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Commission Comments on Smacking Booklet

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

It is a sign of how detached from reality too many government bureaucrats and others have become to put traditional common sense smacking on the front page as if it were controversial.

But then, it is controversial the way Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro misrepresents the booklet produced by Family Integrity's National Director Craig Smith.

The Dominion Post quotes the Commissioner as saying, "The idea that children are sinful and that they need to be beaten in order to be moral beings is fundamentally wrong."

The quote contains one fact, two falsehoods and one opinion.

The booklet is up front. It states that it is based on the Christian Bible, and that the Bible says all people, including children, are sinners. The Commissioner implies this is wrong. She is of course entitled to her opinion. But her opinion differs from what the Bible says.

Children, being human, are by definition moral beings already. They don't "become" such by some process, as the Commissioner implies. And the booklet never advocates beating in any way. The Commissioner knows this but has adopted a radical and extreme interpretation of smacking that is being published by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child which defines any smacking "however light" as abuse and violence.

It is surprising the Commissioner also called "completely off the wall" Family Integrity's suggestion that a discipline session might last 10 to 15 minutes. The brochure describes this time as being occupied mainly with discussion of the offense, ascertaining that it actually took place, calling witnesses if needed, opportunity to plead extenuating circumstances, cuddles, prayer and further teaching and instruction in relation to the offense. Family Integrity is concerned that discipline not only imparts wisdom and knowledge but also serves to enhance the bonding between parents and children.

The booklet is merely a Biblical apologetic of the ancient institution of corporal correction. It is so mainstream and traditional that polls in New Zealand over the years consistently show 80% support for retaining smacking as a parenting tool. The brochure may be viewed on Family Integrity's website, www.familyintegrity.org.nz.


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