Excellent article Graeme. I could even be persuaded to go for five years if the change was done democratically and there was proper public consultation, a referendum and some sort of trade off like a binding referendum on conscience issues that were not in the major party's manifesto.
Graeme, it would appear that I agree with most of what you say. I think Section 59 resulted in a few rouge juries – quite possibly both ways, if by chance 2 or 3 fanatical anti-smackers were on a jury they could come up with a guilty verdict where it would have been not guilty if jury had been more balanced.
Section 59 was a sensible piece of legislation. It involved concepts like determining what reasonable force in reasonable circumstances was. If the ordinary members of the public (let us call them peasants) are not capable of determining what is reasonable force or reasonable circumstances how can they determine what is reasonable doubt. If they cannot determine what is reasonable doubt we should get rid of juries forthwith.
Section 59 will never be restored but some reasonable compromise should take its place. I have not spoken to Bob McCroskie recently but am sure he could live with a compromise like most others opposed to legislation that we believe undermines parental rights. I am not nominated to speak for anyone but think many share my view, with the exception of the ideological driven anti-smacking lobby, that a comprise supported by the general public would be a better law. The current law brings the law, the police and Parliament into disrepute
Chester Burrow’s amendment is now obsolete. I feel John Boscawen’s Bill would be a good starting point to go to a Select Committee.
I would value and appreciate your input.
Just for the sake of argument: what do you think of this definition of an allowable 'corrective smack'?
I think it is workable. Do you?
Can I suggest now that dave really is simply a troll and we might treat him as such?
Next you will be suggesting that Graeme Edgeler be treated as a troll because he does not follow the party line and label all those who oppose this legislation as pro-smackers. This label is dishonest unless you accept that all those who lobby for a woman’s right to choose as pro-abortion.
I note no one has a problem with parents who involve their children in a protest that includes breaking the law and puts their children at some physical risk.
Do you also accept that it shows very negative outcomes as a result of the kind of "discipline" dished out by Jimmy Mason and the others we've discussed on this thread?
Russell, you started this thread about Jimmy Mason so I will stick to Mason. I accept that Mason’s overall behaviour is an example of poor parenting and he could benefit from good counselling such as Parent Inc started by Ian and Mary Grant.
I was impressed what robbery had to say at 6:11pm. He apparently knew a little of Mason’s background. I only saw Mason briefly on TV but he did not come across to me as either a bad person or a bad parent. As I said his parenting on the day left a lot to be desired but that is a lot different than calling him a bad parent. Those parents who took their children on the bridge protest against police orders or instructions were also examples of bad parenting on the day. That does not automatically make them bad parents.
A good parenting course could be of benefit. If the Court orders him to a course with an ideologically driven anti smacker keen on exerting their authority it could make matters worse.
This stupid law makes it a lot more difficult to get someone like Mason to modify their behaviour to a behaviour that is acceptable to 80% of parents.
A smack within reason should be one of the tools in a parent’s tool kit. Many years ago when my children were young I smacked very occasionally. I never used an implement and I never lost control. A quick sharp smack on the legs does far less harm than a parent losing control and yelling let alone swearing at his or her children.
I know of cases where parents where one child responded to a smack and the other did not because of their personality. A law such as purposed by Chester Burrows or John Boscawen would stop verdicts by rogue juries. Most people would respect it and try to follow the guidelines like no implements. Under the present law the majority of parents see it as a law forced on them by Sue Bradford – politician and a hypocrite despised by many.
There you go, the kids were well adjusted even without being smacked as preschoolers. So why are you so obsessed with wanting to smack children, Chuck?
Steven, I am not obsessed with wanting to smack children anymore that the majority of those who oppose this bad piece of legislation that undermines parental rights.
I suspect many on this blog support abortion on demand with no consultation. I do not support that view. However, I think it disingenuous to label them as pro abortion.
If you meant why do I oppose this new legislation I will try to explain briefly.
My position is that Section 59 was not perfect anymore than the new legislation is. I do not think that John Boscawen’s proposed bill is perfect either.
Many others who oppose the new legislation also oppose Boscawen’s bill and believe we should just lobby for Section 59 to be restored as it was. I therefore think my position that Boscawen’s bill should go to a select committer is balanced.
I was aware that the study I quoted did not claim that a smack had positive benefits. I was also aware of other studies such as the one Graeme Edgeler mentioned claimed positive benefits. Even if it cannot not be proved that a light smack occasionally has positive benefits that does not justify outlawing parents using a smack on the legs to discipline a naughty and defiant child.
It is argued that the police will not prosecute light smacking. This may be true most of the time. Under Boscawen’s bill anything more than a light smack could be considered excessive and therefore illegal.
