Friday, September 21, 2007

Who wants a country where children terrorise their parents?!!!

Reports and articles on Section 59 are thinning down a bit, but will pick up as we approach the 2008 election, when, once again the issue of parental-authority hits the spotlight.  So in the meantime, we will be looking back at a selection of well-thought out articles from the archives.

This article from an insightful 16 year old from Auckland, 15 April 2007.

This is what those who want the repeal are saying, in an example from the NZ Psychological society, with arguments against them in red.

The NZ Psychological Society Supports The Repeal Of Section 59 Of The Crimes Act

"The NZ Psychological Society strongly supports removing the legislative protection for parents who use 'force by way of correction' towards a child" said spokesman Peter Coleman, the Society's Director of Social Issues. "On the basis of evidence available we consider that the use of physical force on children is ethically unjustifiable( If by ethically unjustifiable they mean wrong, there is no evidence to support this. It is wrong to abuse, not not smack, by the ethics of 80 percent or more of New Zealanders) , demonstratively ineffective (It is fairly obvious to most people that brats have soft parents that spoil them, and "nice kids" have parents who discipline bad behavior)  and counterproductive, leading to poor outcomes in the longer term. We also believe that the current legislation is contrary to the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child, to which New Zealand is a signatory", he said.(I read the pertinent section, and it does not say that). 

He said, "Whilst some might argue that there is a distinction between a 'loving' smack and one administered in anger(well, duh), it should be obvious that this adult distinction is meaningless to children(I personally have always known the distinction when disciplined by my own parents, and they have always been careful to reaffirm their love for me when disciplining) , whose welfare is our prime concern. The euphemism of 'light smacking' that is said to cause 'transitory and trifling discomfort' has been introduced into the debate through the Burrows' amendment but we suggest that the phrase "hitting and hurting" more accurately describes the intent and the behaviour of the parent and the experiences of children. So let us be honest and call it what it is, hitting and hurting children".((The intent of parents is not to hurt or for revenge, neither does hitting and hurting describe a smack, so its not honest to call it that.)

"Very often the aims of good parenting and commendable child-behaviour are both confused with the means of achieving them. Punishing a child for inappropriate behaviour may temporally suppress that behaviour but does not bring about lasting change nor does it result in learning alternative behaviours.(Since the beginning of civilisation, it has been considered a respected truth that discipline does work. Is it a good idea to so lightly dismiss the views of 100's of years of millions of peoples informed opinions? )

It is what is done at other times (e.g. when problem behaviour is not occurring) that have the greatest bearing on whether or not the inappropriate behaviour will re-occur. The evidence(Which evidence) is that pro-active teaching of appropriate ways of behaving achieves the goal most effectively and that inflicting physical (or other) punishment after the event is not" he said.(So how do you tell a two year old that can't talk not to turn the hot tap in the bath on? Do you model the behaviour and give him cold baths?, Show him at dinner time, somehow, that turning a hot tap on will burn you?)

He said, "it is unconscionable to deliberately inflict pain on any child, especially when the predictable outcomes of hitting and hurting children are it will not reduce the rate of problem behaviours or increase the rate of positive behaviours.(Hot taps hurt more then smacks)

Rather hitting and hurting is likely to teach the child to avoid detection and teach him or her that hitting and hurting is an acceptable way of solving interpersonal or compliance problems. In the long term it is also likely to result in an increased risk of children developing antisocial behaviours, adjustment problems or a mental illness. How therefore can hitting and hurting children, is as is sometimes argued, achieve the aims of strengthening the family and of protecting society," he asked.(I agree, in the context of hitting and hurting, but not of smacking)

"Do we really think that hitting and hurting children makes for a better parent and person and enhances the parent-child relationship? It is anomalous that the one remaining class of people for whom corporal punishment is still sanctioned under New Zealand law are those who, because of their age are the most likely to suffer physical and psychological harm from such punishment and are the least culpable for their misbehaviour," he said.(Actually, there are already effective laws in place to prevent child abuse in New Zealand, which appears to be the real thing talked about here)

"It is appalling," he said that, "New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child-deaths at the hands of parents and caregivers in the OECD countries. International research demonstrates that almost all of such deaths (and serious injuries) arise in the context of parents administering physical punishment.(Abuse cases, not smacks. This law won't stop people who offend , they're already law breakers. It will only criminalise those who don't abuse, but do smack)

Many of those who are incarcerated in our prisons for offences of violence have been subject to severe physical discipline and abuse as children.(again child abuse, not smacking) Repeal of Section 59 should assist changes in parenting practices that will lead to societal changes over time, and a reduction in child-deaths and injuries may become apparent after a generation or two."(Would it really, given what I said. Would the cost be worth the benefits,  if there even were any. Is it a good idea to give the government the power to remove the children of good parents as abuse victims? The power to use that ability as black mail? "Conform or we'll take the kids"!!!)


Next Elections. Please vote National...