The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

So explain to me - why is hitting a child ok again?

Further to the great placard pic that Paul has up at The Fundy Post, I would really like to know from readers who are opposed to Sue Bradford's Bill:

Why is it ok to hit your child, when it is not ok to hit your partner or your
pet?
I am not being (intentionally) facetious, I am really baffled by the logic and would like to know your reasons. It just seems completely counter-intuitive to me.

Thanks in advance,
Span

48 comments:

Ms Klake said...

I'm brave!:-)

Because trying to explain things to children in a rational manner assumes a rationality that say a 2 year old does not have.

Because I think other forms of behaviour modification sometimes do more damage. For example parental criticism, which damaged me more than a small smack ever did (and I have the psyche diagnosis to prove it). I remember none of the smacking but ALL of the criticism.

Because a smack is a hell of a lot different to a beating. Though I don't think that in itself makes smacking ok, I just think it's hugely important to differentiate.

Because a smack, used without genuine force, is not harmful in my opinion. I'm not so sure about its effectiveness, but I do not see it as something worthy of a ban.


Because I personally think in terms of myself and my childhood experiences. Because I'm far more concerned with parents who create psychological damage via things such as criticism because I know that's what affected ME.
Because I hate people who try to make my parents sound at worst criminal, at best inept. I hate that people are saying that smacking creates all sorts of problems via physical fear, when I never feared my parents would actually physically hurt me.
I feared their criticism!

To be honest I don't think that smacking should be lauded as a great parental right, that's just stupid. But I also don't think it should essentially be criminalized, in law and in our minds, because it seems society is descending into this inability to differentiate between a smack and a beating.

jo said...

the point is though that the Repeal of this Bill doesn't criminalise those parents. Who it does effect is people who have been called into the courts on cases of violence against children in their care, and then being able to use the clause 'reasonable force' as defence and as an excuse for their violence.
Were you beaten as a child, I think that people who were, remember this and know its effects.

jo said...

and its not like we have to choose btw physical abuse or emotional/verbal abuse.
You can choose neither!

Stephanie said...

Ms Klake ...

I do understand the rationality argument, but it begs the question: do *dogs* have some amazing adult level of rationality that makes it not-OK to beat them?

Anonymous said...

What a surprise that National has the support of ultra-conservative right wing religious groups like Focus on the Family New Zealand and Family First. google these people folks - they are the Exclusive Brethren with computers. Anti-abortion, Dad as head of the family, blind obedience is neato/ questioning is evil. I can't wait for National to get bitten in the arse again by their fundamentalist backing.

Psycho Milt said...

See? You ask opponents of Bradford's bill for their views, and immediately your thread fills up with cognition-free ranters like anonymous.

I'm about commented out on this, but I've written why I'm opposed here and here. The first one has a fairly close approximation to an answer to your question, but the second one is possibly the better answer, because it explains why parents generally don't give a shit about the superior moral rectitude of the childless.

Span said...

I've read your second post PM, and will read your first too, thanks for posting links to them.

That's strange PM, I can't find anywhere that I've called those who smack their children "child-beaters" or "Christian fundamentalists" or "right-wing", as you allege those of my ilk have apparently done.

I'd also note that many people who support the Bradford Bill are in fact parents too... Organisations such as Barnardos and Plunket are full of parents. It's not true to characterise the sides in this debate as parents vs the childless. Sue Bradford is a parent, as are many of those voting for it in the House (and many of those voting against too of course).

Psycho Milt said...

I didn't write that with you in mind Span!

I'm aware there are parents who don't smack their kids. They're entitled to bring their kids up this way if they want to. For my part, I've proved not to have the patience for such time-consuming annoyance and completely agree with Ms Klake that the psychological manipulation involved is, if anything, worse than smacking. The difference between me and Bradford is that I don't delude myself that my disagreement entitles me to try and criminalise these other parents.

Anonymous said...

