Children recall younger, naughtier days

NZ Herald Jul 29, 2009

Children’s accounts suggest that most smacking is confined to a young age group of around 2 to 8. Eleven of the 14 Rangeview Intermediate pupils interviewed by the Herald who have been smacked say it was well before their present age of 11 or 12 – in three cases so far in the past that they can’t remember it at all. Only two have been smacked this year and one about a year ago.

A 2005 Otago University masters study by Terry Dobbs, based on focus group interviews with 80 children aged 5 to 14, also found that physical punishment declined with age from 58 per cent of children aged 5 to 7 to 42 per cent of those aged 9 to 11 and 29 per cent of those aged 12 to 14. Her study also found that support for physical punishment increased with age. Asked “Is it okay to smack or not okay to smack?” none of the 5- to 7-year-olds said it was okay, but this increased to 20 per cent of those aged 9 to 11 and 58 per cent of those aged 12 to 14.
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