There have been a couple of cases in the (mostly U.S) News recently that highlight the over-reach of the state into parenting.
In this case a Texas Dad was basically charged with Theft for taking away his 12yo daughters cell-phone as punishment for her poor choice of language in an text. He maintained that the whole discipline incident was completely within his right as a parent and the intervention of Police should never have happened. The judge threw out the case.
In Maryland a couple is challenging state legislation governing Child Protective Services as too vague and therefore violates the rights of parents under the U.S Constitution. They were investigated 3 times for allowing their children (aged 10 and 6 at the time) to walk a couple blocks back to their house from a nearby park.
A Nebraska Judge has ruled that State Judiciary must reveal the materials they use to train its judges in child custody and parenting time cases - as the disconnect between what is considered "In the Best Interests of the Child" according to most social research that strongly supports children spending time with both parents is in stark contrast to Court judgements that have Fathers only seeing their kids 17% of the time.
All of these U.S cases are woeful examples of Judicial, Prosecutorial and Legislative laxity and over reach that effect the rights of parents to raise and enjoy the company of their children.
Which leads to a possible Liberal Election promise of PM Trudeau that would re-criminalize spanking of children. It was reviewed under the Conservatives and sensibly revised - but Trudeau has signaled he would bring back. Why?
Here was a letter that opposed this move:
Re: A Spanking Is In Order, editorial, Dec. 22.In a discussion about something as as significant culturally as the spanking law, one would hope a longer view of the impact such a decision would have on people would be taken. Increasing violence, especially against the most vulnerable, is a valid and just concern, but outlawing spanking might be barking up the wrong tree.
Anti-spanking advocates might do well to consider the case of Sweden, which outlawed spanking in 1979. The hope was that a decline in violence would follow, but The Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention and the Swedish Crime Survey report some surprising statistics. As of 2012, increases in sexual assault have been five-fold, assault and aggravated assault have tripled, and trends in shoplifting, vandalism, and drunkenness have followed suit. Equally shocking is the increase in assaults by youth on children of more than 480 per cent, making Sweden more criminal per capita than the United States.
This seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps we underestimate the good impact parents are free to have when allowed to exercise authoritative restraint over their children, which is not the same thing as abuse. In a decision so directly connected to the fabric of the nation, could we call for broader dialogue?
Jason Shinduke, Camden East, Ont.