The NZ Health Survey released today confirms that parents are not using smacking as a ‘first measure’, and the huge opposition to the anti-smacking law is not based on parents demanding the right to smack – it is based on simply the right to parent effectively and appropriately.
The government survey shows that less than a third of primary caregivers physically punished their child in the relatively small 4-week period before responding to the survey.
“Despite this being a very short ‘snapshot’ and therefore giving an inaccurate picture of the overall trend, it does confirm that parents are using a number of techniques, including smacking, to correct and train their children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The figure of 48% of parents who admitted smacking in the Family First survey released last week was based on their actions over a whole year – that’s a period 13 times larger than this survey period, so it’s obviously far more likely that a parent will have used a smack as correction over that much longer period.”
“The survey also confirms what the international studies have shown – that the most effective use of smacking is for 2 to 6 year olds as a follow-up when the child is defiant and hasn’t responded to other forms of correction. The vast majority of parents are using it appropriately,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The overwhelming opposition to the anti-smacking law has never been based on demanding the right to smack or the right to smack every time a child misbehaves. This is how the anti-smacking lobby group has attempted to paint it.”
“The continued and in fact growing opposition to the law is based on the important role of parents, and their ability to parent their own child in a way that is reasonable and effective. The opposition to the anti-smacking law would be just as great if there was a proposed law to ban ‘time-out’ because it was argued to be a form of isolation and led to separation anxiety!”
This survey confirms that parents are doing a great job and deserve the right to parent in a reasonable and effective way without being criminalised for their actions, and subject to potential investigation from CYF, police, and schools.