|Edmonton Sun - August 5, 2001
Spanking theory is a lot of bunk
By TED BYFIELD
News story: The seven children of an apparently functional Aylmer, Ont., couple are
dragged shouting and weeping away from their neat, tidy home by a contingent of police and
social workers and made temporary wards of the province.
Why? Were the youngsters sexually abused? No. Physically injured? No. Imprisoned,
starved, tortured? No. No. No.
Then did they appear persecuted, miserable, ill behaved? No. The neighbour next door
described them as "clean, well dressed, well behaved, happily playing on their bikes
and with toys, and always smiling."
Then why? Because, says the Ontario Children's Aid Society, the parents routinely
disciplined their children by spanking.
But that's altogether legal in Canada. The Ontario courts have just said so, unless the
Crown can prove the spanking was excessive. However the Ontario society has apparently
decided that any spanking at all shall be deemed excessive.
News story: A cover article in Time magazine asks: "Do kids have too much
power?" The answer: unquestionably. The implication: That we're raising a bunch of
spoiled brats who are lippy, constantly challenging parental and school authority, and
have respect for neither adults nor one another.
TV story: Vince Cellini, acting as host of CNN's Talk-Back Live produces a major show on
the question: "Are we spoiling our kids?" The answer: Yes, and badly, but we
can't help it.
Parents work so hard they feel guilty and give their kids anything they ask for. How can
they say no to a new mountain bike with two new cars in the garage? Divorced parents
compete for the kids' affection by vying against each other in generosity.
Result: Children never hear the word "no" and when their parents order them to
do something, they take this as an occasion, not for obedience, but for
Then Cellini asked his studio audience to raise their hands if they ever spanked their
kids. Practically every hand in the studio went up. However, some said, they still fear
the onslaught of social workers when they do it.
They meant, of course, people like the Children's Aid Society that has taken upon itself
to enforce a law that doesn't exist.
Ask our social planners why they're doing this and they're quick with answers: Children
who are spanked are being taught that "violence" is acceptable. Children raised
under threat of "violence" will therefore be more prone to it. Surveys show that
men who beat their wives were spanked as children.
What saps they take us for. Go back 35 years and practically every youngster was spanked -
future wife-beaters and future non-wife-beaters. For their contention to be true, they
would have to establish that people now in their 50s, nearly all of whom were spanked, are
far more prone to violence than younger people. There is no evidence of this whatsoever.
In any event we now see a generation raised without "violence." How is it
Answer: It's recording the most violent levels of juvenile crime we have ever experienced.
Children in seemingly tranquil neighbourhoods go to school armed. Teachers are threatened.
We have to inaugurate "zero-tolerance" policies on "bullying."
Children are wounded or slain by other school children.
The supposed "reform," that is, is producing precisely the opposite of what it
promised. The dogma - Thou Shalt Not Spank - which is being ferociously enforced by social
agencies, is plainly a lie, a fraud and a failure.
The Aylmer kids have been returned to their parents on condition they not be spanked until
the court case against them is resolved. Social workers meanwhile patrol the house. The
integrity of the family is being attacked by officialdom.
The Children's Aid obviously plans to make an example of this family as a warning to the
public. They don't care if they lose the case. The idea is to frighten parents from
Maybe another kind of example could be set here. What we need is a public fund enabling
these parents to personally sue for their every last nickel the bureaucrats who made this
decision. That too would teach a lesson and it would be a long, long time before a case
like this happened again.