Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Anti-Smacking Studies Ignore Equal Harm From Other Actions

11 February 2014

Anti-Smacking Studies Ignore Equal Harm From Other Corrective Actions - Study

A review of studies which have been critical of smacking as a corrective tool have revealed an inherent bias and can lead to unjustified and misguided prevention programmes and policy decisions, which could ultimately harm children.

The peer-reviewed study from Oklahoma State University titled “Making Valid Causal Inferences About Corrective Actions by Parents from Longitudinal Data”, and published in the December 2013 edition of the Journal of Family Theory & Review referred to three recent studies of 12 disciplinary tactics that parents could use instead of spanking. They found that

no disciplinary tactic was ever associated with reduced child behaviour problems, and 7 of the 12 tactics predicted significantly worse behaviour problems in at least one analysis.

Other studies showed that expressing disappointment and yelling or scolding were associated with as many significantly adverse outcomes as smacking, and time-out and shaming were also significantly associated with internalising problems. Psychotherapy for children and using Ritalin for ADHD appear just as harmful as smacking when using the best research methods used in anti-smacking studies.

The study argues that selection bias taints the conclusions of most studies which criticise smacking. They say:

Parents are less likely to use corrective actions when children do well in school.. do not smell of tobacco smoke, are not at risk for precocious sex, demonstrate trustworthiness with non-deviant peers, are cooperative, and respond well to reasoning. Quite simply, parents do not need to use corrective actions when there are no problems to correct.

They say that this bias hinders discriminations between more versus less effective corrective actions and promotes a tendency to make absolute conclusions against corrective actions.

They conclude that studies which criticise smacking all failed to investigate alternative disciplinary tactics that parents could use in similar disciplinary situations.

Instead, these studies implicitly compared high spanking (smacking) frequency versus doing nothing.. Doing nothing, however, is not an acceptable option when parents are dealing with defiance or dangerous behaviour… Before spanking can be discounted as a viable disciplinary tactic, it needs to be compared with alternatives such as time-out which parents could use in similar disciplinary situations. The failure to make such comparisons has undermined the scientific basis for alternatives to recommend to parents when spanking is proscribed, thus undermining the success of spanking bans.

“It is time we targeted rotten parents who are abusing their children, rather than good parents who choose to use a smack as part of their parenting tool box when raising great kids,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Link to Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jftr.12020/abstract


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news