New Zealand Parliament outlaws use of physical force on children

There’s been a significant development in New Zealand, with their Parliament passing a law which has been described as making it illegal for parents to smack their children. According to a report on the ABC website, New Zealand now “joins only a handful of European nations to legislate against the use of unreasonable force in disciplining children,” (although according to this media release from last year by the Australian Childhood Foundation, “fifteen countries such as Sweden, Germany and Israel, have banned the use of physical punishment of children by parents.”)

This topic is a perpetually controversial one, and usually generates strong community debate. For a topic that is so controversial, it is fascinating that the law passed with such strong support in the New Zealand Parliament – with a full conscience vote on the matter producing a huge majority of 113 MPs in favour and only 7 against!

I think debate on this matter often suffers from people having different interpretations of what such a law would mean and how it would operate. This new law in New Zealand amends Section 59 of their Crimes Act to remove the ability of a parent to claim as a defence that they were using “reasonable force” in disciplining or correcting a child.

According to Sue Bradford, the MP who put the legislation forward,

“neither the Select Committee, myself or anyone else supporting the Bill has ever intended that all parents who ever lightly or occasionally hit their child should be subject automatically to investigation and prosecution.

What we have been simply seeking to do is to remove a defence which has allowed some parents to get away with quite badly beating their children, and most significantly, has stopped police taking action in many situations of violence against children.”

In Australia, Dr Joe Tucci, currently CEO of the Australians Childhood Foundation, has been campaigning on this issue for a long time. In this interview from 2002, he said

It’s legal to use physical discipline but it’s not legal to assault your child. And that’s the difference, the difference is not about, talking about whether parents should smack or not smack, this is about the law and whether parents who cause an injury to the child under the name of discipline should be held accountable.

A report released last year asserted that “45% of adults believe it is okay to leave a mark on a child as a result of physical punishment.

There is a difference between having a personal belief that smacking children is a bad idea and agreeing that it should be made illegal for parents to use physical force against a child. However, I wonder why our society continues to see it as OK, (and indeed many people see it as sometimes desirable), for a parent to use force in disciplining a child, but it is generally not legal for any other adult – a teacher, babysitter, child care worker or anybody else – to use force to discipline a child.

ADDENDUM: This link goes to a short backgrounder giving basic details about what is (and isn’t) in the New Zealand Bill that has just passed.

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48 Comments

  1. Have a read of the original bill, and you will see that what Parliament have done is they have legislated to ban the use of reasonable force for the purpose of correction.

    The stupid thing is that it is ok to use force for pretty much anything that is not correction (within reason of course).

    The one thing our Socialist Parliament does not like is the authority that the parents have over their children, and they want to get rid of it.

  2. Proverbs 22:15

    Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.

    Proverbs 19:18a

    Chasten your son while there is hope

  3. Hmmm, kind of scary comments there.

    Having worked in childcare for five years, I honestly believe that if you are forced to hit a child, you are letting your emotions get the better of you.

    We don’t let adults hit each other in everyday interaction, so why should it be acceptable with children?* You can, with sufficient thought, get children to behave like angels without raising a finger, even the bad ones.

    *Let the record reflect, I was a recipient of a few spankings, and even the dreaded wooden spoon as a kid, and I don’t think it did me any harm, really. But I do think it’s unecessary.

  4. Interestingly (and somewhat disturbingly) here in SA there is talk from Family First’s Dennis Hood suggests that they’re going to introduce a bill into state parliament to ensure protection from criminal prosecution for any parent who uses reasonable physical discipline on their child…. almost a direct opposite to the NZ law.

    From radio interviews in April he acknowledged parents are already protected under common law with the right of reasonable chastisement, however he believes introducing such a bill would protect parents from frivolous prosecution of child abuse when using reasonable physical discipline – which he said he knows of current cases.

    He also mentioned with great concern the Howard Government’s $2.5m grant to the Australian Childhood Foundation to produce a booklet which is called, Every Child is Important … and the booklet lists a number of recommendations with the very first recommendation being that State Governments review all of their laws and look to changing them so that parents no longer have the right to smack their children.

    My reading of the NZ law, and discussions with some NZ friends, was the fundamental premise to the new law was to remove a legal protection for child abuse…. which can only be a good move.

    As for Family First attempting to defend physical violence against children… one can only question how that could be strengthening and building healthy families?

