Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Problem Is...

Picking up the boys this afternoon from school. Erik managed to drag his heels getting up to the front gate. Understandable because I usually bribe them with the promise of a treat if they're quick, but today he knew one wasn't coming because yesterday he was unduly mean to his brother so I withheld the treat, only to have him help himself to it later in the afternoon, and therefore I told him he would not be getting his treat today, in lieu of yesterday...

While I was waiting I was chatting with another mum at the school who has two daughters, and usually these girls are very quick to come to the front gate, but today the younger one - who is 8 - kept her mum waiting even longer than Erik kept me waiting.

We usually walk up to the bus stop together and chat. This mum and I have gotten to know one another over the past year, and while everyone is always friendly to her (the parents of other children smile and say hello etc.), we've kind of bonded over the bus run and over the fact that we both wanted another baby (of a specific sex, me girl, her boy). She is also a new immegrant and the only hajib wearing mum at the school.

So, she was telling me yesterday that she and her dh are thinking of moving to an area with more muslims and a dedicated Islamic school, because her 10 year old daughter should have started wearing the hajib last year, but our school doesn't like it worn with the uniform (WTF? Is that even legal to refuse them that right?)... But also, she said even if they argued the point, her daughters would be the only students wearing hajibs, and she and her dh a worried it might attract negative attention to their girls...

Then today, the younger daughter was slow to come to the gate. Her mum was very frustrated. She is almost halfway through a pregnancy herself and suffering a lot of dizziness with it - she hasn't been well, with low iron, since before the pregnancy started... So, apparently (and I didn't witness this), she kind of hit her younger daughter on the back of her shoulder, and actually missed because the girl flinched, when she was admonishing her for being tardy.

I don't agree with hitting, smacking etc. but have done it myself more times than I care to remember - always out of frustration. The first time I ever smacked Erik was when I was in my first trimester with Luey and feeling CRAP! So, I guess part of me can sympathise with her frustration, given that she wasn't feeling well and needed to get these girls home on public transport etc...

Anyway, this is the point of my post now... It seems someone, one of the other parents at the school, approached her, pulling out some sort of ID and saying she worked for some Govt. dept. (I guess it might have been DoCs?) and told her that she'd seen her smack her daughter and that that is not ALLOWED in Australia...

Fine, fair enough, I don't believe smacking should be allowed either, but last time I checked, there hadn't been a law passed criminalising smacking. I think there is a law against striking a child with an implement, but not with your hand (correct me if I'm wrong, please)... Besides which, flashing some semi-official ID at a new immegrant and professing this to be NOT ALLOWED, so suggesting unlawful behaviour, is downright intimidatory behaviour!!!

Why not just ask if she could help in some way???

Seriously, threatening this woman has not taught her anything about smacking, she merely feels more alienated, more judged, and more justified in her smacking (she was telling me that because Australians don't smack their children get away with all sorts of things and become criminals)...

And this doesn't even begin to deal with the clash of cultures in this situation, or the lack of willingness to see a pregnant woman's struggle to just get through the day etc.

Grrrrr... Anyway, I ended up feeling bad for this aquaintence of mine, even though I don't support smacking as a disciplinary tool, and would like to see it outlawed myself...

2 comments:

katef said...

Oh grrr that would infuriate me. I wonder if that person flashes her card at any every other parent she sees hitting, verbally or emotionally abusing their child in a public place? I bet you can recount more than one instance at the school gate where you have seen another parent do those things?

This sort of behaviour doesn't help stop child abuse - I don't advocate hitting a child, but I don't see this kind of authoritarian, 'I'm better than you' behaviour as a way to help any parent learn better options.
I have more to say but can't unmuddle the words today! LOL

HipbubbyMama said...

Agree you what Kate said. I don't think shaming adults achieves any better results than shaming children :(

Finding myself..