Of all the half-baked arguments promoted by the anti-spanking brigade, the sophistry of false equivalence is by far one of the most common.
Basically, their reasoning goes something like this: “If an employee of mine broke some rule at work, and I smacked them on the bottom to punish them for it, I would be found guilty of common or sexual assault.”
Indeed you would – no argument there.
“But as a parent, it’s perfectly legal for me to hit my child under the same circumstances. It is terrible that a defenceless child doesn’t enjoy the same legal protection as an adult.”
Ok, whoa there. Hold your horses. False equivalence klaxon.
It sounds a beguiling argument, but it’s arrant nonsense. Naturally, the legislation governing the care of children is different to that which applies to adults. Otherwise, parents disciplining their children in any shape or form would be in deep trouble. Sent the child to their room? False imprisonment. Confiscated a toy? Taking property without consent.
The fact that children are subject to the authority of their parents is a cornerstone of successful family relationships. Unfortunately, there are a lot of wicked and reckless people out there whose only aim is to undermine it.
Think about it. There are countless ways in which young children do not have the same rights as adults. If it were not the case, we’d have hordes of kids roaming the country eating nothing but gummy bears and wearing underpants which needed a biohazard sticker on the seat.
On days when I’m really depressed, I sometimes convince myself we’re already halfway there. Thankfully, the reality is that most parents will insist their child eats at least some fruit and vegetables, has regular baths and changes their underwear every day.
Children will often gripe at the ‘unfairness’ of such sanctions when they clash with their own momentary desires but overall, youngsters accept that mum or dad has the right to be in overall control. Deep inside, they realise that such a system is there for their own benefit and protection. Children actually like boundaries, and feel more secure and loved when they are kept well inside them.
Similarly, spared the agenda-driven agitation of the do-gooders, children really have no problem accepting that mum or dad has the right to smack their bottom when they misbehave. They understand perfectly that a parental spanking is not the same as an assault; that spanking is a very limited and specific sanction, reserved solely for parents or direct caregivers.
Children know very well that a smarting bottom is not the same thing as being beaten up in the street, and it’s high time the purveyors of false equivalence were treated to a similar salutary lesson.
Contributor: Louise. Originally published in her blog The Spanking Mum. Opinions expressed are solely those of the original author.