  5. I find arguments based on bible quotes and defense of adults rights thrown up in roughly equal measure, while completely ignoring the child, very scary and very irritating also in roughly equal measure.

    There are endless ‘instruction’ type quotes one could pluck out of the bible and twist around to use as your particular guiding light. It doesn’t mean you should do so – and it doesn’t mean god intends you to do so.

    I do not believe god thinks you should take to your child with a rod, or a switch or anything else, however lovingly done. It’s offensive that god gets used as an excuse for adults to behave like bullies.

    Society has tolerated the systemic and on going abuse of children and lived with the consequence of that abuse for far too long.

    It is time to stop ignoring what has been an ever-growing crisis for a very long time and it is time to put our children and their welfare at the top of this country’s priority list.

  6. our Socialist Parliament

    compared to

    a huge majority of 113 MPs in favour and only 7 against

    Why I never knew socialism was so popular in the land of the wrong white crowd.

  7. I find it extraordinary that Israel have these laws as they happily shoot Palestinian kids in the head, murder them at play, study or on their way to school or the shops.

    They lock up refugee children and Palestinians and even their own kids in adult prisons for petty crimes and teach their children to write love notes on bombs as they cheer at the slaughter of Lebanese kids.

    How bizarre – nearly as deranged as Australia doing it while bombing Iraqi and Afghan kids to bits.

  8. We got a roasting in the national media today for supporting the NZ Crimes Act Amendment. I am so angry at the media for putting such a misleading spin on something that is so important.

  9. This amendment does very little. The old law already had a safeguard against execessive force. All the new law does is remove the defence of reasonable force and replace it with an exemption from prosecution for minor offences. Very little difference.

    It is more hot air than it is an improvement in the law. If you want to stop the REAL instancs of child abuse you’d spend more time educating parents and empowering DOCS with resources to pursue the cases of real abuse.

  10. “It is more hot air than it is an improvement in the law. If you want to stop the REAL instancs of child abuse you’d spend more time educating parents and empowering DOCS with resources to pursue the cases of real abuse.”

    Educating people by reforming the law so that people know that bashing children (which I presume counts as “REAL chlid abuse” Jeffrey G) is harmful and unacceptable, perhaps?

  11. Why do we want to hurt our children? What gives us the idea that children learn by being hurt? How do we feel when we are frightened, threatened, scared?

    Hurt people, hurt people.

    The justifications that are made for use of physical punishment, smacking or whacking, invariably are made with a lot of emotion – a sure sign of defensiveness or aggressiveness or both.

    LOVE AND FEAR
    There are only two feelings. Love and fear.
    There are only two languages. Love and fear.
    There are only two activities. Love and fear.
    There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks, two results. Love and fear.
    Love and fear.
    (taken from A Common Prayer, Michael Leunig, 1990)

    I grew up with wooden spoons and anger. I’ve spent years workings to heal the pain and confusion it caused me so that my daughter grows to know love, experience love, give love much more than fear.

    Adam

  12. adam
    i have two adult children .both have had a few smacks from me .
    i did that to teach them that there are boundrys not to be crossed without consequence .
    i think that is wrong with a lot of kids today they are set boundrys but as soon as they cross them they are not punished.
    i also feel that some of the so called experts have no practical experiance unfortuatly thease are the ppl advising the govt.
    its just a shame that at times the govt takes notice of them.

  13. Adele, the law already showed that bashing children was unacceptable. It did this by prohibiting unreasonable force. Hardly an innovation or a reform if it doesn’t teach us anything new.

  14. Jeffrey, the trouble with that view is that the law didn’t define ‘unreasonable’. In practice, it gave a defence for the use of physical force that did not apply to any other adults and did not apply to physical violence by one adult on another. If it is not defined by the law, the notion of what is ‘reasonable’ defaults to what is general community opinion, which a court or the police then have to interpret or second guess.

    As the debate about ‘smacking’ shows, lots of people believe parents have a right to hit their kids and therefore a parent can argue they believed the force they used against their kids was reasonable.

    And as court cases have shown, this defence has been used to allow people to get away with bashing their kids, which therefore makes it acceptable under our laws. It also discourages police from acting bashing of kids, as it impedes them getting a conviction. And seeing people complain whenever someone suggests changing the law to stop this happening, it also appears the community believes it is acceptable too.

    This is hardly just a matter of “hot air”.

