‘Mums know better than politicians how to raise their kids’

A leading voice in the campaign against bans on smacking says Scottish and Welsh legislators are treating parents as “morally suspect”.

Dr Ashley Frawley, senior lecturer in social policy at Swansea University, said moves to criminalise parents who reasonably chastise their children would disproportionately impact migrant families, the poor and the working classes.

She believes that a smacking ban is the invention of a “white, middle-class elite thinking they know best”.

Criminalising parents

In an article published on the BBC website Dr Frawley, a vocal campaigner for the Be Reasonable campaign, said: “Increasingly, it seems the democratic will of the people and parents counts for nothing.

“People simply do not realise that if this ban is enforced, it will criminalise parents for disciplining their own children.

“Children will be taken away or put on an at-risk register, parents will be hauled to court”.

Adding that the damage will be much greater than the effect of any smack.

Personal fight

The senior lecturer, originally from Ontario, Canada, revealed that she has a personal reason for fighting so hard against a smacking ban.

Native American Dr Frawley comes from a people group targeted by the Canadian Government for decades.

Dr Frawley wrote: “Between the 1960s and 1980s, thousands of Canadian aboriginal children were taken from their homes by child-welfare service workers and placed mostly with non-aboriginal families”.

‘Moral policing’

“Aboriginal scholar Dian Million has described this practice as the ‘moral policing’ of aboriginal mothers, simply because they did not fit the mainstream idealisation of middle-class mothers in ‘pumps and pearls’.”

Dr Frawley contends that it’s a similar story for the poorer and working classes in the UK who are regarded as “morally suspect”.

The lecturer warned against “wedging the state and a host of self-styled ‘experts’ between parents and their children”, saying it would transform “family life into a series of techniques”. “It will make parents continually second-guess themselves”.

‘Act of love’

The academic revealed that she has been “repeatedly trolled on Twitter” by those who attempt to portray smacking as assault. Some have complained about her views to her university.

She has no plans to smack her child as she grows older but recalled a recent occasion when her daughter reached for an electrical socket where her husband “slapped her hand away”.

She concludes: “It was an act of love and protection. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, and there is nothing wrong with other parents doing the same.”

The Scottish Government has said it will ensure a Bill to criminalise parents who smack their children will become law, and the Welsh Government is currently consulting on a similar plan.

Be Reasonable

The Christian Institute is backing the Be Reasonable campaign in Scotland and in Wales.

ComRes polling for the group showed three in four adults in Scotland and Wales are opposed to criminalising parents who reasonably chastise their children.

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