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Old 1st April 2007, 10:47 PM   #1
Dave
Your friendly local necromancer
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Posts: 100
New Zealand Anti-Smacking Bill

I'm fence-sitting a bit on the so-called anti-smacking bill but on the whole I'm in favour of it.

According to 3 News, if you're a New Zealander there's an 80% chance you disagree with me. According to my own experience there's an equal chance you think I'm a radical neo-hippy with no idea about child-rearing and I want to control your personal life.

Here's a few of my thoughts...

If you want to smack your kids, I'm not going to judge you and neither are most people who support this bill.

If I put aside any concerns about the morality of smacking, I'm still left with the firm belief that a non-smacking approach works better. Based on my experience with two daughters who were never smacked I know that it's possible to raise well-behaved kids safely without smacking. Amongst the people I know, the best behaved kids come from families who don't smack.

"Not smacking" does not mean "not disciplining". Other methods of discipline are just as effective as smacking (more so if you believe the psychologists, and is there a good reason not to?). The idea that non-smackers don't understand the importance of discipline is a red herring and it annoys me how often it keeps coming up in the debate. I think you'll find the converse is true - non-smackers tend to be very aware of discipline issues, and tend to have much better plans for how to consistently apply discipline.

Smacking needs to be replaced with a clear plan. You can't just stop smacking and hope that firm words will do the trick. Time-out is the most common method and I've found that it works wonders. Of course it takes an effort and it's not always convenient which is one reason stressed-out parents don't like it. It's also very important to do it properly and consistently.

You need to take an interest in different ways to provide positive and negative reinforcements. It's not about whether or not you smack, it's about taking a more holistic approach to teaching kids (including discipline).

Ever notice how all those "Super-nanny" programs get such good results? How many times does their advice include smacking? Never, it's always the other way around. That's because time-out gets better results.

As far as politics go, Labour and the Greens have made a meal of this bill. Sue Bradford will never get popular support for anything she proposes, so it's a shame she had to be the front-person for the bill. Commentator Duncan Garner made a good point when he said Labour could have changed the face of the debate if they had called it the "anti-child abuse bill" rather than the "anti-smacking bill".

The real question is how the new law will be acted upon. I predict that we'll see a relatively small number of do-gooders trying to press charges against innocent smackers, but I think they will die out soon enough. Obviously police won't be interested in pursuing such cases. I think people who are crying about police invading their home and jailing them for "good parenting" are purposely over-dramatising the situation. No-one really believes that's going to happen.

Personally I don't like the idea of telling people they can't smack their kids, mainly because I don't think it's the best way to change attitudes. People get all defensive and become closed-minded to the very real benefits of alternative discipline. I would have preferred to see an advertising campaign explaining how time-out works than a law that doesn't actually help people in any practical way.

However I do support the bill, because I can see how it can help police and it's really not a big deal for everyone else. It isn't going to affect good parents who lightly smack their kids. Hopefully it will help stop child abusers from trying to defend themselves using the "reasonable force" loophole.

In 100 years this situation will be looked back on with amusement. People will wonder what it was like to be smacked by their own parents.
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Old 7th August 2007, 04:17 PM   #2
tracey
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Wink A solution to a common problem of child abuse - Time Out for Carer & Child

If in doubt about smacking for discipline then don't. I fully support the anti-smacking bill. We as a country, need to understand and accept it. I don't want to be smacked by an adult so why should a child? Smacking-an absolute last resort, if that way at all. We havn't understood it so far so why should be do it?
 
 
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