  15. Well, Andy Moore, would probably be one of these dreaded “socialists” you live in trepidation of, at least by your own no doubt narrow criteria, since I actually love Democracy. But I agree it is as fitful as to legislate against an exasperated parent giving a brat a smack for a tantrum in a supermarket as, say, it is to prosecute or legislate as to sneezing,various embarrassing gastric problems and lewd thoughts.
    Yet overseas there have been cases involving suburban mothers with resulting six month sentences, for exactly the sort of situation mentioned above. Yet malicious major assaults result in court bonds for louts.
    I always find it egregious, though, when those who condemn parents for smacking their kid often offer so little in the way of support, as against just sanctimony.
    Still, I can see why NZ passed the legislation. The case that prompted it involved the sort of sickening brutality that we see too often on the tabloid telly news these days. Some folk lack the “wherewithal”, it seems , as to a sense of proportion and it’s gross to see dead or maimed kids presented on the six oclock news.
    But, as was pointed out above, there are horrors right across the planet that put our part of the world into a disturbing context as to why so much comparative hysteria about local issues in this privileged part of the world, when many thousands die the death of dogs every day elsewhere without any recognition at all.
    The NZedders are just erring on the side of caution. That’s ok, if you think about it.
    I just hope the magistrates (for once!) show a sense of proportion in discerning between real cases of violence against kids, and just an exasperated normal parent merely activating a quick circuit-breaker, as to some pampered kid having a public tantrum.

  16. Interesting, the federal government can spend over $20 million in the “Australia says No” campaign but turns blinders on when it comes to children?

  17. On this one I agree largely with Paul Walter. The application of a process, applied consistently and with known escalation factors is the key to establishing an effective behaviour modification program. Whether the factors involve physical or non physical application is largely immaterial compared to the consistent application.

    However, in such a scenario there is no case for physical abuse and for any one who works in the field or has (as I have) the difference is patently obvious.

    How a defence of “reasonable force” could be argued successfully in court is beyond me and reflects either very poorly on the magistracy or the capability of the Police who laid the charges. For charges to be laid, almost by definition could only mean the injuries were in no way reasonable, and no defence except diminished capacity or remorse should ever be entertained.

    So I support this legislation.

  18. I’m thoroughly against this legislation, it’s the thin end of the wedge. Next they’ll be telling me I can’t give my girlfriend a gentle backhander when she gives me some lip! What’s next? Legislating against beating up fags when they wear short shorts? This New Zealand place sounds like it’s going to hell in a handbasket fast!
    If you can’t hit defenseless children whose care you’ve been charged with, who can you hit?

  19. Thank you Andrew for bringing this forward. The Commissioner for Children in Tasmania is strongly in favour of reviewing the common law and statutory defences to using force against children if only to promote debate and at least define contemporary social standards.
    There are as many responses to the issue as there are govts that have done it. The NZ Act took an interesting twist and distinguished between “correction” (making punishment illegal) and preventative discipline for 1 of 4 named purposes (legal if reasonable).
    The Churches supported the Bill and it was passed with 1 MP voting against it!
    Please keep talking about it.
    Paul Mason
    Commissioner for Children, Tasmania

  20. Yes, I think adults should be held accountable if they deliberately injure children – but this cannot be divorced from some of the causative factors.

    In the modern society, people are afraid of raising their voices, let alone smacking anyone and, consequently, a lot of children are out of control – in the homes, classrooms and elsewhere.

    A natural progression from this is that adults get very angry at disobedient children, causing the very problem we are trying to resolve.

    Tony Abbott wants the cane brought back to the schools, and I support this idea wholeheartedly.

    Unless troublemakers are very firmly disciplined, the learning opportunities of other students are limited by depressive illnesses and disruption in classrooms.

    If students continue to be led to believe they may do anything of their choosing (as they are from Year 1), they may choose to hurt other people and/or not learn anything.

    They may even be endangered inside or outside of school hours by their perceived possession of adult wisdom and power.

    In our high schools, exams are being “dumbed down” so that more students will pass – confirmed by a Science teacher only weeks ago.

    Applying the rod of education to the seat of learning would produce far better results than allowing children to do as they please.

    Lots of people have made excellent points, but I think Red Crab has really hit the nail on the head at post #12.

    The same applies to the adult society. There’s no point laying down the law if you have no intention of enforcing it.

    It is no coincidence that 30% of the adult community is on antidepressants, or that people are forced to commit retributive acts when judges support criminals instead of their victims.

  21. Instead of abusing the rights of adults everywhere they go, children need to learn the meaning of the word “obedience”.

