Caregivers say smacking ineffective

NZ Herald June 04, 2008

Parents who smack their children don’t necessarily think it is an effective form of discipline, a survey has found. Less than a third of primary caregivers who physically punished a child in the four weeks before responding to the latest New Zealand Health Survey considered it to be an effective punishment. The study found physical punishment was one of the least used forms of discipline in the period, with 10 per cent of children aged from 0 to 14 years having had it in that time.
Maori and Pacific boys and 2 to 4-year-olds were the most likely to be physically punished. About 5 per cent of all primary caregivers surveyed considered physical punishment to be an effective form of discipline. The findings follow last year’s law change outlawing the use of parental force against children for purposes of correction.
Ms Bradford said the 17,000 sample size meant the study was more robust and scientific than those commissioned by lobby groups, such as Family First, which she dubbed “highly inaccurate”.
Family First Comment: the survey released today by the Ministry of Health reveals just how desparate the government is to give a positive ‘spin’ on the anti-smacking law. The report on smacking starts by saying ” Parental use of physical punishment is associated with negative developmental outcomes such as antisocial behaviour, poor intellectual development, poor parent-child relationships and mental health problems .” Not according to the NZ research we’ve read. It also highlights its own shortcomings by saying
“It is important to note that this (survey number) will undercount the use of physical punishment in the past four weeks because:
• only the actions of the primary caregiver are counted, excluding the other adults that look after the child • the primary caregiver may have forgotten
• the primary caregiver may fail to define some acts as physical punishment
• there may be social desirability bias or feelings of guilt.”
And Sue Bradford calls our research dodgy???????