinal Studies sponsored by The Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley. In this summary (http://ihd.berkeley.edu/larzelere.htm) he explains the three requirements for making a valid causal inference. He demonstrates how selection bias provides a plausible explanation for the association between mental health treatments and increased risk of suicide in young people. The selection bias can also be shown to apply to power assertive disciplinary settings. At the same conference Diana Baumrind presented a paper (http://ihd.berkeley.edu/baumrindls.htm) on When are Causal Inferences Justified in the Debate about Physical Discipline "Effects"?
Recently, Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, published a review in the Psychological Bulletin (2002) which has received extensive media attention. In a critique (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/Larzelere602.html) of her article, Larzelere highlights two important issues that can be applied to a wide range of psychological research: 1) the limitations of correlational research in terms of making causal statements and 2) the importance of operational definitions. Also see Baumrind, Cowan & Larzelere Ordinary Physical Punishment: Is It Harmful? Comment on Gershoff (2002), Psychological Bulletin, 128, 580-589. A Comparison of Two Recent Reviews of Scientific Studies of Physical Punishment by Parents (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/Larzelere02.html) by Larzelere, June 2002. In a more comprehensive review of Gershoff's article, Larzelere shows that "child outcomes associated with ordinary physical punishment are also associated with alternative disciplinary tactics when similar research methods are used. Detrimental child outcomes are associated with the frequency of any disciplinary tactic, not just physical punishment. Therefore, it is the excessive misbehavior that is the actual cause of detrimental outcomes in children."
"Not one of the 17 causally relevant studies found predominantly detrimental outcomes if they did anything to rule out parents who used physical punishment too severely." p. 209 This is Larzelere's conclusion in a recent review of outcomes associated with nonabusive physical punishment in Child Outcomes of Nonabusive and Customary Physical Punishment by Parents: An Updated Literature Review in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2000, 3(4):199-221 (the December 2000 issue). Larzelere/Straus Debate (June, 1999); [http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/debate.html] A summary of Dr. Larzelere's presentation in a debate with Straus about spanking. In this summary, Larzelere reports that the small detrimental child outcomes reported by Straus, Sugarman & Giles-Sims (1997) for 6- to 9-year-olds is not unique to spanking. A further analysis of the Straus, et al. data revealed that identical small detrimental child outcomes were also found for all four alternative disciplinary responses for 6- to 9-year-olds (grounding, sending the child to a room, removing privileges, and taking away an allowance). The debate was held at a conference of the National Foundation for Family Research and Education at Banff in Alberta, Canada. Combining Love and Limits in Authoritative Parenting: A Conditional Sequence Model of Disciplinary Responses [http://parenthood.library.wisc.edu/Larzelere/Larzelere.html] Dr. Larzelere presented this paper at a University of Wisconsin conference on Parenthood in America (April 19-21, 1998). He outlines "a conditional sequence model of optimal disciplinary responses and shows its consistency with a wide range of research. The model suggests that optimal disciplinary responses begin with less severe tactics, such as reasoning, but proceed to firmer disciplinary tactics when the initial tactic achieves neither compliance nor an acceptable compromise." This paper provides an excellent overview of Larzelere's "both-and" model of parental discipline. Dr. Diana Baumrind: "Methodologically strong studies have not established that normative physical punishment is a causal risk factor for the detrimental child outcomes with which it may be associated. . . a blanket injunction against disciplinary spanking is not warranted by causally relevant scientific evidence." This quote is from Baumrind's (University of California, Berkeley) invited address at the 109th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association meeting, August 24, 2001. She spoke on "Does Causally Relevant Research Support A Blanket Injunction Against Disciplinary Spanking by Parents?" Baumrind's APA paper is available on her website at http://ihd.berkeley.edu Click on News and Events. You will find her paper under IHD News Archives. There her presentation is described and the viewer can download her paper and her tables. Her paper is outstanding. A brief summary of her research is found in this press release [http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/08/24_spank.html]
Larzelere, Straus, and Rosemond debate about whether corporal punishment should be considered abuse, in Debating Children's Lives pdf (1994) (http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/CP6.pdf ) Sweden - "Where is Evidence That Non-Abusive Corporal Punishment Increases Aggression?" (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/sweden.html) This paper reviews the evidence on whether the 1979 Swedish law against all corporal punishment has been associated with a reduction in child abuse. Sweden - Assaults on Children in Sweden (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/sweden2.html) Dr. Larzelere compares his conclusions and the evidence for them with those of Durrant (1999) regarding the success of Sweden's ban on spanking. A more recent critique appears in the Autumn 2001 issue of Families First (page 12) pdf. Statistics from Sweden - Assaults on Children (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/sweden2.html AND http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/swedenstat.htm ) based on police-record data of physical assaults of children under 7 years of age (Wittrock, 1992, 1995). Dr. Diana Baumrind (http://www.fractaldomains.com/devpsych/baumrind.htm) (Institute for Human Development at the University of California-Berkeley) thoughts on corporal punishment from a leading developmental psychologist. This correspondence was written to Bob Larzelere which he posted on the listserv called FAMLYSCI.
