Children’s right to not be hit by grownups has been under debate in the Council of Europe. Its lobbying comes on the heels of the Council’s campaign (launched two years ago) encouraging everyone to ban the corporal punishment of children outright.
The 47-country Council says 20 members have outlawed child-smacking in any form. Britain is one country that has refused a full ban — attracting criticism.
A French law has been proposed. “I support it,” said one parent, interviewed at random, “but a spanking too, sometimes.” A traditionalist added: “A spanking brings a five-year-old into line.”
Progressives say laws will work wonders. Elisabeth Dahlin, with Save the Children, Sweden is one of them. She said: “I think you can compare wearing seatbelts in cars. You set a legal framework and that changes, slower or faster, the mindset of people.”
The French politician trying to move attitudes along through legislation is also a key voice in the context of the Council of Europe debate. MP Edwige Antier said: “As soon as you raise your hand you’ve lost your authority. You’ve also waived your role as guide, because the child doesn’t need to be bossed around, he needs a guide.”
One French television spot on imitative behaviour reflects research that lays violence in children at the parents’ door. It shows two young siblings beating up a doll, as if it had been ‘naughty’. ‘Parenting is not child’s play’ is the punchline.