Following on from whispered suggestions that ministers in Scotland are currently considering the implementation of a ban on smacking children, a family campaign group from New Zealand, The Family First, have reached out to parents and advised against supporting the potential move.

Drawing on their own experience, the campaign group have insisted that the introduction of the law in their own country in 2007 did not herald a change in childrens' 'well-being', but in many cases negatively affected family life.

Acknowledging Children's Minister, Aileen Campbell's recent hints that Scotland may soon join New Zealand on their stance on the matter, Family First New Zealand warns the public that the move may be less to do with family wellbeing and more to do with a political ideology.

Outlining the reasons why parents in Scotland should reject the proposed ban, National director Bob McCoskrie, explained: "A law change would also communicate the message that politicians don’t trust Scottish parents to raise their own children responsibly."

"The problem is that politicians and anti-smacking lobby groups linked good parents who smacked their children with child abusers – a notion roundly rejected by families," he continued in an article published in Scotland on Sunday.

Dismissing the notion that the move is born out of concern for families, he asserted: "Ultimately, as we have observed, the supporters of smacking bans are influenced by political ideology rather than common sense, good science and sound policy-making."

Echoing the sentiments of Mr. McCoskrie, Rev David Robertson, moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, explained that while wholly opposed to abusive behaviour, he harbours concerns over the proposed political move.

"To criminalise parents who may be good and loving people and are only looking out for their children is just daft and is just another example of the moral thought police approach," he asserted. "It seems to me that the evidence for a smacking ban is very limited. It’s something you should do rarely, but in some instances you could argue it may be more abusive not to discipline a child."

Commenting on the discussion ignited by Minister Campbell's recent comments, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: "We do not support the physical punishment of children."

Elaborating further still, she continued: "In line with our Parenting Strategy we will be developing comprehensive, practical advice on different approaches to support parents in managing their children’s behaviour."

As it stands, Scotland classifies the act of smacking children as "reasonable chastisement".

 

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