Spare the Rod? Den A. Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D. (both practicing board-certified pediatricians) respond to various objections to the use of corporal punishment and offer guidelines for disciplinary spanking. As they point out, many articles in this area are "merely opinion-driven editorials, reviews or commentaries, devoid of new empirical findings." Bartkowski, John and W. Bradford Wilcox. "Conservative Protestant Child Discipline: The Case of Parental Yelling.". Princeton, NJ - A new study casts doubts on previous assertions that conservative Protestant parents are abusive and authoritarian. Larzelere Bibliography Dr. Larzelere has published a number of research studies and literature reviews which examine the effects of nonabusive spanking on young children. Gunnoe & Mariner (1997) Toward a Developmental-Contextual Model of the Effects of Parental Spanking on Children's Aggression. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:768-775 A well designed study that critically examines the claim that spanking teaches children that physical aggression can be used appropriately in conflict situations Corporal Punishment by David Benatar (1998) (http://www.corpun.com/benatar.htm). A philosopher analyzes the anti-spanking arguments that corporal punishment is degrading, that it is psychologically damaging, that it teaches the child that violence is an appropriate way to settle disagreements, etc. He demonstrates (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/benatar.htm) that these arguments fail for lack of evidence and/or are logically unsound. Social Theory & Practice, Summer 1998, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p.237 "When to Spank" USNEWS & World Report An excellent and fairly comprehensive review of corporal punishment and related research issues appears in the April 13, 1998 issue of USNEWS. References are made to Larzelere's research as well as Straus' studies. (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/articles/980413/archive_003698.htm) Straus, M. A., Sugarman, D. B., & Giles-Sims, J. (1997). Spanking by parents and subsequent antisocial behavior of children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 151, 761-767. This correlational study was widely and sometimes uncritically reported in the media in the summer of '97. Despite serious methodological weaknesses and some concerns regarding the statistical analyses, this study is frequently cited to support the anti-spanking position. Critiques of the Straus' et al. study
Critique (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/CritiqueStraus.html) A critique and evaluation by Larzelere. Also see Larzelere/Straus Debate (http://faculty.biola.edu/paulp/debate.html) for some interesting results of a reanalysis of the Straus data. Corporal Punishment and Antisocial Behavior By B. K. Ambati, J. Ambati, and A.M Rao. The authors provide a cogent critique of the methodology and statistics used in the Straus study.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152:303 Two Emerging Perspectives of Parental Spanking From Two 1996 Conferences By Bob Larzelere, Diana Baumrind and Ken Polite. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152:303-305 One of the better reviews in the popular media of the Straus et al. study appears in the April 14, 1997 issue of TIME “Spare the Rod? Maybe” (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986890,00.html) Some of Dr. Trumbull's concerns about their study are highlighted in the article.