Psycho, why not? You seem happy to criminalise parents who have sex with their children, give them illegal (or restricted) drugs, let them drive cars, let them use guns, and a whole range of other useful and important learning experiences. What makes getting beaten special?

Craig Ranapia said...


That's strange PM, I can't find anywhere that I've called those who smack their children "child-beaters" or "Christian fundamentalists" or "right-wing", as you allege those of my ilk have apparently done.


Sorry, Span, but have you actually read anything over the last week or so? I think your question is asked in good faith, but why the hell should I bother expressing my reservations about this bill when it's just going to get drowned out by the white noise from the usual suspects?

Span said...

PM, glad to read you didn't mean me, I was trying very hard to restrain myself from hyperbole that just alienates. (And Craig, I challenge you to find the bit in my comment where I asserted that no one on my side of the debate had made the kind of comments PM lists in his post - I was just asserting that I personally didn't think I had done that, which PM has concurred with).

I am a little confused though about the end of the second part of your comment PM - are you implying that you would, if you were Undisputed Leader of The World, criminalise psychological harm to children, as opposed to criminalising physical discipline?

Technically physical discipline is already criminal, it's just that people have a defence in s59. But I am keen to debate the question of my original post here, not get too wound up in legal details.

Span said...

Anon, I think it's rather counter-productive to describe those opposed to the Bill as "beaters", or indeed people who smack their children as such.

Even though I strongly support the Bill and do think that smacking is hitting and hitting is not OK, I acknowledge that there are many who don't feel that way, including people I respect and love.

Rather than giving them a label that alienates them and puts an immediate end to sensible conversation and debate, I like to leave the door open for a reasonably pleasant, if rigorous, exchange of views. I hope you can respect that.

Psycho Milt said...

Span, my point was that I don't believe disagreement over parenting methods should be settled by trying to criminalise one side of the dispute. Bradford and Clark seem to feel it is appropriate, and are unsurprisingly generating a lot of pissed-off parents as a result.

Anon, you are the white noise Craig writes of. Try actually reading my arguments.

jo said...

Again can i say that this repeal will not crimilise parents who 'smack' though it will take away the defence for those who 'beat' their kids, the difference is that the very people who are saying that they are defending the right to smack are in actual fact defending a bill that allows parents to justifibly beat their children. This is why I keep saying this is a repeal that stops adults from beating children! arrghhh, not because all parents who 'smack' their children are child beaters. Another thing is, pyschological abuse more often goes hand in hand with other types of abuse, it would be rare for there to be physical abuse without the presence also of mental abuse. You can't box these things as if they are the choices btw one or the other, there are plenty of ways to have healthy relations with children that involve neither.

Anonymous said...

MY piece of advice for craig, ms klake and others is to stop listening to the media, stop listening to right-wing christians and stop listening to the ACT and Nat parties and actually do some research yourselves on the bill, calling it the anti-smacking bill is a mis-nomer and I blame the media especially, for trumping that one up (ratings good tv3??)

As a child I was hit on occasion and suffered from psychological abuse on occaision from one of my parents. nearly twenty years later I still have a strained relationship with that parent. To say that psychological abuse is worse than physical abuse is in my opinion just making excuses for smacking your children - both are creating an air of intimidation for the child which is not a healthy way to bring up a child.

but then this is not what the bill is about - it is about removeing the "resonable force" defense for parents in the case of child abuse ie parents getting let off criminal charges for violently assaulting children, not the occasional "loving" smack as so many opponents of this bill like to call it.

Ms Klake said...

Stephanie: It is not ok to beat dogs or children. Not once in my post did I advocate beating children. In fact I'm very concerned by the choice some people are making in their refusal to differentiate between a smack and a beating, and expressed that concern in my initial post.

I genuinely believe that when we start overlapping the behaviour of parents who smack and parents who beat their children we're losing some serious perspective, and doing nothing productive to deal with the very real issue of child abuse. Legally leveling the playing field will not somehow miraculously change the behaviour of parents who already defy the law and harm their children.

Heine said...

