THE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR A BAN ON SPANKING
Here we have another
example of medical professionals whose first reflex is "we need to coerce
people into agreeing with us -- there needs to be a new law." This
time it's about spanking your children to discipline them (last time it was
about smoking, and next time it will be about helmets and who knows what after
that). Of course, we already have laws prohibiting child abuse, but they
want to now include spanking as "assault," and refuse to accept that
some parents may have ideas different than theirs. Nor are they content
with just informing parents that their strong recommendation is "never
spank your kids." No, they think there needs to be another
CAGE thinks there should be a law prohibiting medical professionals
from demanding new laws. Luckily our present government in Canada has more
sense than the Canadian Medical Association, however: A spokesperson forMinister of Justice Rob
Post, "Parents are in the best position to raise their children. We
believe it is up to them, not the government, to decide what is best for their
children so long as it is within reason."
And here's the
kicker: The research that John Fletcher, the editor-in-chief of the Canadian
Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), uses to support his request to ban spanking
is almost certainly flawed. Fletcher claims "research shows spanking
is an ineffective tool and that there is substantial evidence linking it to
mental health issues including depression and substance abuse as well as to
increased aggressive behavior."Now, could it be true
"bad" parents, or stressed out parents, or parents in crisis, spank
their children more often than other parents? Isn't it likely that the
"mental health issues" and "increased aggressive behavior"
in kids could result from the parents' problems rather than the spanking?
Or what if parents in general are more likely to spank kids with "mental
health issues" and "increased aggressive behavior," seeing as
they've tried everything else to get the children to behave better?
In both cases, spanking is positively correlated to mental health issues and
aggressive behavior in kids, but is not actually the cause or even facilitating
factor in these behaviors. If you think the media will take the time to
take apart the actual science behind Dr. Fletcher's claims, then you don't know
much about average journalists' workload, deadlines and salaries. So at
mostly taxpayer expense, we get fed more nonsense science calling for more
nonsense laws. Enough already.
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