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Smacking: A front page issue

Smacking: A front page issue

Smacking is an issue that deserves attention.

Plunket’s New Zealand president, Kaye Crowther, says there is a groundswell in public opinion as more and more people realise the benefits of positive parenting and using love and guidance in shaping their children’s behaviour, rather than smacking them.

“We have seen it in our own organisation as staff and volunteers learn of the evidence and experience first hand; that positive parenting is actually far safer and the only effective long-term strategy for child discipline.

“Positive parenting methods acknowledge the fact that children of different ages and developmental stages cannot understand the world in the way that adults are able to.

“There are so many positive parenting methods that are proven to be effective when they take into account the skills and understanding of the child, says Mrs Crowther.

She gave examples of these methods as: praising and encouraging good behaviour; clearly communicating what you want the child to do; and creating child friendly environments that lessen the likelihood of issues arising.

“When parents learn the age-appropriate methods that their child responds to best, the parenting tool box grows along with the parent’s confidence and pride in their parenting skills.

“With the support of programmes and information offered by organisations like Plunket and others, it is becoming much easier for parents to learn what these methods are.

“Parents want what is best for their children and Plunket is excited to see more and more New Zealanders are realising that smacking harms children physically, emotionally, and in learning capacity and relationship skills. It achieves no long term benefit whatsoever,” says Mrs Crowther.

She says the issue of repealing Section 59, to remove the defence under law for hitting a child, has sparked much debate, and the debate has featured more emotion and misunderstanding than fact.

“Parents want what is best for their children and are coming to realise, what is best is that which nurtures and does no harm – that is positive parenting strategies rather than physical punishment,” says Mrs Crowther.


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