Media Release 18 Dec 2014
Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse, especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority.
“This was a predicted outcome of the anti-smacking law and comes as no surprise to us. The authority of parents has been undermined by this law change, and children are now telling mum or dad they cannot touch them – even when the physical action is reasonable and appropriate to deal with the unacceptable or defiant behaviour of a child,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
A survey in 2011 found that almost a third of parents of younger children say that their children have threatened to report them if they were smacked. And almost one in four of parents of younger children say that they have less confidence when dealing with unacceptable behaviour from their children since the anti-smacking law was passed.
New research based on official Swedish figures has revealed a dramatic rise in cases of criminal assaults on minors in Sweden since smacking was outlawed in 1979 (one of the first countries to ban smacking), including 22 times as many cases of physical child abuse, and 24 times as many assaults by minors against minors. The ability of parents to enforce appropriate discipline continued to erode until, in 2000, only 31% of 10- to 12-year-olds thought that parents had the right to use even ‘grounding’.
Ironically, a 2007 Otago University study found that those who were merely smacked had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.
“It is no surprise to many that schools and now family homes have become more violent places as authority and discipline has been undermined,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The anti-smacking law has gone against human nature, undermined the role of parents, failed to understand the special relationship and functioning of families, and has communicated to some children that they are now in the ‘driving seat’ and parents should be ‘put in their place’.”