You miss the point anon 1,2,3 etc.. the bill WILL prevent even the most loving parent to discipline their kids. Some police have said they will investigate all claims and many lawyers have added their legal opinion that adds weight that this amendment is unecessary and will only hurt innocent parents.

Parents who thrash their children are already breaking the law... Sue and Helen etc have been weasel wording eer since this got publicity saying it isn't technically banning smacking but if that was the casem, why have it in the first place?

Craig Ranapia said...

MY piece of advice for craig, ms klake and others is to stop listening to the media, stop listening to right-wing christians and stop listening to the ACT and Nat parties and actually do some research yourselves on the bill...

My piece of advice for 'Anonymous', quite frankly, is to drop the shrill self-righteousness that's infected both sides of this debate. As a rule of thumb, I tend to assume people who disagree with me have applied some micro-seconds of thought to the issue at hand, are making their arguments in good faith, and aren't stupid or evil because they don't think like me.

The late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel wrote about those who turned politics into a secular religion with a full pantheon of saints, demons, heretics and dogma that must not be questioned.

I'll leave readers to ask themselves if the whole S. 59 debate hasn't sunk to that level.

BTW, Anonymous, nice to see you've raised 'psychological' abuse by a parent. Myself I don't see why a pretty nasty - if undeniably effective - form of parental bullying known as the 'time out'/'naughty step' etc. is A-OK. Why is it OK for a parent to bully a child at home, but it's totally out of a line when another child does the same thing in the playground?

Anonymous said...

another thread hijacked by rightwing nut cases, most of which are ignorant and hysterical, some of which do know better but are happy to lie about the arguments to further their cause at the expense of abused children. hooray for National.

Craig Ranapia said...

Anonymous:

*yawn" Yet again, another thread hijacked by gutless cowards who are happy to dish out the abuse while hiding behind anonymity.

See my point, Span?

Ms Klake said...

Anon: How about presenting a sane rebuttal of that which you disagree with? As opposed to just rambling about 'right wing nutcases'?

How about actually saying something about the topic?

Just a thought.

Mausie said...

How about ignoring the troll, who, perhaps despite good intentions, is derailing this thread?

Back to the original question Span posed. The fact is, you are allowed to physically discipline a dog, especially a puppy, through the use of, for instance, a choke chain. At least, if you're not, I'm unaware of anyone being prosecuted for it. I think we can all recognise that using a choke chain, while not exactly the friendliest of techniques, can be necessary for the safety of puppies who are overenthusiastic about walkies. And we can probably agree on that while agreeing that disciplining a dog should be no defence for hitting it in anger, causing lasting physical or psychological damage, or any other kind of mistreatment. Unfortunately, I'm not a pet lawyer, so I don't know if a similar defence to section 59 exists for puppies, but if it does, it shouldn't.

And the 'partner' option is just misleading. No one sane is arguing for the legal right to hit children except in the context of discipline. I can't think of a reason anyone would need to discipline an adult in a way that wasn't clearly abusive. The 'I'm gonna teach you a lesson' line probably doesn't cut it when it comes to a full-rights bearing adult whose well-being you're not legally obligated to maintain. If one can be thrown in prison for neglecting a child, or for placing one in danger, then one clearly has responsibilities to that child that one doesn't have towards ones spouse. So it's a bad analogy.

What we're left with is the puppy and the child. And, I think, it is within society's moral and legal norms to use minor acts of physical discipline on both, but not really major ones.

The obvious objection is that one only uses the choke chain to stop the puppy running onto the road, or to get it away from a bigger dog i.e. for immediate acts of discipline, whereas people can and do smack their children after the fact, by way of punishment. The response, I guess, is that puppies don't have the same sense of causality that humans have the capacity for -- puppies learn through the development of habit, and as far as pet owners know, they don't have the capacity to put 2 + 2 together. Children do, and so it's reasonable to think that smacking might be an effective tool, even if it's not used as an instantaneous measure.

Span, I don't know if this offers any support for either side of the debate, but I hope it goes towards answering your question.