Corporal Punishment (spanking) is strongly supported by God in the Bible
Secular "experts" who dispense advice to the contrary are responsible for many of the discipline problems experienced by parents and schools http://www.creationists.org/corporalpunishment.html Introduction:
Many secular "experts", including most pediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists have come out strongly against the use of corporal punishment in homes and in schools. Unfortunately, many well-meaning parents have been deceived by the foolish advice of the "don't spank" crowd. One only needs to go to a local grocery store or mall, or visit a typical public school to see the negative fruits of this misguided advice. We are not suggesting that spanking is the only option that parents should have to deal with willful disobedience in their children. Neither are we suggesting that it's acceptable to take it to abusive extremes. What we are saying is that it is a God ordained method of discipline, that there are situations where it's the best option, and that completely ruling it out as a discipline option as the "don't spank" advocates would have us to do is in direct conflict with God's advice to us on how we should be dealing with defiance in our children. It has been my personal experience that people who consider all forms of corporal punishment to be "abuse" or "hitting" mislead others in three ways: ● ● They often quote studies where actual abuse is mixed in with corporal punishment that is administered out of love for the child. They always ignore what their Creator has to say on the matter, or are ignorant of it. If they claim to be Christians, they approach their bible study on this matter using eisegesis instead of exegesis in their approach. As a result they end up engaging in all kinds of tortured bible interpretation in an attempt to try to force the Bible to support what they believe. They place a higher value on secular studies and fallible doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists instead of obeying the advice of the infallible God who created them, and who demands of us that we do things His way.
If you're interested in learning how to raise your children using training and discipline methods that work well, then ignore the secular "experts". Instead, seek out conservative Christian materials and experts on the topic. As the father of six children, I know from first-hand experience that these methods work very well.
What God tells us to do:
1. Spanking is a valid form of discipline Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 2. Use of a paddle or rod is appropriate Proverbs 10:14 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding. Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 3. We should not feel guilty about spanking our child Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
4. A child who's throwing a temper tantrum should not be left alone to cry it out; he should be promptly disciplined: Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left[to himself] bringeth his mother to shame. 5. No disrespect of the parents should be tolerated: Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having children not accused of riot or unruly. Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) Colossians 3:20 Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 6. Some reasons God gives for having well disciplined, respectful children: Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work [be] pure, and whether [it be] right. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:24-25 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise [child] shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. Ecclesiastes 4:13 Better [is] a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. I Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) I Timothy 5:1-4 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. 7. Parents shouldn't abuse their children either mentally or physically: Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged. We personally believe that the only form of corporal punishment authorized by the Bible is spanking on the buttocks. We also feel that the jerking of arms, slapping of faces and all other types of corporal punishment are not supported by the Bible, are disrespectful to the child, and carry with them the risk of causing a injuries.
What about "Christians" who abuse their children?
Most of us have seen at least one news media report where some person or group that claims to be "Christian" was being investigated for what appears to be genuine child abuse. I've seen a few news reports like this over the years. I have also seen some of the "don't spank" advocates point to those stories as examples of why they are right, and we are wrong. The problem is that they're comparing apples and oranges. When considering the whole counsel of God on this matter, it is clear that He in no way sanctioned the physical or mental abuse of their children. The people who engage in this kind of abuse are acting outside of what God says they should be doing. Pointing to them as examples of what the Bible teaches and what Christians in general are doing is highly misleading. The overwhelming majority of Christian parents do not engage in abuse of their children. When real abuse does occur, it occurs with people of all religions. If you are discerning, you won't be deceived by these misleading tactics. For those who are looking for guidance from experienced parents who use these God mandated teaching, training and discipline methods, seek guidance from the ones who have well-behaved, respectful, God-fearing children. Get opinions from several Christian parents who obey God on these matters if you can. Children can be so different, so a variety of opinions can be helpful. Some of our children were very compliant children from the get-go. Others had (and still do have) very strong wills and are much more of a challenge to parent. Try to find parents who have children who's personalities are similar to your own children.
In addition to talking with experienced parents, approach your parenting like you would a earning college degree. Educate yourself, and keep up-to-date as your children grow older and their personalities, training and discipline needs change. We have found the following resources to be excellent ones and highly recommend them to others.
