Saturday, September 27, 2008

Twisted ... and not bitter

Grape vines undressed during winter

Friday, September 26, 2008

Will we perhaps see the reincarnation of Common Sense? I read the death notice some years ago …

A small smack is not child abuse
By Robyn Riley
(From & The Herald Sun)

It is school holiday time, and like many parents I am feeling a little frayed at the edges.

So excuse me if I take on the experts who want to tell parents the right way to discipline their children.

Last week, while on holidays having quality time with the kids, I read about the grandmother who allegedly smacked her grandchild on the bottom for going down a drain pipe. The woman has now lost custody of the child and its three older siblings. The NSW Department of Community Services thinks the children would be better in foster care than with a family member who smacks the bottoms of naughty children.

Has the world gone mad or am I am missing something here?

While I was reading this shocking story, my kids were in a frenzy over some altercation that had quickly snowballed out of control, the way only kids can. On and on it went, until I heard myself shouting at the top of my voice for some peace and common sense. And that's all we can do, isn't it? Shout like a maniac until someone listens, though you have to wonder whether this traumatises both parent and child to a greater degree.

Of course, it was different in our day. Certainly, it was different in the days when the grandmother in the newspaper was a child. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the mantra back then.

I feel terribly sorry for this woman. She has cared for her four grandkids on and off for the last six years as their mother battled drug addiction. Surely she deserves some sympathy, not public humiliation. But some experts say what she allegedly did was unacceptable. I say to them, walk a mile in her shoes.

Bringing up happy, healthy, polite and caring children has never been easy, but it is getting more difficult because of the push for parenting to be so politically correct that there is no room for common sense and gut instinct. I admire the work of Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci, but I do not support his push for a national ban on smacking. He has pushed for it since a 2006 foundation survey found most people thought smacking was acceptable. Mr Tucci wanted the Government to legislate against parents doing it. But the Australian Family Association argued that laws which meant the Government decided who was and was not a good parent would go too far. Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie dismissed it, saying that a smack on the bum never hurt anybody. And I think that is the belief of many of my generation. Mr Tucci worries that when adults use physical punishment, it's usually because they're frustrated. He believes there's a risk of hurting the child because you're not in control of yourself. Of course there are derelict parents who lash out at their kids, but let's not confuse them with the 99 per cent who only wish to impose some boundaries.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, kids knew that if they behaved badly there would be consequences. Yes, often it was a smack on the bottom. But in all honesty it did us no permanent damage.

I wonder if the same is true of yelling.

Verbal abuse is as destructive as physical abuse. And, yes, in a perfect world parents wouldn't yell or smack, and all children would be little angels.

It doesn't work that way. I am with John Morrissey on this. The Australian Family Association spokesman says there is a big difference between a small smack and hurting or abusing a child. In April, there was a push in Tasmania for a ban on smacking. Children's Commissioner Paul Mason told the ABC that corporal punishment taught children not to get caught and that violence was acceptable in resolving conflict. But doesn't it also teach kids not to repeat the same offence? Doesn't it impose on the child a sense that they've gone over the boundary and need to rein in their behaviour? Of course, I am not supporting child abuse in any form, but there is a profound difference between a reproaching smack and an out-of-control slap or something worse. Most parents understand that, and surely our authorities should as well. Flexibility and common sense are traits of good parents. It's about time the "experts" and the authorities displayed the same attributes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Buoys behaving well

Most of them lined up well; a couple out of line, but not bad for buoys!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Weather ... whether it will rain or not

At this time of the year, weather becomes a hot topic of conversation.

The beautiful dry season weather is drawing to a close, the humidity is rising, the overnight temperatures are rising and tempers are rising also. Not too radically yet, but by October, the month locally known as the month of the falling mango, or more colloquially as suicide month (because the weather does add to stress type symptoms for some), tempers will be seriously frayed. Even getting a parking space in the last shady space can almost cause road rage. Locals know that it will be April, and only then if we are lucky; before the weather is again perfect one day and fantastic the next.

Our local cartoonist has summed up the TV nightly weather broadcast (if the TV station broadcasts the local weather and not that for Tasmania, as we got a couple of nights ago) for the next couple of months, in one of his cartoons. On Wicking!

For more humour from the same gentleman click below:

Oh yes, and to see the cartoon clearly, click on it to enlarge.

Cartoon © Colin Wicking