Also, I returned to the dog of the original placard, rather than the more general 'pet' because I can't imagine in what circumstances anyone would want to smack a cat, budgie, goldfish etc. But would pushing a cat off of a bench constitute abuse?

Disclaimer: I don't have kids, and I don't think I would smack them if I did, except maybe to stop them putting their hand on an element or something.

Mausie said...

Double post: Sorry for the egregious typos etc.

Anonymous said...

Hi craig

Personally I see a huge difference between the use of time out and something like the "naughty step". My partner and I use time out on our children at times we use it to give both ourselves and our child(ren) a chance to sort our heads out and give each other some chill out time ie. we don't use it as a form of punishment as the child goes somewhere they feel safe is. their bedroom - not somewhere just used for punishment like the naughty step.

Also I really don't think asking people to do their own research rather than relying on "experts" is in any way "shrill self-righteousness" as you put it but rather relying less on people or groups with their own agenda.

Anonymous said...

I think this whole debate could become a lot less juvenile if people separated those who don't wish to ban a light smack from fundamentalists and full on child beaters. Arguing about particular groups is counter-productive. If someone I dislike or whose general mindset I disagree with agrees with me on a particular point of policy I'll stand next to them on that particular issue.

As for when it's okay to smack a child (causing trifling and transitory discomfort) I was brouht up in a world where smacks existed only for certain red-letter offences: things around the fierplace, the oven, the road etc. Basically on specific safety issues where a quick light smack was much less hurt than I could have caused myself or others. I intend to have a similar regime withmy own hildren when they come along.

Oliver said...

That last comment was made anonymous by accident. It belongs to me.

Anonymous said...

Who would not want to be anonymous when standing up to the smackers gets you death threats or threats against your kids.

Stephen said...

I dont think I have ever spanked my children (may be a light tap on the backside)however I have threatened to do so, up to the age say of about 7 or 8, that threat has been enough to get them to do or behave in the manner I want them to.

There is also a big diference between hitting someone and a light slap on the backside with an open hand. You would have see things as either 'black or white" to say that hitting someone is thae same as a smack on the bottom. In reality there is a lot of grey in between any absolute.

From my experience most children get a hell of a shock when mum or dad tells them that they will get a smack if they dont stop misbehaving this is usually sufficient (in my experience) to get them back on track.

Under Sue Bradfords bill a light smack will become assult and therefore a criminal offense. The Police have to investigate a complaint of assualt; espically assult on a child. Should the police not press charges they will almost certainly have to report it to CYFS. This whole experience for anyone involved will be stressfull expensive and counterproductive.

It is not good law to criminalise people and then let the police or the courts to decide weather or not the offence is serious enough to warrent any further action.

Why is it ok to "smack" a child and not an adult? I am responsible for how my child behaves, in public and at home.

I am not responsible for another adults behaviour other than my own.

As an example of what would be considered "assult" under Sue Bradfords bill, Last weekend, after several hours of nagging, I dragged my smelly, bad temperd teenage daughter out of bed and into the bath room and told her if she didnt wash I would take her out into the back yard and hose her down (which is also assult) with cold water.

The law needs to be able to take into account what often happens in families. The last thing a parent (stressed, sleep deprived from nursing sick children, financially streached,etc, etc, etc) needs to worry about is being convicted of assult because they smacked little Johnny in the supermarket for trying to steal a bag of lollies.

Anonymous said...

yawn yawn, seen that one pasted all over the place.

1. smacking has always been potentially an assault.
2. police decide if a complaint is serious enough to press charges. this has always been the way it works. it won't change with this bill.
3. the bill just removes a legal defence (s59) for those who have found themselves in court defending themselves against charges the police considered worth answering.

suggesting ordinary parents will be affected, let alone arrested, for smacking their kid, is a red herring put around by the bill's opponents.

Stephen said...

