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Smith: Research proves odd, mild smack ok

Wednesday, 2 June, 2004

Smith: Research proves odd, mild smack ok

The persistence of anti-smacking proponents in trying to get Section 59 of the Crimes Act repealed is not backed by research showing that there is no evidence a mild smack does any harm to a child, United Future's Murray Smith said today.

"And yes, smacking is not effective long term as a disciplinary measure, but it is effective in bringing about an immediate correction," Mr Smith, who recently brought a Member's Bill before Parliament detailing the difference between responsible parental physical discipline and abuse, said.

"Such a finding is consistent with the beliefs of most New Zealand parents and demonstrates what United Future has been saying for a long time - that there is a world of difference between the occasional use of a smack by a loving and caring parent who wants to protect and train their child, and physical violence born of anger and frustration.

"Having raised five children myself, I know that a quick smack is a useful tool to have in the parental tool kit, particularly for young children who simply want to be defiant and, in effect, want to know 'Who's in charge around here'.

"That said it is the tool of last resort and always should be," he said.

"One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that children need clear and consistent boundaries and while such boundaries can and should be set by discussion, education and agreement whenever possible, sometimes, especially where a child is too young to have an intelligent discussion or where it is an issue of straight disobedience of authority, punitive measures are necessary and passive ones don't always work."


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