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Promote positive parenting: Families Commission

Media release
11 November 2009

Promote positive parenting Families Commission says

The Families Commission says that the review published today of the section 59 law change shows that it is time for Kiwis to start concentrating on how best to promote positive parenting and safe, nurturing families.

Acting Deputy Chief Commissioner David Smyth says the Ministry of Social Development review of the impact of the section 59 tabled in Parliament is a welcome confirmation that the law change has not resulted in a rash of investigations or prosecutions of good parents who occasionally smack.

“The Commission’s own stance on this debate has always been that there are far more effective, more positive forms of discipline, and this is what should be promoted if we want the best for our children,” Mr Smyth says.

“Our research confirms that parents were getting that message even before the withdrawal of the section 59 defence. The ‘Child Discipline in Context’ research, recently published by the Commission but carried out before the law change, showed most parents were not smacking, and those that were smacking were doing so only occasionally as a last resort.

“Instead, parents were finding that positive reinforcement along with non violent methods of discipline such as time-out were far more effective.”

Mr Smyth says the Commission also welcomes the finding in the MSD review that much of the increase in reported and prosecuted family violence was due to improved police procedures, and increased public awareness and intolerance of violence.

“The Families Commission believes that raising public awareness of family violence through the section 59 law change, and Commission-supported campaigns like ‘It’s Not OK’ and ‘White Ribbon’, has helped greatly decrease community tolerance of family violence and increased the number of people prepared to take action by reporting violence and seeking help.”


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