Anon. Then what is the point of Sue Bradfords bill. If the Jury believes the defendants version of the events, then the police or prosecution has not had a strong enough case. The in ability to get a sucessful prosecution is not a good enough reason to change the law.

The law as it will be written, should Sue Bradfords bill go through, does mean even a light smack on the bottom WILL be assult. Any complaint to police of assult on a child MUST be investigated by the police. If they find that the smack on the backside did in fact take place THEY WILL BE OBLIGED TO TAKE THE CASE TO COURT.

If the purpose of this bill is to obtain a better rate of prosecution of parente who do beat their children then why not allow Chester Borrows amedment to go through, this admendment will make the distinction between a light smack on the bum and betting wacked with say a belt. As I said earlier it is bad law to criminalise trivial actions and then leave it up to the discreation of the police and the courts as to how far or how seriously the offence will be taken.

Stephen said...

My apologies for any typos etc...have bad cold...going to take some drugs and then back to bed.

Gerrit said...

Anon says "suggesting ordinary parents will be affected, let alone arrested, for smacking their kid, is a red herring put around by the bill's opponents."

Not so Anon, the problem I have with this type of bill which theoretically wont be used against "ordinary" citizens is that some time in the future it may.

Like the proceeds off crime bill, we are told it is only aimed at gangs and theoretically wont be used against "ordinary" citizens. (Proceeds off Crime Bill allows for forfeiture of property even though you may have been found not guilty in a court of law of committing a crime in which said property was utilised or gained).

Until somebody has a snitch against you that is.

Good laws should be drafted so that it is total clear what the intend is. Letting Police have discretionary powers on this or any other bill is not what good law is.

The polices job is to enforce the law as it is writtern, The interpreatation is up to the judiciary.

That is my gripe with this bill. Sort out the legalise and you may actually get agreement on how to stop assaults on minors by their caregivers.

Craig Ranapia said...

My partner and I use time out on our children at times we use it to give both ourselves and our child(ren) a chance to sort our heads out and give each other some chill out time ie. we don't use it as a form of punishment as the child goes somewhere they feel safe is. their bedroom - not somewhere just used for punishment like the naughty step.

Well, whatever works for you - personally, I just walk out of the room because it seems really counter-productive to reward attention-seeking with attention, unless that behaviour is posing a clear threat to the physical safety of the offender or others. Easier said than done, I know, but I don't think it's any more acceptable for me to verbally bully or shun a minor than it is to smack 'em over.

But boy, it does work.

And as I said, I find it rather ironic that ostracism is considered an acceptable method of parental discipline at the same time it's increasingly regarded as bullying and psychological abuse in the schoolyard. Then again, who said life wasn't full of little ironies?

jo said...

Your right there, bullying isn't A-ok Craig, though comparing time-out to ostracism, more than a little OTT. Kids just like everyone need boundaries, it actually makes them happier and more secure in the short and long term. As long as the boundaries are transparent and understood. And as for walking out of the room when big brother is being a pain-in-the-arse (i.e a bully) to little brother even when he's been asked several times to give him a break, doesn't work, thats called ignoring a problem and sometimes you shouldn't ignore things.
A little time to reflect is not going to end the chappies life and perhaps if he doesn't like being (as you call it) ostracised, he might learn to pull his head in next time when asked nicely. Worse things could happen at sea.

Aj said...

Mausie

I hope you never smack a child after she/he has put a hand on a hot element.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Stephen said: "Last weekend, after several hours of nagging, I dragged my smelly, bad temperd teenage daughter out of bed..."

Stephen, genuine questions about this, if I may. By the way, this is a new "anon" to the thread.

Given that your statement was brief, and there's context I don't have, I might seem to be being harsh on you. I'm bouncing off the example to make points that may or may not apply to you and your daughter; if your example is in fact from your real life. Enough preamble.

How long had this young woman been abed to be considered "smelly" by you? What else might be going on with her? Tough time at school, work, with friends, other people in her life? Is she just that exhausted and needing time to rest and/or think, or possibly depressed?

