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What the Swedish evidence concludes about repealing child discipline.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 14, 2007

Posted from zillion: As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

What the Swedish evidence concludes about repealing child discipline.
Wednesday, 14.03.2007, 02:48pm (GMT12)

This document shows an interesting insight in “interpreting” surveys to reach conclusions. All is not as it seems.

“…Considering a variety of factors, the fairest and most conservative comparison was to compare the Swedish child abuse rate with the average of the two USA rates. By this method, the Swedish child abuse rate was 49% higher in 1980 than the average of the 1975 and 1985 USA rates (Larzelere, 1999). These findings were surprising to me, just as the original findings were to Gelles and Edfeldt. At first, I thought it might reflect a temporary upsurge in child abuse as part of a systemic change in Sweden to disciplining children without the use of spanking.

But the best evidence on Swedish trends since then indicates sharply increasing rates of physical child abuse, at least in criminal records of assaults by relatives against children under the age of 7.

This frequency increased from 99 in 1981 to 583 in 1994, a 489% increase.

As Wittrock (1995) and I (1999) suggested, this could reflect a change in reporting mechanisms, an actual increase, or other factors. Other countries need an unbiased, objective way of deciding among these alternative explanations before emulating Swedish policies…”

“Smacking Prohibition” ?

“…Thus my major conclusion seems very appropriate: we need “more timely and rigorous evaluations of similar social experiments in the future” (Larzelere, 1999, p. 381).

The Swedish spanking ban was well-intentioned – just as a similar approach to another abuse problem led to the USA’s Prohibition Amendment.

That Prohibition did not live up to its high ideals – and the spanking prohibition may be faring no better.

Both prohibitions may lead to more dangerous ways of either drinking or spanking, thus undermining their intended beneficial effects.

We need to move beyond sole reliance on such simplistic, absolutist resolutions to these important problems…”

and the “positive” spin offs?

589% increase in child abuse cases

519% increase in assaults by minors,

An indepth review: Essential reading

“…reported that concerns about sexual abuse and youth gang violence had superseded concerns about physical child abuse by 1988…

also reported that she observed toddlers and young children often hitting their parents in her 1988 visit.

“…The most relevant statistics we have obtained from Sweden are police-record trends in physical abuse of children under 7 years of age (Wittrock, 1992, 1995).

Those records showed a 489% increase in the child abuse rate from 1981 to 1994 (see Figure 1). The same police records also indicated a 672% increase in assaults by minors against minors (under 15 in Sweden) from 1981 to 1994

“…This suggests that the anti-spanking law not only failed to achieve its goal of reducing child abuse, but that the child abuse rate increased from 21% to 149% of the equivalent USA rate, a seven-fold increase relative to the decreasing rate in the United States.

“…In conclusion, the available Swedish data indicate that we cannot reduce child abuse just by mandating that parents stop using corporal punishment. Parents also need new, effective techniques to replace corporal punishment if it is to be outlawed. It is even possible that mild corporal punishment may play an important role in preventing escalation to abuse for some parents.

The other surprise is that there has been so little empirical evaluation of the effects of Sweden’s anti-spanking law.

Perhaps it has seemed so obvious that eliminating parental spanking would reduce the child abuse rate that people have felt that no evaluation was needed. If so, this summary of available evidence should shake us out of our premature complacency.

The role of parental discipline responses in preventing aggression in parent and child is surprisingly complex (Grusec & Goodnow, 1994; Patterson, 1982; Snyder & Patterson, 1995). We need better research to understand the complexities involved in parental discipline, including its relationship to child abuse.

We need to discriminate effective from counterproductive forms of discipline responses, including the role of different forms of corporal punishment in increasing or decreasing the risk of child abuse.

We also need better evaluations of policies designed to change parental discipline, given that the effects of the Swedish anti-spanking law seem to have had exactly the opposite effect of its intention, at least in the short term.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Sue Bradford and her supporters have dismissed a huge body of work that would make her repeal of sec.59 of the crimes act a crime in itself. Why do they dismiss it? I say they are slaves to Ideology – it’s personal for them now. The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Nothing is certain. Sue is merely experimenting. Families in NZ will pay the bill, not her.

One Response to “What the Swedish evidence concludes about repealing child discipline.”

  1. Do you think BIG people should hit little people????

    Smiles and world peace,

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