Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Smack to the Future

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  • Ian MacKay,

    I knew of a young teacher in Nelson who was interested in the principle of acknowledgement classrooms. She had a J3 class and droped the certificates etc. The kids were mystified and worried for a while. Then parents started muttering. She reinstated rewards. In particular she offered group rewards for being ready, tidy etc then steadily upped the value of the rewards. Steadily these kids found ways to cheat, bully, lie and sabotage in order to win. An unpleasant atmoshere evolved. It really needed a school wide approach. Anyway look up Kohn on-line and keep up the good work with parenting and teaching. Enlightenment is not easy though.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Yes Craig at:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10592610
    Note the timing AFTER the vote and that it is listed at 16th on the Herald's National News Contents. Wonder why?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    More fool you it seems.

    Since the linked story seems to be saying Key will be "warning" Police and CYPFS officialsl not to do what they're well on the record not doing anyway... Sounds like a great way to draw Baldock et. al. all the way out of the closet with their real agenda -- which is, I suspect, a lot further than many people who cast a NO vote realise. Because like others here, I don't believe "88% of New Zealanders" support punching children in the head, or 'light smacking' with riding crops and any shit in the kitchen that comes to hand.

    I can only hope Key is going to be a damn sight more aggressive than Clark in calling out Baldock et. al. and their media enablers on flat out bullshitting.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I did a quick scatter plot of turnout vs "yes" vote based on the data by electorate, and the results are intriguing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    which is, I suspect, a lot further than many people who cast a NO vote realise.

    Perhaps, but the question wasn't "Do you think Baldock should decide what happens with smacking?". If Matthew Poole is right, the NO vote is a vote for the status quo and the YES vote for an imaginary future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    Why cant people forsake their principles for the good of the children? I voted 'yes' even though I dont think smacking should be a criminal offence. Does the person counting the vote care if it was my 'honest' opinion? What was far more important was to deny Baldock & Co. their day in the sun. Wise up suckers!

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    @Tom -- I mixed the data from last year's general election into the mix, and plotted relative turnouts. The low turn out electorates are, to an electorate, the usual suspects. I was just too lazy, and photobucket was being a bitch.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ben, many of us who voted yes, I suspect, did so in part because we couldn't stomach the thought of Baldock et al having their wet dream of a reversal come true. Whilst I would be quite happy if the law removed any defence for assault on one's own child that isn't available if one assaults an adult (such as defence of self or another, or prevention of harm to the "victim"), I accept that there are some situations where most parents for many years to come will instinctively use a minor level of force: the stove top being the classic situation where batting the child's hand away is, technically, assault, but where there needs to be wriggle room in interpretation. The police will use their discretion whether or not it's statutorily mandated, as they do every day in hundreds of cases around the country. The no brigade have distorted not only the black-and-white reality of the drafting of the statute, but also the intelligence and sanity of the police by suggesting that prosecution would be the automatic result in any case brought to the attention of the authorities.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    Ben, many of us who voted yes, I suspect, did so in part because we couldn't stomach the thought of Baldock et al having their wet dream of a reversal come true.

    Yep, that too!

    Thanks Matthew

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Also, Ben, don't mistake the effect of particular votes for their actual motives. Certainly some of the no voters voted on the absolute wording of the question, with full understanding, because they grasp that the current law doesn't criminalise a smack within some semi-reasonable notion of "good parenting". Some, probably a majority, of the others, however, voted with an intent best summed up by a conversation at the next table when I was out for dinner a few weeks ago: "I'll be voting no, so that I can treat my kids how I choose." That's paraphrased, as I don't remember the exact words used, but there's no exaggeration to the sentiment - they're my kids and I'll hit them if I want to.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    "they're my kids and I'll hit them if I want to."

    To any fuckwit out there who actually believes & does this: - and *you'll* be the one picking up the tabs solus for when your kid/s turn out damaged in all kinds of ways?

    Yes?

    Or rather, no: you'll be expecting your ANZ co-citizens to do that wont you?

    The same way as a very large number of us are paying tax so you rear your children properly - I so loathe people who think 'their' kids are kind of isolated from all the rest of 'their' society. Including all of us who find 'Family First'-type organisations a plague upon humanity-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Why cant people forsake their principles for the good of the children?

    vangam: I've just had a good dinner, so am disposed to assume you're taking the piss.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    yep, they're a plague. I was kind of disappointed to read Key's response today:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2778529/Smacking-plans-considered-tomorrow

    Mr Key also told TVNZ's Q&A programme this morning that he agreed with the result. "I agree and support their view there, I think it would be totally inappropriate for a New Zealand parent to be prosecuted for lightly smacking a child.

    Which is not what the referendum asked. Based on the results, it may be totally inappropriate to prosecute good parents for lightly smacking a child but the referendum in no way implies that bad parents should not be prosecuted for lightly smacking a child. Who better to ask than the children themselves?

    It's not about the smack John it's about the parenting.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Interestingly in Chinese the word 人(ren) = people. It's a useful loan suffix.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Which is not what the referendum asked.

    Well, I'm glad you've got that figured out -- because it sure seemed to be the kind of loaded like a rhetorical AK-47 question that could mean whatever the hell you wanted it to. Which was kinda sorta my problem -- if we're going to have CIR, the question should not require the parsing skill of a Talmud scholar on speed.

    It's not about the smack John it's about the parenting.

    My preferred methodology for child discipline is raising my voice and deploying my full array of sarcasm, intimidation and hostile body language until the little shitbags either snap into line or run away in tears. Bad parenting -- perhaps. But not covered by relevant legislation.

