If you want to see the future for North American watch what is unfolding in the United Kingdom. There are disturbing things happening in that country and when it happens there, its next stop seems to be North America.
The Christian Institute is warning about recent legislation proposed for England redefining child neglect. If passed, it could potentially turn every parent in that country into a criminal. The Institute says the legislation will be introduced in the Queen’s speech on June 4, 2014. In this speech, English governments traditionally present their legislative goals in the upcoming session of parliament.
According to a law passed in 1933, child neglect is limited to areas of providing basic care such as food, clothing and medical aid. Failure to do that could result in charges. However, the new legislation is expected to include emotional care in the list of abuses.
Conservative MP Robert Buckland who is a strong supporter of the legislation characterized it as protection from “the wicked stepmother of Cinderella.”
However, the law defining emotional neglect is so broadly written and all-encompassing, that many argue it could potentially criminalize every parent.
The legislation has the support of a some activist organizations such as Action for Children — which pushed for the legislation and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Professor Frank Furedi is a Sociology professor at the University of Kent. He is also author of a book entitled “Paranoid Parenting.”
He recently wrote an article in The Independent outlining his serious concerns about the new law:
The call for the Cinderella Law represents the latest phase of a campaign to continually expand the range of parental behaviour that can be condemned as abusive. These days, parents who smoke or drink alcohol in front of children risk being characterized as child-abusers. Opponents of the tradition of male circumcision condemn Jewish and Muslim parents as abusers of children. Health activists denounce parents of overweight children for the same offence. Mothers and fathers who educate their children to embrace the family’s religion have been characterized as child abusers by anti-faith campaigners.
He stated that the NSPCC considers making fun of children as emotional abuse. Furedi says this type of activity done in jest in many families may now be criminal based on the whims of bureaucrats.
“I am not sure what universe the NSPCC inhabits, but in the real world, the making fun of one another is the stuff of family life. When parents and children interact, they are likely to make jokes at each others’ expense.”
He added there has been a deliberate push for a broad definition in the legislation so it could potentially criminalize any parental activity as needed.
Furedi cites a number of areas that could be classified as abuse under the law. These include:
- Age appropriate activities: One of the struggles parents encounter is knowing when a child is ready for a certain activity. It is always a judgment call. Do you stop them from being involved or do they just need some encouragement? Make the wrong call, it could be jail time for you.
- Then on the other side, over protecting your children could also result in time behind bars.
- Pushing your children in sport’s activities is another potential for a criminal record.
Others are seeing the legislation for what it really is. Writing in The Telegraph, Philip Johnston said:
“How would we measure adequate amounts of parental affection or emotional commitment?”
State ownership of children?
But perhaps the most disturbing element of the law is that it would move the responsibility of child rearing from the parent to the state. Furedi says the driving force behind the legislation is the belief that parents know nothing about child rearing and only the so-called social re-engineering experts do.
Though these self-appointed child-savers may be well-intentioned, they do far more harm than good. The policing of the emotional life of families is driven by an authoritarian impulse whose main consequence is to diminish parental authority.
However, it’s equally clear God gave parents the responsibility of child — despite our imperfections.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASV)
- The Cinderella law: Emotional correctness gone mad: Independent
- Parents jailed for hurting child’s feelings: WND
- ‘State Meddling’ parenting law set for the Queen’s speech: Christian.org
- Cinderella law: Lock me up, I once laughed at my son: The Telegraph
Parents jailed for hurting child’s feelings: WND
The Cinderella Law: Emotional correctness gone mad: The Independent
‘State meddling’ parenting law set for Queen’s Speech: Christian.org