One of my main concerns is due process of law. I believe a judge or a judge and jury should decide if someone breaks a law that carries a penalty of two years imprisonment. This should not be left to the whim or ideological beliefs of an individual police officer.
Another concern is that under current legislation even a light smack on the legs is a criminal offence whether or not there is a prosecution. A parent can have a black mark against their name with the police, CYFS or the school. Teachers are telling young children that now their parents are not allowed to smack them no matter what they do. I know for fact that children are coming home telling their parents that their teacher told them they cannot smack them. It harmful to children when their parents do not work as a team when it comes to rules and discipline. It is also harmful to children when teachers and parents undermine each others authority. Teachers do not like it when parents go against schools rules regarding dress or hair colour. In my opinion this is not good parenting. It is also harmful when teachers undermine parental authority in various ways.
I obviously have no desire to smack or as the anti-smackers like to call it hit or assault any children. However, my adult children in my view are very good parents as are their partners. I would hate to see them investigated let alone prosecuted because of some busybody who viewed any form of physical discipline as assault. While I think that it is unlikely it is bound to happen to other good young parents.
Yet another good reason for opposing this law is that good parents want to bring up their children to respect the law and police. This is very hard to do when Parliament passes a law opposed by about 80% of the population.
A good law is respected by the vast majority of the public. John Boscawen’s proposed bill would not be perfect but would be respected by much more of the public and be much more effective.
I hope this addresses you question.
Below is some research that shows according to some experts that moderate physical discipline does not harm children. The solution lies in targeting parents who use excessive force and getting them to modify their behaviour. Parents like anyone are much more likely to modify their behaviour by being counselled by someone in reasonable manner not dictated to by someone in a highly confrontational manner.
Russell you suggested I read something. I had already read the article. I suggest you read the article below.
There are well over a million parents in this country who disagree with your position that a smacking a defiant toddle on the l the legs is a beating or child abuse. Many these parents would have degrees in medicine and psychology. Did you think you are more intelligent than all of them? You do not have to agree with them any more than I have to agree with everything Tapu Misa writes. However, you can show some respect for other people’s opinions. You started this thread with a vicious attack on some very good people because they viewed things differently then you.
This argument will not go away because of the aggressive nature of fanatics like you who put their left wing ideology ahead of the welfare of children.
UC Berkeley study finds no lasting harm among adolescents from moderate spanking earlier in childhood
24 August 2001
By Patricia McBroom, Media Relations
Berkeley - Occasional spanking does not damage a child's social or emotional development, according to a study of long-term consequences in the lives of more than 100 families, reported today (Friday, Aug. 24) by a University of California, Berkeley, psychologist.
The research presented by Diana Baumrind, who co-authored the study with Elizabeth Owens, both research psychologists at UC Berkeley's Institute of Human Development, calls into question a current claim that any physical punishment is harmful to a child.
The study separates out parents who use spanking frequently and severely - resulting in evidence of harm - and focuses on those families who occasionally spank their children, a practice that Baumrind calls normal for the population sampled.
By "spanking," Baumrind refers to striking the child on the buttocks, hands or legs with an open hand without inflicting physical injury and with the intention of modifying the child's behavior.
Baumrind's study also compares spanking with another kind of discipline, namely verbal punishment.
"We found no evidence for unique detrimental effects of normative physical punishment," Baumrind said in an invited address to the American Psychological Association annual meeting today in San Francisco.
"I am not an advocate of spanking," said Baumrind, "but a blanket injunction against its use is not warranted by the evidence. It is reliance on physical punishment, not whether or not it is used at all, that is associated with harm to the child."
She said that, in the absence of compelling evidence of harm, parental autonomy and family privacy should be protected.
Her study of spanking in middle-class, white families was undertaken in response to anti-spanking advocates who have claimed that physical punishment, by itself, has harmful psychological effects on children and hurts society as a whole.
These claims, Baumrind said, have not distinguished the effects of occasional mild-to-moderate spanking from more severe punishment, or taken into account such confounding factors as earlier child misbehavior and the effects of total child rearing patterns - from rejection, on one hand, to warmth and explanation, on the other.
The UC Berkeley study, however, was able to account for all of these factors and others, due to its unique data base. The data were drawn from longitudinal records of child rearing and child outcome in California East Bay families collected at the Institute of Human Development. Families in the Family Socialization and Developmental Competence Project (FSP) were first studied in 1968 when their children were preschoolers, and then in 1972-73 and 1978-80, when the children were early primary schoolers and early adolescents.
