Smoking daughter ‘hit with brush’

This BBC story is fascinating – Smoking daughter ‘hit with brush. I think I can understand, in this justice.gifcase, where the parent was coming from when he decided to thump his daughter with a brush shaft. Now.. at first hearing the immediate reaction is to say that the dad overstepped the mark. I mean, come on, taking a brush shaft to a child is way outa line, isn’t it?

But then you read on to discover that the guy has the lung disease emphysema. So I suppose he maybe saw his daughter throwing her lungs away and well … I suppose he saw red. Losing the head is no way to convince a kid not to smoke but, on a human level, you have to understand the frustration he must have felt.

In the end Resident Magistrate Barney McElholme sentenced the man to a month in jail , suspended for a year. Hopefully, they guy won’t go to jail, the daughter will stop smoking and they’ll get back to playing happy families.

What do you think?

Is it ever right to physically punish a child at all? Did Barney do a King Solomon here?


5 Responses to Smoking daughter ‘hit with brush’

  1. Dave says:

    I didn’t realise that physical chastisement – the norm from time immemorial until the last twenty or thirty years, and even then only rejected in some post-Christian European cultures – was incompatable with happy families. It appears that the unnamed father is the one who followed the advice of King Solomon, though one hardly needs to go all the way back to Solomon to find it normative, even if he reiterated universal wisdom concerning childraising.

  2. con1951 says:

    But, should children EVER be hit at all? I mean, does it do any good? What possible reason could justify striking a child with a brush shaft. It’s like something from the “old days”.

  3. Dave says:

    And what makes the “new days” better than the “old days”? The higher crime rates, dramatically so perpetrated by children? ASBOs that are flaunted? School children with no regard for authority in the classroom?

    After all, the move away from proper chastisement has done nothing to lower the incidents of actual physical abuse, which has always been illegal. Unfortunately agenda-driven groups like the NSPCC can’t distinguish between traditional implements or methods of discipline and being “punched, kicked, knocked down, shaken, deliberately burned or scalded, throttled or threatened with a knife or gun.” (Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom: a Study of the Prevalence of Abuse and Neglect, NSPCC, November 2000, p. 8) A brush shaft may not be as time-honoured as a cane, paddle, or wooden spoon, but absent evidence of actual bodily harm, it hopefully got the message across that smoking has consequences and that it is better a little pain today than emphysema or lung cancer later.

  4. Dave says:

    I’m not sure how the smiley face ended up in the previous comment. It should read “page eight” rather than “page smiley with sun glasses”.

  5. talkni says:

    I’ve been thinking about this story overnight and I’ve come to the conclusion that Resident Magistrate Barney McElholm is really a bit of a fool. The story gets a bit more detail in Friday Nov 2nd Derry Journal here: Pupils should visit cancer wards: RM

    But I reckon that RM McElholm should be apologising to all those who are ill with cancer in Derry hospital wards because he is advocating using them as a side show for his courtroom. It is quoted that he:-

    “appealed to local schools authorities to allow their students to visit hospital cancer wards and hospices so they can see the damage caused to peoples’ health by smoking.”

    As if cancer patients and their families do not already have enough trouble, this guy advocates adding troupes of school children traipsing through the wards gawking at them. I don’t think I’ve heard anything as daft since I read about people in the 17th and 18th centuries visiting the local asylum to laugh at the patients. Although RM McElholm isn’t suggesting that he isn’t exactly showing his caring side – I’m sure he has one somewhere.

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