Dear Editor – I was driving down to town this morning (yesterday) when I heard submissions made by the office of DPP to the Bills & Legislation Committee live by SIBC.
However, DPP’s contribution was interesting which made me to share few thoughts in this medium. The issue I wish to share is the discipline aspect of parents’ role and responsibilities in raising the child.
Essentially, parents have a moral responsibility for the upbringing of their children and disciplining them is part of their parenting role.
It must be understood that if the Bill is passed there will be confusion because I don’t know if there is ample time given for a wider consultation since this Bill will directly challenge the very norm we all were being raised by our parents in the past.
As I heard part of the definition over the live broadcast I thought whatever form of discipline a parent would like to apply to his/her child will be deemed an offence.
In other words, parents will have to be very careful how they discipline their children because the Bill seeks to protect the child not the parent.
The question now would be ‘what constitute a family unit’? So, from a parent perspective I would suggest that the Bill should be renamed to be called ‘Child Protection Act’.
Finally, I wish to conclude by paraphrasing a verse in the Bible which states that as humans we are born into this world with a fallen nature (also referred to as the sinful nature or adamic nature).
Therefore, if all of humanity enters the world with a nature characterized by wrong doing, does a child have any power to resist doing wrong?
If the child does not have power to withstand doing the opposite of right and the parent is helpless because it is law that any form of discipline will be deemed an offence, what else can the parent and the child do because learning to do the right thing in life is the parents’ responsibility to teach the child and discipline is very much part of the learning process for the young child.
Let’s not forget that Paul in one of his letters to the Romans referred to this nature as two laws operating within a person.
Obviously, the law to do good and the law to do evil which is present inside everybody regardless of our status (high/low). So, is it reasonable to legislate for the promotion of the fallen nature then on the other hand legislate to punish people who committed an offence triggered by the nature which they don’t have the power to withstand?
Ironically, passing the Bill will engage the law to do wrong to prevail over the law to do good inside a child because parents only exercise their role in terms of discipline when his/her child does what is viewed as a wrong doing.
Lastly, I would suggest that parents should be given breathing space to exercise their role without fear or malice should the Bill becomes a law.
This Bill should have majority of contributions from parents because whether they like it or not will eventually alter the very fabric of our society.