Books What the Bible says about Child Training Author: J. Richard Fugate ISBN: 0-86717-000-X The Strong-Willed Child Author: Dr. James Dobson ISBN: 0-8423-0664-1 Dare to Discipline Dr. James Dobson ISBN: 0-8423-0631-5 Christian books on creative discipline techniques, burnt out parents, dealing with divorce, stress on children, etc.: www.family.org/resources/section.cfm?sid=292 Videos How to train up a child in the way he should go Author: Dr. S. M. Davis What the Bible has to say about spanking Author: Dr. S. M. Davis For parents who discipline their children in anger, especially on a frequent basis, these videos will be especially helpful to you: www.drsmdavis.com/module/store/vbc/2/ For parents who have given it their very best effort, but who still have strong-willed children who refuse to bend their will to your authority or to God's, we recommend these tapes: www.drsmdavis.com/module/store/vbc/11/ In our opinions, Dr. Davis has the very best video/DVD collection on family issues we have ever seen anywhere. We highly recommend all of his products (we personally own about 20 of his videos). See all of his materials at his online store at this link. There are some especially good videos that address the issue of why parents should never discipline their children out of anger. www.drsmdavis.com/module/store Christian Counselling Focus on the Family Christian Counselor Referral Service Or call them at (719) 531-3400 from 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Mountain Time You are also encouraged to talk with your own pastor. Some of our pastors have been very valuable sources of biblical information and insight to us on a variety of matters related to the training, teaching and disciplining of our six children.
ARE WE READY FOR THE ABOLITION OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT?
An open letter to Chantalle Smith- AFC MP Wednesday, January 10th 2007 http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56511359 The information above, and the letter below, illustrates the challenge that arises when well meaning politicians blithely and trustingly pick up causes that sound felicitous to the national good, but whose eventual outcome and impact in fact compromise the nation’s soverignity. Politically driven “rights science” should not compel national policy, and cannot be a viable alternative to dismissing the professionalism and knowledge resident in the staffers and members of the Ministry of Education. Has Ms. Smith offered answers to the questions posed below?
Dear Ms. Chantalle Smith, I read your column in KN (7th January, 2007). As chief proponent to abolish Corporal Punishment (CP) please clarify the under mentioned: 1. 2. 3. What is CP? What was CP intended to achieve? Are the data analyses and statistics being used to support the banning of CP in Guyana the results of studies done in Guyana or the USA? And if the studies are USA should Guyana holistically adopt or impose the realities of another country to inform decisions in their's? If not where are the local studies and what are the findings, inclusive of the period of research? What are the specific alternatives to CP? Name them and show their comparative value in terms of research findings and date of research. Please remember understanding is sought here from a local or Caribbean perspective. What systems or advice do you plan to recommend in order to achieve # 3 and # 4 Will CP be instantaneously banned or will it be phased out? What systems are going to be put in place and how will they be managed to ensure children obey and respect authority in the process of becoming responsible students, workers and products of society? What systems are going to be put in place to ensure that teachers achieve the Ministry of Education's objectives and are respected and protected? Should CP be seen in isolation of the overall behavioural patterns in society as regards to the tenets of acceptable code of conduct (or societal values) as demonstrated by government officials, political leaders, police force, drug lords etc? If not how do you plan to deal with same? In answering # 8 , 9 and 10 how do advocates to abolish CP plan to promote and project positive role models that our children and or their family can use as yard sticks for emulation of positive societal values? Is there a children's study which cites their views on CP or any discipline? Where is the study and what are the findings, including the period of research(s). Based on your answers of # 1 to 12 are you and Guyana sure we are ready and equipped to constructively deal with the issue of CP?
6. 7. 8.