There's lots going on in teen's bodies - serotonin and other hormonal fluctuations that can mess with their energy levels and body clocks, for example.

Did you drag her out of bed because she was, to your mind, simply being slothful, without wondering why she'd stayed there? Had plans been made that she perhaps wasn't happy and had kind of gone on strike about, because you'd made it clear that her thoughts and feelings on the matter were of no account to you?

That, the example you gave, seems to me an example of very poor parenting. Like all that mattered to you was that she be up looking and smelling sweet and shiny, giving the impression that all is right in her world, maybe because of how that reflects on you. I didn't get even half a sense that this young woman was a whole, human person to you - only a smelly, lazy problem. Maybe, at the extreme outside, she'd been assaulted or even raped recently.

Note to anyone to whom it might apply: Please consider becoming a kinder more thoughtful parent.

Mausie said...

AJ,

Sorry, I meant in order to stop them as they were about to put their hand on a hot element. As in, 'holy shit, that kid is about to put their hand on a hot element, I'm going to have to use some kind of force to stop them, because just telling them not to might not work'. And I guess I meant it in the context of slapping their hand away, not a premeditated punishment. Y'know, the 'preventing immediate harm to self' clause that has been added to the bill.

I thought the analogy with the puppy running on the road would have made that clear, but on rereading I could see how you might get the other impression. And yes, the thought of punishing a kid who has just burned their hand is pretty up there in the 'repulsive parenting techniques'.

Aj said...

mausie,

I think didn't quite read yours right the 1st time. Sorry.

Yet another anonymous said...

I commented to a colleague this week that it was interesting to see how opinion was split, that even within groups you’d expect to be unanimous on an issue like this, there are quite strong advocates for both sides. Ironically, his response confirmed my observation: we are both educated people working in a scientific field yet we disagreed sharply.

He told me of an incident at a restaurant where the parents of a young child were trying to get their child to eat his vegetables, using every tactic in the book bar smacking. He said he found the scene hugely frustrating and argued that one quick smack would have been effective. I was aghast that he thought eating vegetables was a disciplinary issue, that compliance was the ultimate goal, and that coercion to eat was appropriate parental behaviour in the 21st century. To me, using physical punishment to make children to eat what they don’t like is at the moderate end of the same kind of irrational thinking that led to James Whakaruru’s death (he was beaten for failing to control his bodily functions). As Jamie Oliver observed on a visit to Italy, cultures that celebrate food and children do not have a problem with getting children to eat the “right” foods. I think my colleague's reaction reflected our rather punitive culture.

In my view, we parents are responsible for the care and protection of our children; we are their temporary guardians, not their owners, and they are not our slaves; we do not have the right to breach their physical, mental, emotional or sexual integrity. Whatever happens to the Bradford Bill, we urgently need a national conversation about how to raise healthy, well-nourished, happy, responsible, thoughtful children who are not afraid to express their tastes, preferences and opinions. Compliant children may be convenient for parents in the short term; compliant adults may be a danger to democracy.

Finally, to those who say people without children have nothing useful to say on the topic, does that also apply to Catholic priests and nuns?

Psycho Milt said...

Er, yes. They can fuck off with their marital and sex advice too.

jo said...

I think people without children are just as able or deserving as to have an opinion on this, 'they' were children once too ya know, and yes conpliant adults are a danger to democracy, its amazing how much false information about this bill amendment has been so easily absorbed. Reminds me of a certain fascist dictator who brainwashed his country into holocaust mode. Also, with tears in my eyes, was witness to some horrible behaviour by a parent in a shop the other day who, I suppose, feels justified, knowing most of the country supports hurting ones children now, in being both shamelessly verbally and physically abusive to her young child. What message are the anti-anti smackers giving child abusers who haven't got boundaries on their behaviour towards their children..."We support you."

Anonymous said...

that's ridiculous. of course you have to have children to be able to have a valid opinion on s59.

just like you have to take drugs to have a valid opinion on drug legislation, have to kill to comment on murder, and have to be a member of the National party to comment with authority on the Hollow Men.

