Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Smack to the Future

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  • mark taslov,

    as I see it the a no vote on this referendum in no way conflicts with the spirit in which the section 59 repeal is being administered.

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

  • Ian MacKay,

    Mark: Now I am more confused. Firstly my point was and is that my question above was what the repeal boiled down to. That was the reason for the Repeal of S59!
    Secondly I cannot therefore reconcile the No in the referendum to your position. I am sure that many/most of the NO votes were given on the grounds of disagreeing with the repeal - weren't they?
    If a significant number of the NO vote thought as you do, then that would totally change the implications of the total No vote.
    Therefore thankyou Mark. You have got me thinking!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    I think this particularly referendum is bullshit. Voting in it supports its
    legitimacy. Non - votes in a referendum are very important.

    Its bullshit, hitting youir kids. It's lazy parenting.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Therefore thankyou Mark. You have got me thinking!

    I noticed he does that quite a bit to people around these parts :) His view came across as best case scenario. My only concern was worst case scenario.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • sarah duckworth,

    I know there is a difference between adult relationships and that between parent and child but if the question had been "Should a smack as part of good husbandly correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" would we have been confused by it?

    Since Feb 2009 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I know. But I've never understood anyone hitting anyone. At the same time I have defended myself when I had to. I do just see smackin' children as bully behaviour and smackin' as a control mechanism as plainly wrong no matter what and which size is hitting whoever. Jus' sayin.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Plus I have also not defended myself when I was in a bit of a situation. heh, I didn't shut up though.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Andy Fraser,

    @ Ben Nicoll

    John Key implied before the referendum that he wasn't going to act on the result because the law was working and the question confusing.

    This enabled me to abstain from voting with a clear conscience as there was no way I could answer such a poorly worded question honestly, and I am happy with the status quo. Given the low turnout, I suspect a significant number of people who would come down in the yes camp did the same.

    If the PM, having diminished the importance of a vote by saying he wasn't going to change anything, changes anything, I'm going to be pissed off.

    Whats more, remember he said he wasn't going to vote. So if he changes anything you should feel even more duped, as I will.

    Invercargill • Since Jun 2009 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    I have had 4 children and when I smacked them, rarely,it was my incompetence/impatience/lack of coping rather than the "crime" of the kids. It does seem to have a short-term effect but as a means of kids developing confidence and self determination it is an abject failure. I was strapped and caned quite a lot as a kid by teachers, but was able to detach myself from the punishment. Good skill? Did it do me any harm as some say? Don't know. Maybe I just passed it on to my kids though adults now they can't remember being hit.
    Maybe the answer is a lemon!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    No Ian, the answer is 42 :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The question was not "Is smacking the only form of parental correction?". It wasn't even "Is smacking the best form of parental correction?". It was "Should it be a criminal offense ?". You don't have to be ignorant of the alternatives to disagree with this statement. You don't have to be a sadist. You don't have to even like smacking. You just have to think that this set of laws is in some way fundamentally unreasonable. It takes an extreme position, probably not held by the majority of NZers, on the level of wrongness attributed to all smacking. Most assuredly there is a lot of smacking that is wrong. But is it all? And even if it is, is it always a crime ? Crime is a pretty large stigma to put on something so commonplace as smacking.

    "Breast is best" but is it a crime to bottle-feed? It's best not to have sex with too many people without protection, but is it a crime to? It's best to exercise and eat in moderation, but is it a crime not to?

    Ultimately I have come to see this as much more of an education issue than one for the courts. So long as people know that smacking is not the only option, and can be a bad option, then they get help. But no-one is going to seek help under the current laws, because they have to admit to criminal behaviour, rather than just "incompetence".

    It's also one of the most invasive laws ever passed. It invents a whole new brand of criminality that chases people right back to their core personal and cultural beliefs. To have had this thrust upon the entire nation without even asking is actually a pretty big thing. So this week seems to say, anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Sofie. Yes the Universe but maybe it should be 9. Any number say 42 has a digital root of 4+2=6 Then 42-6= 36 so 3+6=9. You see the answer is 9 lemons!
    Or 59 is 5+9=14 and 59-14= 45 so 4+5=9 Now thats easier than a dumb referendumb.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Whats more, remember he said he wasn't going to vote. So if he changes anything you should feel even more duped, as I will.

    Really, Andy? It's rather unfortunate to have to remind people that we have voluntary suffrage in the country (and CIRs are no different) -- but whether you like it or not, John Key -- like Phil Goff who said exactly the same thing -- is a duly elected member of our legislature. Might help not to conflate two utterly unrelated issues in search of something to beat the man over the head with.