    But I digress -- the more I think about it, the more I suspect Key has pulled off a rather neat rope-a-dope of McCoskrie, Baldock and the chaps whose (well hidden) real agenda is for riding crops and closed fists to become acceptable instruments of parental correction. If he drives these folks out of the closet, all the better.

    Meanwhile, Key's position is that the Police and CYPFS shouldn't do what there is precisely no evidence they're doing anyway.

    Finally, I've got a sidebar question. Baldock has been all over the media threatening the Government with an election-losing backlash if (I assume) Section 59 is not back in the Crimes Act by lunchtime tomorrow. Has any media outlet tested that assertion by looking at their own polling during the election campaign last year? There were literally dozens of polls where people where asked what issues really mattered to them -- and I can't recall "smacking" even registering on one of them.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I ran some very quick and unscientific comparisons of the yes vote with figures from the census for the general electorates (from Stats NZ)
    Number of families with children, and numbers of children per family make no difference, nor does number of smokers in the electorate. It would seem to be a matter of education though, as there are what look like possible correlations between the yes vote and percentage of postgraduates, and slight one with the yes vote and internet access (for both see here). In both cases, Manukau East and Manurewa are much higher than expected Yes vote electorates, suggesting that the no vote publicity mechanisms did not work so well in those communities.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I don't know if anyone's mentioned this, but *can* we settle this by doing what Larry Baldock wants us to?

    Given he thinks he can add the defence he wants by by __deleting__ clauses from the law, I'm not sure he's been following as closely as one might wish.

    /hi david

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    If you're idealistic, then so are a lot of my peers who, like me, believed that it was in the sentiment. I voted YES because I believed in the repeal of Section 59. I valued what it was trying to say to our community.

    @kiwikat

    I do feel idealistic, it's part of the reason I love my job. I'm mainly deflated this weekend, as it seems the vision/intent of the repeal of S59 has been lost in the dull roar of the 'No' vote. Much like the issue of healthcare reform in the US has been drowned out by the rants of "Nazi death panels ahoy!"

    I voted for YES, for much the same reasons you did - despite not agreeing with the wording of the question, and knowing that this was more about Larry and Family First than any interest in children.

    As Ian has said - Alfie Kohn writes well and has some very useful and powerful ideas about schooling and parenting.

    http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.html

    This little clip kind of sums up my thoughts on this idea that a smack can be useful parental correction.

    Alfie Kohn on punishment

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • andrew gunn,

    I'm forever intriqued by the "we smack but only as a last resort" position. I always want to reply: look, if you're right and smacking is effective and good and God-given, why arse around with those other child-rearing techniques - just hit the kid and no mucking about.

    For now though it is time for me to retire, having been woken up too early both mornings this weekend by the raucous crowing of the Too-Often-Spotted Baldock

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Regarding motivators, this all sounds very much like the controversy ranging in the dog world about the best training methods, with the Millan-loving "I'll stick a shock collar on my dog if I want to" lot at one end, and the "positive reinforcement" types at the other.

    According to those at the positive reinforcement end, you start off with consistent modelling of the behaviour you want and rewards for successful execution. More high-value achievement bring higher value rewards (and for dogs, it's not just food - perhaps they love frisbee or tug-of-war). Once the behaviour is pretty well embedded, you reward more and more intermittently, but you still keep your modelling and signals consistent.

    And from my own experiments, this technique works pretty well for humans too. :-) The idea is consistency, good direction when required, general low-key appreciation of what someone else is doing, and rewarding intermittently for exceptional efforts. Not exactly rocket science.

    There are a hell of a lot of people who seem to have their egos massively embedded in the "right" to hold a "misbehaving" (or confused, badly directed) dog up by the choke collar to "teach it a lesson". And a lot of smacking of muzzles when the dog chews - 5 hours ago - the slippers you left out in the lounge. Completely pointless. And not unlike the way in which certain people feel they should have the right to treat their children.

    For me, the compelling argument is if you can get the same result using positive methods, why the hell would you use physical force? Forceful methods and punishment have not been demonstrated to have better results in getting the desired behaviour compared to positive reinforcement techniques. So why go to the forceful side?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    @Craig,

    Err..no I wasnt taking the piss. I'm quite serious.

    But thanks for asking anyways.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    My preferred methodology for child discipline is raising my voice and deploying my full array of sarcasm, intimidation and hostile body language until the little shitbags either snap into line or run away in tears. Bad parenting -- perhaps. But not covered by relevant legislation.

    So not eligible to legally smack, but....
    For some reason I like to imagine you striking hostile body language poses Craig.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Err..no I wasnt taking the piss. I'm quite serious.

    Sometimes it helps to ask... Hey, I can sympathise with the desire to spite fuck Messers Baldock and McCoskrie, and the thing about a secret ballot is that your motives are nobody's business but yours.

    But given the large amount of mad, bad and dangerous to know bullshit that is done "for the children", you can forgive me if I need a slightly less shop-soiled reason to put my principles down. Especially when there are plenty of folks out there (like Focus on The Family) who are quite happy to use children and family as human shields while they try to strip gays and lesbians -- and their families -- of whatever legal protections or civil rights they have.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    For some reason I like to imagine you striking hostile body language poses Craig.

    It took years to perfect the "oh no, you didn't..." eyebrow/pursed lip/carefully inflected throat-clearing combos. Thankfully, I've established enough of a family rep as a Lovably Eccentric (But Not To Be Screwed Around) Gay Uncle that things seldom have to shift up to the next level.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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