Adults see discipline differently

NZ Herald Jul 27, 2009

It was every parent’s nightmare. Steve Boyd, 41, was wheeling his 4-year-old daughter Reikura in a trolley at Countdown in the Manukau City suburb of Botany. “She was playing up, pulling things off the shelf and putting them in the trolley, and pulling things out of my trolley and putting them in other people’s trolleys,” Mr Boyd says. “I said, ‘Reikura, you are not going to do that again!’ “She pulled out another thing. I slapped her hand. This lady went nuts. She told me I should have given her ‘timeout’ in the supermarket. She suggested I find a corner somewhere in the supermarket!” The suggestion seemed so absurdly impractical that Mr Boyd just carried on with his shopping. But he also knew that he could be formally guilty of assaulting Reikura by slapping her hand, breaching subsection 2 of the new section 59 of the Crimes Act which states: “Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.” “I gave this lady a $2 coin to go and complain,” he says. Nothing came of it. The smack worked, and Reikura settled down. She knows what’s right and wrong. She sat back in the trolley.”

Mr Boyd is among 35.5 per cent of New Zealand parents of 4-year-olds who smack their children at least once a month, according to a DigiPoll survey in the Weekend Herald. He’s also among the 85.4 per cent of the DigiPoll sample planning to vote “No” in the referendum which starts at the end of this week asking, “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”