  22. Thanks for putting this thread up again, Andrew.

    I know of 2 bus drivers who have reported problems with the same high school students to the police.

    About a month ago, there was a huge problem on the same bus route at the same time, involving the same students.

    They wouldn’t do what the bus driver told them – stop ringing the bell and clean up the food scraps they had spread everywhere – and when he ordered them off the bus, they refused to leave.

    Other kids jeered at the bus driver and he was getting nowhere. So I stood up and told the bus driver I would back him.

    Then an older man and I made the kids clean up the mess. The older man nearly hit one 16-year-old boy who was insulting me, but I asked him not to hurt him (but only for his own protection).

    Then a loud-mouthed girl started bossing the adults around. I must have told her to shutup and sit down 30 times before she would do what she was told.

    She told the older man he MAY NOT tell anyone else’s children what to do and started accusing him of assault, even though no assault had occurred.

    Then I asked her why she thought she could stand there telling a man old enough to be her grandfather what to do. That was what finally shut her up.

    When I got home, I phoned the police for advice and also notified both of the schools involved of the bad behaviour of their students.

    If bus drivers cannot control the students, they have to phone the police for assistance. If it happens again, I will be asking the bus driver to phone them.

    To me, there’s only one thing worse than parents causing injury to their children, and that’s children thinking they can call all of the shots themselves.

    As a society, we need to get away from both of these scenarios and walk a middle road.

    We need to use a variety of methods to control behaviour, and also give the kids a good smack when they need it.

    TV ads depicting very young children as “experts” on mortgages etc need to be taken off.

  23. In schools, it is considered an assault to place your hand on a child’s arm. Controlling children in schools is now nigh on impossible.

    Under the law, kids can get away with doing nearly anything they want, but adults trying to discipline them risk a lawsuit for the slightest touch, and are condemned for even raising their voices.

    From the age of 5, kids are taught that all of the choices are theirs, and from 2006, in Queensland the school rules have been presented as “suggestions”.

    My sister’s adopted Korean children have both come home from school (at the tender ages of 6 and 9) and told her that they are here to do whatever they like, without any input from Mum or Dad.

  24. I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Marilyn Sheppard. The hypocrisy is just amazing. Children watching TV during the last week could see police people attacking innocent protesters.

    Coral, are you serious about supporting Tony Abbott’s view about returning to the horrific days of corporal punishment in schools? I made it clear to my 3 sons, that they were not going to school to learn manners – they’d been taught those at home. I also told them that I did not want to hear of any bad behaviour – none! However, I did tell them that they had the right to politely state their innocence if wrongly accused. That’s how they learn justice. I certainly did not send them to school to be assaulted by a principal or teacher. As a pupil at a catholic school in the 1950’s who was bashed by the nuns,I would have taken legal action against a teacher who attacked my children. I was determined, that they would not suffer the same cruel injustice. That was one major reason for sending them to a state school.

    Coral, there’s also a big difference between punishment and discipline. I admit to hitting out of anger and/or frustration on occasions when my 3 sons were growing up. I regret that, and of course I’m against abuse, but I do think that a smack is not damaging. It’s a bit difficult to have a discussion about the dangers of electricity with a 2 year old who wants to stick something in a power socket. But a smack on the hand makes an impression I believe. However, that smack is not discipline, it’s punishment!It’s too late to start to discipline a child in primary school, let alone High School. It’s far too late then!

    I think that a major problem that parents have with ‘losing it’ could be prevented if they had more support.In S.A.there’s a system in place, where mothers of new babies are visited regularly by a community nurse, weekly at first, and then every ? weeks for a year. What a great idea! Parents need all our support! It’s tough!

  25. Naomi

    I’m glad you mentioned the police during APEC.

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw them shove that woman to the ground. I thought it plain stupidity when they placed their hands on people’s heads and faces. That tactic only creates panic in an individual being arrested, and their first reaction is to get that individual out of their face. They’re in no position to cooperate while being arrested under those circumstances.

  26. Naomi:

    Yes, I am serious about the return of the cane to our schools.

    I, too, have 3 sons – aged 33, 32 and 15.

    Because I have a large gap between the second and third child, I have seen retrograde changes.

    Yes, discipline begins in the home, but it needs to continue outside of it.

    Most people don’t bother to discipline their kids, and if anyone else tries, the parents stick up for their ill-behaved children.