    Call me naive, but I'll actually pay both Key and Goff the courtesy of assuming their positions on the law are sincere and held in good faith until I've got a real reason to believe otherwise.

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    To have had this thrust upon the entire nation without even asking is actually a pretty big thing. So this week seems to say, anyway.

    Yep, education is good,but there will always be laws that we live under that aren't always agreeable to everyone. Hell I think one should be able to smoke pot, but I personally don't need to have a hooha about it all, and at the same time I just wish people didn't smack their kids. I also feel anyone posting on here doesn't want to take away points of view held by others, Ciao.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    time I just wish people didn't smack their kids. I also feel anyone posting on here doesn't want to take away points of view held by others, Ciao.

    You definitely got me thinking today. I've always had a pretty ambivalent attitude towards smacking but your non compromising passivism is an example to me. I'm pretty much one of those munters who'd say 'it never did me any harm', but when I think back maybe that was part of the reason I hit my younger sisters when I was a young 'un, sure I learned to control that eventually, but your version does seem eminently more enlightened, consider me a convert.

    This conversion was also duly reinforced by Ian's

    but was able to detach myself from the punishment.

    I can definitely identify with that feeling.

    Mark: Now I am more confused. Firstly my point was and is that my question above was what the repeal boiled down to. That was the reason for the Repeal of S59!
    Secondly I cannot therefore reconcile the No in the referendum to your position. I am sure that many/most of the NO votes were given on the grounds of disagreeing with the repeal - weren't they?
    If a significant number of the NO vote thought as you do, then that would totally change the implications of the total No vote.
    Therefore thankyou Mark. You have got me thinking!

    To be honest Ian, I just kind of take the referendum as it's worded, I mean I'm clear that smacking and whipping are in no way comparable and so I assumed most would see that too.

    I"m a little naive not to to see it as part of the larger battle. Maybe their motives were more sinister but what they put their name behind in the referendum still seemed pretty moderate (at least in terms of my bent earlier in the day prior to my reconsideration and conversion to a more refined passivism during that cracker of a game).

    Having said that I do feel a great deal of empathy with Ben's line today.

    Ultimately I have come to see this as much more of an education issue than one for the courts. So long as people know that smacking is not the only option, and can be a bad option, then they get help. But no-one is going to seek help under the current laws, because they have to admit to criminal behaviour, rather than just....

    as you said Ian;

    "I have had 4 children and when I smacked them, rarely,it was my incompetence/impatience/lack of coping rather than the "crime" of the kids."

    It shows compassion and awareness. Incompetence is a strong word. There's no way you're coming across as criminal Ian. I do think having this issue flung in people's faces for a number of years has done a lot of good for opening up the issue and allowing us to reconsider our attitudes.

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    The way I see it, the smacking referendum isn't so much about child discipline, as it is about the re-emerging Kleinkulturkampf in NZ.

    And there are a few common threads with the aforementioned Proposition 8, although thankfully so far there hasn't been the sort of bitterness from the "No' faction as seen in the States.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So long as people know that smacking is not the only option, and can be a bad option, then they get help.

    If only that were universally true.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I don't think it's necessarily a poorly worded question either. It does ask, quite clearly "Is smacking sometimes OK?". The results seem to indicate that is exactly what a clear majority of NZers think. This is directly in opposition to the current laws.

    Except, Ben, that it's not in opposition at all. The law allows the use of reasonable force as an immediate response to any number of things that may arise during day-to-day parenting. The one thing it doesn't allow is follow-through to the"Just you wait til your father gets home!" threat as a response to misbehaviour. The law doesn't allow cold, calculated force after the event has passed, as well it shouldn't. What the "No" campaign is seeking is a reinstatement of the right to deliver delayed violence in the event of child misbehaviour. How is that possibly constructive, loving parenting?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The way I see it, the smacking referendum isn't so much about child discipline, as it is about the re-emerging Kleinkulturkampf in NZ.

    Indeed.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    the right to deliver delayed violence in the event of child misbehaviour

    Robyn linked to an article discussing the effectiveness of smacking, which was mostly about the in effectiveness of smacking. But under what would 'best' practice smacking be?

    The effectiveness of a reinforcer is in part dictated by contiguity -- that is the temporal and spatial relationship between the stimulus (bad behaviour) and the response (the smack). Essentially, the closer in time and space the stimulus and response are, the more effective the learning. There can also be a bit of a conceptual element, so that if the negative response makes sense in relation to the stimulus it can help.

