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Positive Parenting Better Than Physical Discipline

Parents Find Positive Parenting More Effective Than Physical Discipline Of Children – Save The Children

Save the Children said today it was encouraged by the results of a new survey by the Littlies Lobby which shows that over 90% of parents and caregivers believe praising their children and leading by example are far more effective ways of encouraging good behaviour than physical discipline, such as smacking.

1367 parents or primary caregivers of children under five years responded to the survey – a joint initiative by Plunket and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner – in Tots to Teens magazine.

Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand John Bowis said the results were a positive indication from parents that alternative methods of disciplining children do work.

“This demonstrates that parents are using different ways of disciplining their children, outside of smacking,” he said. “76% found rewarding children for tasks well done to be effective, 75% talking to them about what is right and wrong, 63% taking time out by sending them to their room and 56% taking away privileges, compared to just 9% for smacking.”

“These results are very significant for the private member’s bill currently before parliament, as it suggests that New Zealand parents and caregivers prefer not to use physical discipline to guide their children to behave well. Save the Children encourages politicians to take note of these results and support the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961, together with a substantial education and support programme for parents.”



Save the Children New Zealand is a strong campaigner for the repeal of Section 59. In its current form, the Crimes Act contravenes Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that the government should protect children from all types of mistreatment. The New Zealand government officially adopted the Convention in 1993.

Save the Children works for:

- a world which respects and values each child

- a world which listens to children and learns

- a world where all children have hope and opportunity.

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