In addition to the rich archival material on parental styles and discipline, combined with independent observations and interviews with the children, Baumrind's team created a new instrument for the spanking study. Called the Parent Disciplinary Rating Scale, this instrument rated parents on their strategies for using discipline.
Few of the families, only 4 percent, never used physical punishment when their children were preschoolers, but there was a wide range in the frequency and severity of spanking throughout the whole sample, said Baumrind.
A small minority of parents, from 4 to 7 percent depending on the time period, used physical punishment often and with some intensity. Although these parents were not legally abusive, they were overly severe and used spanking impulsively. Hitting occurred frequently, but it was the intensity that really identified this group, said Baumrind.
She said intensity was rated high if the parent said he or she used a paddle or other instrument to strike the child, or hit on the face or torso, or lifted to throw or shake the child.
This group of parents, identified in the "red zone" for "stop" was removed from the sample at the first stage of analysis. With them went most of the correlations initially found between spanking and long-term harm to children, said Baumrind.
"When we removed this 'red zone' group of parents," said Baumrind, "we were left with very few small but significant correlations between normative physical punishment and later misbehavior among the children at age 8 to 9.
"Red zone parents are rejecting, exploitative and impulsive. They are parents who punish beyond the norm. You have very little to explain after you remove this small group."
She said the few links that remained were explained by the child's prior misbehavior. In other words, when researchers controlled for the tendency of the child to be uncooperative or defiant as preschoolers, all correlations between spanking and harmful effects were close to zero.
In addition to a "red zone," parents were classified into orange, yellow and green zones.
"There were no significant differences between children of parents who spanked seldom (green zone) and those who spanked moderately (yellow zone)," Baumrind said.
Families in the orange zone could have used spanking often, but with little or no intensity. Those in the "yellow zone" used physical punishment only occasionally, with little or no intensity, while those in the "green zone" used little or no physical punishment with no intensity.
The children of parents in the green zone who never spanked were not better adjusted than those, also in the green zone, who were spanked very seldomly, Baumrind said.
Studies of verbal punishment yielded similar results, in that researchers found correlations just as high, and sometimes higher, for total verbal punishment and harm to the child, as for total physical punishment and harm.
"What really matters," said Baumrind, "is the child rearing context. When parents are loving and firm and communicate well with the child (a pattern Baumrind calls authoritative) the children are exceptionally competent and well adjusted, whether or not their parents spanked them as preschoolers."
Baumrind emphasized that her study does not address at all the damaging effects of abusive physical punishment, of which she and other researchers have found ample evidence.
I suggest that instead you read Tapu Misa's brilliant column on the topic.
I don't expect that it will actually get through to you, but one can only hope
Russell, I had actually read before you pointed it out. I happen to disagree with her in that article. In the past I have exchanged polite emails with her. However, she is an adult and not just chronologically. You could maybe learn a bit from her.
For someone so opposed to violence you are quite an aggressive individual. When you were naughty or defiantly did your father use physical punishment and if so do you think he was a good father. I am sure you are not really a bad person. You just appear to have a few hang ups more than likely form you childhood.
He also seems to have made a practice of hitting his children around the head, according to his older kids.
Russell, the quote above that was highlighted is obviously I was referring to. I did not hear either of his older children state that Mason made a practice of hitting his children around the head”. Show us where they stated that in those. Proof me wrong.
What is the matter? Are you unset that when I quoted the judges comments I proved you wrong? You do not know any more than I what the jury decided regarding the alleged punch to Seth’s head as you claimed. Show that you are a man and not a child and admit you are wrong.
He also seems to have made a practice of hitting his children around the head, according to his older kids.
But remember: he's a good father. </quote>
Russell, is that an exact quote or you taking journalistic licence as usual?
When I was young I got strapped and possible sometimes with maybe not good enough reason. Nonetheless he was a very good father. I think there would be very many people feel the same as me – possibly even you.
Mason may have used excessive force even if S59 was in place. Sadly due to the law change we will never know. I repeat he MAY have used excessive force. Even if he did use excessive force that does not in my mind make him a bad father. The fact that he MAY have used excessive force does not make him a bad father.
If the likes of Bradford and other anti-smacking fanatics were genuinely concerned about the welfare of children they would have been happy with a compromise like the Chester Burrows proposed amendment. Having law that the vast majority of the parents respect is very important. If someone was convicted under the old law there would often be social sanctions. Many people will think someone convicted under the new law are themselves victim of the meddling State.
Many of the people who objected to the new law were doctors, lawyers, police and other professionals. I suspect some might have even been more intelligent than you.
You have not explained what makes you think that you know more than 80% of good parents? Do you think like Bradford that the masses are gullible and easily misled?