    I could cite many examples of children being put at risk due to lack of discipline, and adults being abused by children.

    Let me just quote this one from the primary school, where an excellent music teacher was put through hell by one of the most spoilt “only child” bullies in the school and his middle aged parents.

    She gave the boy just a little tap with his book, which didn’t do him any harm. The Principal called for witness reports from other kids in the class.

    Kids came to my home threatening to sue adults. I was completely outraged.

    Firstly, I wrote to the Principal and told him he was never to get my son to produce a witness report about ANY adult without my written permission.

    Then I wrote to the music teacher and told her how much I appreciated her excellent work at our school, and sent her a box of chocolates, which my 10-year-old delivered.

    He said she burst into tears and told him she had been put through 2 weeks of hell.

    I recently mentioned writing to the Principal of another primary school and telling him how well his (aboriginal) teacher had managed the students at the District Baseball Final.

    She had nailed that same kid’s hide to the wall without doing anything anyone could complain about.

    Last year, the high school lost the Head of the English Department after he hit one of the kids (barely a scratch on his chin). Most Teachers have had enough.

    There IS no justice in primary schools. Bullies can bash other kids, and the Principal may only be interested in protecting his legal hide.

  27. Naomi:

    It is now 50 years since you were bashed by the nuns. I do believe you.

    But now we are on the verge of having the children bashing us.

    Last year, my youngest son only barely prevented a student from bashing a teacher. According to him, the verbal abuse by students is incredible.

    Please re-read red crab’s post #12. He knows what he’s talking about.

    When other people fail to discipline their children, that lack of discipline comes to school.

    When teachers are prevented from taking appropriate action, lack of discipline comes back to all of our homes.

    Schools teach good manners, respect and responsibility – but it’s all talk and no action. What use is that?

    The school rules are “marketed” to little children as suggestions. Again, what use is that?

    Today my son was told he should not try to prevent big bullies from attacking his mates i.e. to turn a blind eye so he doesn’t get hurt himself.

    Jeeeeeeezzzzz!!!!

  28. Preview:

    CORAL says:

    Donna:

    Your over-reactions to my past comments have led to unreasonable attacks across many threads.

    I tried to tell you that my son had a “D” grade teacher in an UNSTREAMED class. Only 3 students passed the exam. She used MP3 players as a Behaviour Management Strategy and could not teach her way out of a paper bag. They got rid of her from the school at the end of the year.

    Without her, my son is back to being an Extension Maths student.

    I’ve always had a good attitude towards most teachers, and supported them in as many ways as I could.

    I’ve worked with children referred from Child Guidance when I was a leader with The Scout Association – also for many years in schools.

    I stand by what I said in the link you provided. There are many issues which mitigate against children learning well in our schools.

    The first and foremost is lack of discipline (with resultant stress all round), but there are problems with SOME teachers and a LARGE NUMBER of parents which cannot be overlooked.

    I support an increase in the starting pay of teachers and an upgrade of discipline to attract more of the intelligent people. There is clearly too much paperwork involved in disciplinary action.

    My teenage son was not a happy boy yesterday. The thought that he must stand by while smaller students get bashed by bullies doesn’t sit well with him at all.

    He has terminated several bashings without hurting perpetrators, but the teachers and administrators seem more concerned about paperwork than hospital admissions.

    At the end of the year, our school is to lose a very competent young man to Medicine. This guy speaks 9 languages, is highly proficient in dance, instrumental music and singing. He teaches English, Maths and Science in the LOTE program – and those are just the things I know about.

    Due to insufficent remuneration, we get to kiss goodbye to one of the best young teachers ever recruited.

  29. i agree with Coral about everything she has said about child discipline and the lack of it.
    i am a highschool student and i see much more than the teachers ever will. i see year 8’s (13 year olds) standing up to teachers and older students and abusing them becuase they know they cannot be touched. i also work late at a fast food resaurant. the amount of drunken teenagers (some look as young as 12!) wandering the streets at all hours of the night! i constantly wonder where their parents are and if they gve a damn as to where their children are. something tells me that they only care that their children are out fo their hair.
    i would love to see the cane or some form of discipline brought back to schools, i garuntee it will make society a better place for everyone

  30. Thank you for your support for high school teachers’ Ashley. Your teachers’ must love you.

    However, I agree with Naomi that respect is taught at home. It is not the role of the school to use physical consequences.

    I recall reading research many years ago that ‘smacking’ is inappropriate past the age of 10 or 11. Obviously, it was in the days when physical punishment wasn’t questioned.