    This is all kind of theoretical. I'm not sure if does experimental reserach on this?? I do know that in terms of punishment and the cat, I can squirt her with a waterpistol, but I can't bring myself to flick her ear. And she is quite bitey, which seems to have worked as an effective learning tool for me, unfortunately.

    One last thing on behaviourism, I sometimes wonder whether a better understanding of reinforcement would help parenting. Give in to that child and buy the lollies they're tantruming over, and you've just reinforced the tantrum behaviour. Mint.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Hell I think one should be able to smoke pot, but I personally don't need to have a hooha about it all, and at the same time I just wish people didn't smack their kids.

    I wish both of those things too. If it was even the least bit likely that a pot reform referendum could get this kind of result then it should probably be held, and if it got the result, the laws should change.

    Matthew

    what kind of smacking does the law allow? How do you know this to be true? I'm not arguing with you here, just curious.

    Whilst you may be right about the intentions of the instigators of the referendum, at the end of the day, people answered the question they were asked. If that, as you suggest, is already the law, then a yes vote is taking an even more extreme position than we have currently?

    I'm not entirely sure that smacks in the heat of the moment are better than cold calculated ones. But they do seem more 'excusable'. That's part of what I don't like about them - then instead of a discipline defense it's like a provocation defense.

    I do think smacking is/was a problem in NZ. I just don't think the current laws solve more problems than they create.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Indeed.

    Aw, shit.

    Give in to that child and buy the lollies they're tantruming over, and you've just reinforced the tantrum behaviour. Mint.

    Why not just show/teach your kids that if you buy the lollies (that starving children in Africa don't get ;) it is a treat and a child gets one sweet with the sweet behaviour that you know they can do. Kids learn quickly and quick enough to realise that good behaviour is often rewarded and bad isn't. Before accusations of bribery, unfair etc, I'll just point out that they will have to learn that one goes through life dealing with many issues in the same way, and as the adult, isn't it better to show examples that aren't confusing or hypocritical for children to follow ?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I'm pretty much one of those munters who'd say 'it never did me any harm', but when I think back maybe that was part of the reason I hit my younger sisters when I was a young 'un

    Which is why we must break the cycle. In my, god knows how many years, of bringing up kids I have never resorted to violence, there was no violence in my family, my Dad and I only came to blows much later in life but that is another story.
    What any sane person would call a light smack is not and never would be a criminal offence in New Zealand, a thwack round the ear with an open palm the size of a cristmas ham, on the other hand, would be.
    As for Mr. Baldcock and his threat to John Key, well what can I say. This guy is quite prepared to beat on kids for what he thinks is right I don't think he would think twice before putting John boy over his knee and giving him the "Hiding of his life" for not doing as he was told.
    Baldcock and his, oh so rightious, band of holier than thou nutjobs need to be given a stern talking to and sent to their room without pudding.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Scott A,

    You know, I can see a way the government can appease the "no" voters and pass the buck to others, all while actually changing absolutely nothing.

    Simply add a clause to S59 that states "Nothing is this section shall make a smack as part of good parental correction a criminal offence."

    Imagine the fun and games the police and the courts will have with that! What is a smack? What is correction? And, most fascinatingly of all, what is good parenting?

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    One last thing on behaviourism, I sometimes wonder whether a better understanding of reinforcement would help parenting. Give in to that child and buy the lollies they're tantruming over, and you've just reinforced the tantrum behaviour. Mint.

    Dude, I've been hearing about the intricacies of behaviorism my whole life - my father is a child psychologist. But that still didn't prepare me for child rearing. It's a hands-on sport, much like swimming, you can't learn it from a book. There's a huge amount of subtlety in there. It takes more than just knowing about these things, you have to do lots of 'guided practicals'.

    Also, there is no denying the awesome amount of science showing that punishment does actually work in changing human behaviour. But reward does seem to be a more powerful motivator. Particularly, and strangely, intermittent reward. Hence problem gambling. Punishment is generally a rather weak motivator, it is too unguided and specific. The focus becomes avoiding the punishment, which might not lead in the direction of the desired behavior. It took about 60 thrown pillows to train my cat not to scratch the couch, but only one time of showing it where the scratching post is and then giving it some fish after it scratched the post. I trained it not to sleep on the couch by the simple expedient of putting the cat basket near to the heater.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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