Psycho Milt said...

It took 41 comments for Godwin's Law to take effect, so I guess we really should be grateful.

Sigh - of course you don't have to be a parent to have an opinion on this. Just don't expect actual parents to take your opinions on their parenting abilities very seriously, that's all. It's really very kind of idealist yoofs to try and help by enlightening us with stunning new information like the fact that our children aren't our property or some kind of slaves, but for some strange reason I find it difficult to accept such well-meaning advice in the spirit it was offered. Hence the message of the post I linked to: "Just Fuck Off."

yet another anonymous said...

PM, I'm a lot older than you, sweetie, and have two well-adjusted high-achieving adult children as evidence of my "idealistic" methods of childraising, most of which I got from books on child development when I worked in a university library :)

Speaking of unpleasant experiences in shops mentioned by jo...

In the late 1970s, I was talking to my baby as I pushed the pram into a shop in Porirua, where we were renting while waiting to buy a house. Two young Maori girls, about 14 years old, scowled at me and one of them snarled at my child “spoiled brat!” I was shocked that anyone could be angered by kindness towards children. It reminded me that not a lot had changed since I and my contemporaries had heard our parents threaten to "thrash you within an inch of your life".

Jane and James Ritchie’s study of childrearing practices in the early 1960s noted that New Zealand families relied heavily on physical punishment as a form of discipline, and that Pakeha mothers were more likely to resort to it than Maori mothers. They found that Maori were generally more indulgent towards children than Pakeha.

My anecdotal experience above suggests this may have reversed by the 1970s, possibly as a result of urbanisation and the loss of intergenerational support, but also because of greater exposure to the dominant punitive kiwi culture. But an anecdote isn’t evidence and my suggestion is speculative. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of support for physical punishment by ethnicity, age, sex and education.

yet another anonymous said...

My speculation above that Pakeha and Maori attitudes to physical discipline may have reversed since the 1960s is not borne out by more recent research. According to the 2001 survey on public attitudes towards the physical discipline of children, NZ European/Other respondents were more likely to think that parents should be legally allowed to physically discipline a naughty child (82%) than Maori (73%) or Pacific peoples (69%).

NZ European/Others (25%) were twice as likely as Maori (12%) or Pacific peoples (13%) to think it acceptable to physically discipline children under two years.

http://www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/children-2.pdf

Span said...

I have to say PM that was one of the gentlest invocations of Godwin's Law I've seen.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for generally keeping the tone good and respectful, I am really grateful to you given how heated and nasty some threads have become elsewhere.

My perception of the anti-anti smackers is that they are by no means exclusively childless or indeed young. More on that in another post though.

As to my original question, the one point above that has caused me pause is the argument about choker chains used on dogs. It's a fair point that they are legal, although personally I never managed to use them on my dog I just felt too bad and she made the most horrible noises that were very distressing for all involved.

It does seem though that choker chains are the exception rather than the rule, in terms of our treatment of pets and adults (and indeed children who are not our own). Doesn't dismiss it totally as an argument, but I suggest it does diminish it?

I'm also dismayed by the argument made by at least one poster (not you PM) that if s59 is repealed parents will not be able to discipline their children at all. Surely discipline is a broad group of tools of which smacking is but a subset?

Span said...

Interesting points about different cultural values around physical discipline - I think the stereotype (probably not helped by
Bro'town) is that the browner the skin the more likely you are to beat your children. Whereas smacking is of course exclusively a white middle class phenomenum. Both presumptions are equally wrong I suspect.

Section 59 survivor said...

I want to take up the first comment on this page, made by Ms Klake.

Yes it is the parental criticism, which damaged me too; along with the legal painful hits I received as a child (and I also have the psyche diagnosis to prove it). My self-injury story can be found under "Last minute 'compromise' on S59" in the archives - from yesterday.

This new law (with the amendment) will still make a small smack, which Ms Klake describes, legal under the new law.