    In most cases, a phone call home to parents is all that’s needed to address behavioural matters.

    When dealing with an obnoxious bunch of teenagers disturbing the peace, it’s best, just as Coral has mentioned, to call the police. Confronting them may escalate the problem unfortunately.

    Measured, calm responses (not reactions by anyone) is needed for personal safety.

    Having said the above, I find most kids reasonable, and a small number lacking discipline.

  31. While I agree that there are many problems in schools, most of which go back to lack of resources in my experience, I’d like to know exactly how beating kids with sticks is supposed to make them believe that beating people is not OK.

    Could some pro-corporal punishment person explain at what age it can go up to? For example, should TAFE students be subjected to it? What about University students? Apprentices? New starters in the workplace? If you think some of those suggestions are silly, please explain at what magic age you advocate freedom from corporal punishment should begin, and why that is so special.

    Like capital punishment, corporal punishment sounds like a quick and easy solution to difficult social problems. My experience and training says that nearly all quick and easy solutions are not actually solutions.

  32. I think it is Ashley who really has his finger on the pulse. Thanks for telling it like it is.

    How about this? Whenever I attend a music concert at the high school, a huge percentage of parents don’t even bother to come. They’re also too mean to buy their kids a pair of shoes, so they go skating about in their socks. After the concerts, a huge number of students have to wait outside in the dark, because their parents are late in collecting them.

    This is not because the parents are too broke or too busy. A lot of them are drinking alcohol at home.

    It is my (proven) belief that everyone has to be able to discipline children on their own turf – at home, at school, in youth and sporting groups, on buses and in the community.

    Societal discipline is conducted by the society (police and courts included), not just by parents. Undisciplined children fail to learn and are at risk as to their personal safety (ignoring adults).

    In the primary schools, children are taught that everything is THEIR choice. They are allowed to make the classroom rules, and then guess what happens at home.

    Since 2006, the school rules have been put across to very young children as suggestions, and high school students are now expected to be self-disciplining, even though most of them don’t even know what discipline is, because they have never experienced it.

    togret:

    There is no age at which corporal punishment should cease or begin, except for frail elderly people and babies.

    For adults, corporal punishment might be a cheap alternative to jail terms in some instances. We need to look at the deterrent value.

    Our police force is now a “police service”. Disciplinary actions are now “consequences” (lumped in with rewards) and punishment of children is a “criminal offence”. What a joke!

    A society that disempowers all of its authority figures (parents, teachers, police), and instead empowers little children and criminals is a society headed for disaster.

  33. ‘In the primary schools, children are taught that everything is THEIR choice. They are allowed to make the classroom rules, and then guess what happens at home.’

    It’s actually students who are abused at home that pose many of the discipline problems experienced in schools. A bullying style of parenting produces children who are bullies.

  34. Godo god, Coral – bus drivers or scout leaders beating children – well, well. I think that wil raise some eyebrows if ever proposed outside this forum.

    mmm, you sunk yourself here: “We need to look at the deterrent value.” I think you’ll find there is more to this issue than simply whether people will cop this (which Australians would not.) What gives another person the right to beat another?

  35. Donna:

    “Ashley” is generally the boys’ spelling of the name. Girls are usually “Ashleigh” or “Ashlea” – not that it matters.

    Very often, bullies are those who have never been disciplined at all, and others for whom do-gooders want to make excuses.

    togret:

    I said nothing about bus drivers or scout leaders beating children. Don’t bother to put words into my mouth.

    It isn’t me who has sunk anything. The moral fibre of our entire society has dropped since laissez faire discipline came in.

    Consequently there are more adults on antidepressants, and more children on Ritalin, than there ever were before.

    A society needs to have well defined and maintained behavioural boundaries for its citizens to feel secure.

    It’s not about talking forever and doing nothing. Actions speak louder than words.

    Just as a stitch in time saves nine, sometimes a smack in time (or other forms of discipline) can save nine or worse.

    If there’s a problem with children or adults, it needs to be fixed quickly.

  36. Of course Coral, lack of discipline is an issue with students. But those students who bash others learn their bullying behaviour from their parents.

    I can think of at least one Ashley who is a girl.

    Ashley wouldn’t happen to be your son now would he Coral?

  37. Another thing – a society with well defined and maintained behavioural boundaries also has adults and children who actually like one another.

