TITLE

A PLACE WHERE IT IS NOT OKAY TO HIT CHILDREN: THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONALS

AUTHOR(S)
Lawrence, Julie; Smith, Anne
PUB. DATE
July 2008
SOURCE
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jul2008, Issue 34, p113
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
As a result of recent legislation that removes from the Crimes Act the statutory defence of "reasonable force" to correct a child, professionals have an increasingly important role in supporting parents to use effective and positive discipline. This study focused on how professionals approach the tasks of communicating, guiding and advising families with young children about disciplinary practices. The researchers convened 10 focus groups of people working in family support, child health, early childhood teaching and social work roles, in Northland, Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. This paper describes how the participants work with and advise families about child discipline, how well prepared they are to fulfil this role, and how they understand the legal issues relating to family discipline. Parents did seek advice on discipline from professionals and acknowledged using corporal punishment. Most professionals disagreed with the use of physical discipline, but some expressed caution about telling parents directly that they thought smacking was harmful. Few of the professionals discussed the debate (current at the time of the research) regarding the proposed repeal of Section 59 with parents, and many did not understand it themselves. They believed that parents would need more support if the law changed. Only a minority had received training on the issue of child discipline. The findings suggest that those working with families with young children are in need of more resources and professional development to deal with this matter.
ACCESSION #
41873652

 

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