A survey of 1,939 adults conducted for an ITV1 documentary has revealed that the huge majority of people in the UK, similar to parents in NZ, believe that smacking is an acceptable way to discipline children.
According to the report in the Telegraph (20 Sep 2006), among adults without children, 80 per cent said they would support smacking as a punishment if necessary.
Among parents, 2/3’rds said they actually smacked their children. Among parents aged 35-54 nearly three-quarters said they had done so.
Between 80 and 90 per cent were against a complete smacking ban.
“What was most significant, and what Family First has argued on behalf of families in NZ, is that people in the UK also did not consider a light smack the same as “hitting” a child,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.
According to the Telegraph report, many adults who were polled by ITV expressed concern about violence and unruly behaviour among teenagers in public and were worried that a ban on smacking would erode discipline further.
“We should be encouraging parents as they face the sometimes difficult task of raising children – not threatening and penalising them for using appropriate and effective discipline which has been used for generations to good effect,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“On behalf of the 80% of kiwis (average of NZ polls) who can tell the difference between discipline with a smack, and child abuse, we would ask Sue Bradford to withdraw her private members bill seeking to criminalise parents who choose to use a smack as a discipline technique.”