Yours faithfully, Sonjay Thom
Ms. Chantalle Smith, AFC parliamentarian, herself said it best when she said in her “AFC Column” report of January 7, 2007: “I know that many teachers say that they do not like to beat students but find that the threat of corporal punishment is the only thing they have to keep their students compliant.” These questions arise: “Why then ask for the removal of CP from the list of measures? To encourage comprehensive and total anarchy? Does Ms. Smith think she can teach better than qualified teachers? Is it possible that persons are using (as in manipulating) the AFC and Ms. Smith to achieve their political agenda? Finally, is Ms. Smith suggesting that teachers and administrators are not trying their utmost to work with non-CP measures, and are not using CP as a last resort?
Here are some of the reasons offered by professionals to suggest why the removal of CP is fuelling the current political climate, and why Chantalle Smith can be accused of using biased sources:
These studies also illustrate the importance of going to the original sources and not relying on the media or other secondary sources when studying an area of research. Advocacy groups often over generalize research data ("research proves. . .") and/or ignore research studies which could provide a more balanced perspective on the issues. - Paul Poelstra, Ph.D.
What else does the Convention say on the rights of children? Among many others : • • • It calls on State Parties to recognise the responsibilities, and duties of parents. (Article 5) It recognizes the right of every child to life (Article 6) It takes account of the statement in the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth”. (Preamble) It calls for respect of the child’s religion and that of the child’s parents, legal guardians or family members; (Article 14) It states that State Parties shall make higher education accessible to all; (Article 28) It states that State Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. (Article 34)
• • •
It is clear that the National Commission has clutched as its priority the controversial issue of corporal punishment when the weightier matters listed above are begging attention. Consider, that Article 28 calls for State parties to provide access to higher education for all. Consider also that in Guyana 2 persons in every 1000 receive university education, compared with the third world average of 11, and the first world average of over fifty. If there is the desire is to copy elements of first world society then let us copy the good ones like this. Lionel Persaud on page 9 of this document
“They wave research that “clearly proves” that spanking destroys self-esteem, promotes violent behavior, and so on. The research stinks. All of it. There is not one study into the effects of spanking on children that’s worth the paper it’s written on. Every single one of them (I’ve reviewed them all, I think) is rife with design problems. This so-called research would be ridiculed in a sophomore course in experimental psychology.” (John K. Rosemond)
…LEADING TO THIS INEVITABLE DIAGNOSIS! “… Like cars, computers, knives and needles, physical punishment may be misused, but not all use is misuse. While there may be a place for public education to discourage the improper use of physical sanctions and encouraging their proper use, there is no basis for stigmatising it and rejecting its use wholesale. Indeed, in many situations it is arguably a more kind and merciful response than other approaches which may be more drawn-out or risk causing emotional damage. We fully endorse a statement issued by the Children and Young People's Unit: "The Government is absolutely opposed to violence and abuse against children. The law only allows what is reasonable in terms of the physical punishment of children—it does not permit child abuse. We recognise that parenting can be difficult, but we must avoid heavy-handed intrusion into family life. The Convention refers to the protection of children from physical violence and maltreatment. The Government is satisfied that UK law is in line with these provisions. "We believe our policy reflects common sense views of the vast majority of people. It is not only wrong but dangerous to link smacking and child abuse deaths. It diverts attention from those children most at risk." By putting this issue high on its agenda, the children's rights lobby is misrepresenting the concerns of children. As Mr Denham commented in his evidence before the Joint Human Rights Committee in November 2002, children are far more concerned about other issues such as their experience of being victims of crime in the streets. Certainly children do not enjoy being corrected, whether physically or otherwise, but where physical correction is used in response to the child's misbehaviour in a moderate, careful and consistent manner, it is accepted as a consequence of wrongdoing, does not cause resentment and, indeed, is often preferable to the child than more protracted disciplinary strategies.” Joint Committee On Human Rights: Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200203/jtselect/jtrights/96/96a05.htm
WE THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS BENEFICIAL IN SCHOOLS WHEN APPLIED WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF EXISTING MINISTRY OF EDUCATION GUIDELINES. WE CONCLUDE FURTHER THAT IT SHOULD BE LEFT TO PARENTS TO DETERMINE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES IN THE HOME. WE CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENTARIANS TO LEGISLATE OR DEFER ACCORDINGLY.
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