Kiwi Polemicist

July 13, 2009

• Private parenting matters are public business. Yeah, right.

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

This is from Stuff:

Police are defending the actions of a father who became hopelessly lost with his deaf daughter and asthmatic son, after they went pig hunting in dense Northland bush over the weekend.

George Barbaer, 40, his 13-year-old daughter Trinity and six-year-old son George Junior built their own shelter and survived on chocolate and berries for two days as wild weather pounded the region.

The trio were found safe and well about 2.30pm yesterday, after going into the bush on Friday morning prepared only for a day walk in the Mangamuka Ranges, about 40km southeast of Kaitaia.

They wore light clothes and had very little food with them.

When they were finally found more than 48 hours later, they were doing “remarkably well” despite being very cold, Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe, who led the search team, said today.

“They’re used to living in this environment up here and they sought shelter at night and held it together.”

He did not think the trio were unwise to go into the ranges on Friday morning as the stormy weather was not forecast to hit the region before the evening, he told Radio New Zealand.

“On this occasion they got caught out by the weather.”

He said George Junior was not necessarily too young to be out pig hunting with his dad.

“I believe they teach them very young up this way and that’s quite normal behaviour for rural kids in any environment I believe.”

The area the three were found in was very thick bush and even the most experienced of hunters could become disorientated, Mr Metcalfe said.

I’m curious about the use of the word “defending” in the first line: has someone criticised Barbaer, or is this word just used for dramatic effect?

I’m glad to see some some common sense from the police (rather than calling child welfare because a father took his six year old hunting), but there is a darker, censorious subtext in this article. Barbaer chose to take his children hunting and this is a entirely a private matter between him and the mother of the children. The fact that the reporter considered it important enough to get a police opinion on a private parenting matter shows that in our society it is generally considered permissible, even good, to poke your nose in when it’s supposedly a matter of child welfare. The fact that the policeman was willing to give an opinion on a private parenting matter shows that he considers private parenting matters to be public business.

The reporter and the policeman are no less guilty than the citizen-spies that I wrote about in my earlier posts:

The anti-smacking law lets citizens be agents of state terrorism

Update: The anti-smacking law lets citizens be agents of state terrorism



1 Comment »

  1. […] â?¢ Private parenting matters are public business. Yeah, right … […]

    Pingback by How to solve Separation Anxiety with Your Kids — July 14, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

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