Green MP Sue Bradford’s Bill to ban smacking and parental correction has been identified as the most anti-family piece of legislation which will come before MP’s in 2007.
Family First has released its Top Five Pro-Family Policies for 2007 and at the top of the list is the rejection of Bradford’s Bill to ban smacking and reasonable correction by parents.
“To threaten to criminalise the 95%-plus of good parents who are doing a great job and who are using techniques of parenting and guidance proved beneficial throughout the generations before, is a slap in the face to NZ families,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “MP’s need to support and encourage parents, not expose them to prosecution and unnecessary interference by Social Workers.”
Also included on the list of pro-family policies is better recognition of full-time parents who sacrifice careers and income to raise their children full-time; dealing with the real issues of child abuse with tougher policies on drug and alcohol abuse which are also major contributors to domestic violence, juvenile crime, and gang activity; removal of the current Chief Censor and the toughening of censorship laws; and the strengthening of families with policies which encourage stability and best environment for children through marriage and an emphasis on the important role of fathers.
“The environment in which we raise our children sets the scene for the NZ of tomorrow. At the moment, parents are finding our society extremely counter-cultural to raising children,” says Mr McCoskrie. “These policies will start to address some of the major concerns of NZ parents.”
5 Top Pro-Family Policies for 2007
1. Rejection of Sue Bradford’s Bill to ban smacking and parental correction.
Invest in positive parenting programmes which educate and support parents e.g. Parents Inc, HIPPY, Brainwave Trust etc. Identify and target the actual causes of child abuse without penalising the huge proportion of great parents.
2. Recognition and Financial Support for Full-Time Parents
The Government continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the Childcare and Pre-school Industry yet refuses to acknowledge the huge numbers of parents who sacrifice income and career to raise their children full-time. These parents should be acknowledged, resourced, and encouraged – not told to become economic units by getting back into the workforce.
A recent Massey University study of 1300 people showed that only 2% of respondents approved of women working full-time when they had children under school age. Almost half believed that a pre-schooler suffered and family life suffered when the mother had a part-time job. Having two fulltime working parents is not in the best interests of young children. Yet, for many parents, they have no choice.
Why do we pay ‘professional care-givers’ to care for our kids yet refuse to acknowledge the most natural caregivers – the parents themselves. We must invest in immediate funding of Plunket Helpline, along with fieldwork organisations working with mums and dads, especially first time parents.
3. Tougher Policies on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
MP’s ‘dropped the ball’ in this area when they rejected the Bill to raise the Drinking Age. The Drinking Culture has been fed by the proliferation of retailers pushing the sale of alcohol (and therefore more available to teenagers), the extensive advertising afforded by the alcohol industry, and the poor role modeling by sports and media personalities. Much tougher laws on liquor licensing are urgently needed, along with major restrictions on alcohol advertising.
A clear message also needs to be sent from Parliament regarding Drugs, including Marijuana, and a ban on Party Pills. Sufficient resources must be urgently made available to crush the ‘P’ industry which is destroying lives and families.
4. Change the Censor – Toughen the Censorship Laws
We have allowed an increasing and unacceptable level of violence and sexual content into our media in the name of free speech. The Chief and Deputy Censor have been responsible for the release of brutal rape and sexually violent films all at a time in which domestic violence, demand for Women’s Refuges, and violent and sexual crime is on the increase.
There are also a huge numbers of hard core obscene DVDs that are cleared for adult (R18) home viewing ‘entertainment’ every month which are easily accessible to young people, as evidenced by the number of teenagers who have played Grant Theft Auto, despite its R18 status. Criminal activities such as rape, sexual violation of corpses, and degrading, demeaning and dehumanising treatment of women have been reduced to supposed ‘entertainment’ by these films.
We cannot continue to ‘feed’ this material into our community without seeing it manifested at some level. We need Censors and a Censorship Board who will act in the best interests of all NZ’ers and families.
5. Strengthen marriages, families, and the role of fathers
The evidence is quite clear – Marriage is good for a nation. Scientific research is unanimous on a number of conclusions regarding marriage – that marriage increases the likelihood that fathers have good relationships with their children and lowers the risk of alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.
Conversely, parental divorce or non-marriage appears to increase children’s risk of school failure, the risk of suicide, psychological distress, and most significantly, delinquent and criminal behaviour.
So many young offenders are coming from families where there is family breakdown, the absence of a father and parenting difficulties, not to mention violence and unemployment issues.
According to The Heritage Foundation, an influential US research institute, an analysis of social science literature over 30 years shows that the rise in violent crime parallels the rise in families abandoned by fathers. Too many children are growing up in NZ without their dad actively involved, and with little expectation from the State for this to change.
We need to encourage and strengthen marriage, including pre-marriage counselling and Marriage Centres used successfully in Australia. We need to hold fathers accountable to their responsibilities, both financially and in terms of involvement in raising their children.