‘Scotland must give parents freedom to do their job’

The Christian Institute has urged the Scottish Government not to turn “decent, ordinary parents into criminals”, following calls for a ban on smacking.

Education Officer John Denning said that rather than interfere in family life, the Scottish Government needed to give parents the freedom to decide what is best for their child.

The new Children’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson claims that Scotland needs to legislate to ban smacking because of international human rights concerns.


The Scottish Government says it currently has no plans to legislate in the area of smacking but will give “careful consideration” to a Private Member’s Bill which would introduce a ban.

Mr Denning said: “The most important job in Scotland is not Bruce Adamson’s or even Nicola Sturgeon’s: the most important job is the job of being a parent, bringing up the next generation. And parents are the experts on their own kids.

“Every child, every family is different. It is up to the parents, who are more committed to their kids than anyone else ever could be, to decide the right way to bring them up. Not the Government, and certainly not an international committee of ‘experts’ at the UN.”


He added: “The Government needs to give parents the space and the confidence to do their job in the way they know best, not turn decent, ordinary parents into criminals.”

Mr Denning also warned that any ban on smacking would prevent police and social workers from dealing with the real cases of child abuse, and urged them not to “waste their time prosecuting loving parents”.

He said that a light smack was a tool that parents might sometimes use as part of putting boundaries in place “which kids need to stay safe and to learn right from wrong”.

Be Reasonable

In Wales, a campaign has been launched opposing the Welsh Government’s plans to ban smacking.

Be Reasonable, which is backed by The Christian Institute and the Family Education Trust, has warned that plans to ban smacking will criminalise thousands of ordinary parents.

Spokesmum for the campaign Lowri Turner said that people calling for a change in the law were using “hysterical and manipulative language”.

She said: “They’re trying to make out that a gentle smack on the back of the legs from a loving mum is the same as beating up your kids. Does anyone seriously think that that sort of abuse is not already illegal?”

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