    A secure society has community-minded citizens – not people who turn a blind eye to everything, and treat their neighbours as if they don’t exist.

  38. Coral:

    You said this: “There is no age at which corporal punishment should cease or begin, except for frail elderly people and babies.” and this “It is my (proven) belief that everyone has to be able to discipline children on their own turf – at home, at school, in youth and sporting groups, on buses and in the community.”

    If that doesn’t mean that bus drivers or scout leaders in your opinion can use corporal punishment, what does it mean?

    But we are off the point – the legislation in NZ talks about “reasonable force” and injury resulting from parents over-stepping the mark.

    When is it OK to harm another person? As has been said, those of us who were beaten as children will have different views on this, and despite what some people might think, the effects of that abuse last a lifetime. I don’t think you can have suffered that, Coral, or you would not talk so glibly about it. We are not talking about little momentary slaps on the nappy or the back of the hand here – the point is protecting chidlren from HARM.

  39. ‘A secure society has community-minded citizens – not people who turn a blind eye to everything, and treat their neighbours as if they don’t exist.’

    What are you talking about Coral? Are you suggesting that posters that don’t agree with you are not ‘community mined citizen’ or ‘treat their neighbours as if they don’t exist’?

  40. togret:

    Corporal punishment (a smack) needs to be used judiciously in the home and the school (preferably by the Principal), where children spend most of their waking lives.

    In non-compulsory situations – on buses, in youth and sporting groups – other forms of discipline and exclusion are more readily available – and the time spent there by children is less.

    Donna:

    You’re jumping to nasty conclusions about other posters again.

    Ashley certainly isn’t my son or daughter.

    I meant what I said about the “society”, “community” and “neighbours”.

    I strongly disagree that all students who bash others have learned the behaviour from their own parents – but some definitely have. Unfortunately none of us has been in all of the homes to find out.

    All of my sons have received a smack in the home, along with various other forms of discipline. None has ever bashed anyone.

    I think that psychologists, social workers and policy makers should learn the difference between a disciplinary smack and a bashing.

    It would also help if the courts did not give serial rapists only a one year non-parole period, or if people who committed manslaughter (via a bashing) did not walk free.

    Adults cannot give a child a little tap for fear of being accused of a criminal offence – but they can get away with beating other adults to death.

    Talk about a double standard!

  41. And again, Coral, there needs to be legislation defending children (or anyone else) from harm caused by those who feel they have a right to mete out corporal punishment.

    Surely you must agree with that?

  42. A disciplinary smack does not fall under the heading of “harm”. It can even prevent harm from occurring.

    I support minor forms of corporal punishment in homes and schools.

    There is plenty of legislation in place in relation to various forms of assault – too bad the courts do not care to uphold it with an appropriate sentence.

    Two days ago, I caught the tail end of a talk show in which they said cases of theft would now only receive a $150 on-the-spot fine.

    Why? Because the courts are overloaded with thieves.

    Why? Mainly because of the “almost anything goes” society in which we live, where no real values are taught.

    The idea of no smack for children is part of that. That’s why we now have Adult Abuse – both verbal and physical – on the part of children.

    It’s a sad day when people don’t seem to be able to differentiate between a smack and a bashing – or between a pat on the arm and a sexual assault.

    This is why we can’t get many men into primary school teaching. Parents want to make a huge fuss about almost nothing.

    And why is that? Because most parents now have only one or two very spoilt children, and have spent very little time doing the childraising themselves.

  43. ‘A disciplinary smack does not fall under the heading of “harm”. It can even prevent harm from occurring.’

    that’s not what you’ve spruiked here. You’ve supported schools using corporal punishment

    Then you’ve attempted to link the lack of corporal punishment in schools to the unrelated issue of fines for theft … the ‘qualified’ knowledge you’ve gained from a talk show.

    This of course has led onto your favourite issue of all … sexual assault.

    This time, it’s not the product of our Indigenous communities, but of working Mothers of one or two ‘spoilt’ children.

    Now who is it that’s making a ‘huge fuss about nothing’?

  44. Donna:

    Yes, I support corporal punishment in schools and homes and it doesn’t fall under the heading of “harm”. It can actually prevent a great deal of harm from occurring.

    I understand very well the links between many things that go on in our society. I’m sorry that you don’t have the wherewithal to understand what I’m saying.

    Of course an undisciplined society would have more thieves. Discipline starts in the home and continues in the school, but it isn’t happening, is it?

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