Sunday, 19 January 2014

That is it! Time out for you..

Something caught my attention this week, it was news story reported in The Star about a Malaysian couple who have been arrested in Sweden for allegedly hitting their son on the hand. In 1979 Sweden had banned corporal punishment; and by hitting (allegedly) their son on the hand the parents had broken the law.

After the school had reported the matter to the police the parents were arrested and all the children had been placed in foster care. So far, the parents have been detained for a month as in Sweden there is no bail system and arrested can be held in custody until their trial is complete. And it will be at least another two weeks until their case is heard.

There was some controversy over the placement of the children in foster care because they weren't allowed to meet their relatives who had flown in from Malaysia. One of the children, identified only as Ammar, said: “I miss Mummy and Daddy. We want to go back to Malaysia but they won’t let us. The Swedish social services with the help of representatives from the Malaysian Embassy are trying to find a Malaysian family to foster the children.

Khairy Jamaluddin who is the Minister of Youth and Sports described the extended detention of the Malaysian couple in Sweden as harsh. “Although we respect their law, I think extending the remand is harsh,” he said.

According to an unnamed source (which doesn't exist since I'm making this part up), the parents are currently being held in a not-so-hard labour camp where they have to assemble IKEA furniture for those who can't read unbelievably simple instructions. I get it..jokes about IKEA furniture are common, but I couldn't help myself. I still love IKEA furniture :)

While some countries (around 30) have banned corporal punishment against children, discipline and punishment by parents (such as spanking) have always been a somewhat grey area. Besides what's wrong with a little discipline? Maybe if the Swedes were a little more stricter they wouldn't have lost the Battle of Poltava in 1709. That's right people, I just put Sweden on blast :P I'm kidding of course. But if any Swedes are upset over the mention of that historic loss to the Russians I would say “Seriously bro, let it go.”

Corporal punishment prohibited in schools and home/Corporal punishment prohibited in schools only

In case you're wondering,I have probably been hit by my parents a handful of times. I can't really remember getting hit except for one incident. In fact in most of these cases I would probably say I deserved it (it has nothing to do with the fact that they're standing over my shoulder right now.) I was a bit of a wild child. While my parents were somewhat strict, I could get away with stuff pretty easily. Especially with my mother.

About 12 years ago my Dad had left for a trip, I got really upset because I missed him. And when I get upset I like to eat junk food (I still do); so I asked my Mum to buy me some McDonald's before she got home. She forgot and long story short, the next morning my Mum tried in vain to drag me to the bathroom (I was a fat kid) since I decided to go on “strike.” And so, like the protesters in New York I decided to occupy my bedroom. Unlike the protesters, I got my way and not only missed school that day but also had a lovely McDonald's meal.

Hopefully this whole thing will be resolved soon. I don't think you can criticize a country for wanting for wanting to protect children while there are other countries out there who are trying to take away the rights of other people (looking at you Putin. And no, you can't use the same argument of protecting children to discriminate against the LGBT community.) And if you ever find yourself losing your patience with your child, just use the naughty step. Or you just might find yourself having to take a "time out."

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  1. Wow, I think we got a similar amount of slaps/spanks as kids. The Naughty Step and the Naughty Corner (complete with cobwebs sometimes!) was usually the most we were given. I have no idea how to feel about this news story. I hope the law has helped with the mental health of the nation…but I know it isn't helping the children in that particular family. Humans are just too damn complicated!

  2. It is kind of hard to asses situations like this. I was never hit very often at all and I am glad, because I wouldn't personally choose to do that. There are ways to discipline children outside of a quick whack and teaches them more things in the process as well. I don't think I can say that is the right way to do it, because maybe in some cases a light tap can also make a child really assess what they are doing (as long as it wasn't all the time, for minor things, or really hard).

    It seems like a really extreme thing to do, to jail them. Unless there was more to the case then is being made public. I don't know. :/