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Surprise, surprise,: the Psychologists back Section 59 Repeal – which now makes them even more dangerous to families.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 26, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Surprise, surprise,: the Psychologists back Section 59 Repeal – which now makes them even more dangerous to families.
Monday, 26.03.2007, 01:12pm (GMT12)

S59: NZ Psychological Society Supports Repeal

The NZ Psychological Society Supports The Repeal Of Section 59 Of The Crimes Act

“The NZ Psychological Society strongly supports removing the legislative protection for parents who use ’force by way of correction’ towards a child” said spokesman Peter Coleman, the Society’s Director of Social Issues. “On the basis of evidence available we consider that the use of physical force on children is ethically unjustifiable, demonstratively ineffective and counterproductive, leading to poor outcomes in the longer term. We also believe that the current legislation is contrary to the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child, to which New Zealand is a signatory”, he said.

He said, “Whilst some might argue that there is a distinction between a ‘loving’ smack and one administered in anger, it should be obvious that this adult distinction is meaningless to children, whose welfare is our prime concern. The euphemism of ‘light smacking’ that is said to cause ‘transitory and trifling discomfort’ has been introduced into the debate through the Burrows’ amendment but we suggest that the phrase “hitting and hurting” more accurately describes the intent and the behaviour of the parent and the experiences of children. So let us be honest and call it what it is, hitting and hurting children”.

“Very often the aims of good parenting and commendable child-behaviour are both confused with the means of achieving them. Punishing a child for inappropriate behaviour may temporally suppress that behaviour but does not bring about lasting change nor does it result in learning alternative behaviours.

It is what is done at other times (e.g. when problem behaviour is not occurring) that have the greatest bearing on whether or not the inappropriate behaviour will re-occur. The evidence is that pro-active teaching of appropriate ways of behaving achieves the goal most effectively and that inflicting physical (or other) punishment after the event is not” he said.

“Well-accepted strategies of child behaviour management include modeling the desired behaviour, coaching the child’s performance, providing guided practice, and very importantly praising the child’s unprompted performance of the desired alternative behaviour.” He said, “we do not see these positive strategies as being ‘alternatives’ to hitting and hurting because they are what parents ought to be doing anyway.”

He said, “it is unconscionable to deliberately inflict pain on any child, especially when the predictable outcomes of hitting and hurting children are it will not reduce the rate of problem behaviours or increase the rate of positive behaviours.

Rather hitting and hurting is likely to teach the child to avoid detection and teach him or her that hitting and hurting is an acceptable way of solving interpersonal or compliance problems. In the long term it is also likely to result in an increased risk of children developing antisocial behaviours, adjustment problems or a mental illness. How therefore can hitting and hurting children, is as is sometimes argued, achieve the aims of strengthening the family and of protecting society,” he asked.

“Do we really think that hitting and hurting children makes for a better parent and person and enhances the parent-child relationship? It is anomalous that the one remaining class of people for whom corporal punishment is still sanctioned under New Zealand law are those who, because of their age are the most likely to suffer physical and psychological harm from such punishment and are the least culpable for their misbehaviour,” he said.

“It is appalling,” he said that, “New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child-deaths at the hands of parents and caregivers in the OECD countries. International research demonstrates that almost all of such deaths (and serious injuries) arise in the context of parents administering physical punishment.

Many of those who are incarcerated in our prisons for offences of violence have been subject to severe physical discipline and abuse as children. Repeal of Section 59 should assist changes in parenting practices that will lead to societal changes over time, and a reduction in child-deaths and injuries may become apparent after a generation or two.”



One Response to “Surprise, surprise,: the Psychologists back Section 59 Repeal – which now makes them even more dangerous to families.”

  1. Jay said

    I have always said: Some shrinks are nuttier than their clients!
    Another case of Proof-positive.
    What would I know? I trained as a shrink here, did post-grad Stateside, Refused to work with idiots I found posing as shrinks here, & changed profession.
    Since then I have met some good ones (Few), sadly, majority are blown up with their own sense of self worth.
    I would suggest they try something else to blow themselves up with and
    save their clients/victims from ongoing or more misery.
    Some are out & out Con- persons.
    I have met some of these scum and they are out & out Dangerous.
    These ones make the Mafia look like a bunch of pussies.

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