Distinguishing between correction and violence

• Dr Michael Reid is a parent, teacher, and author of the 2006 book From Innocents to Agents: children and children’s rights in New Zealand.
Otago Daily Times 13 Aug 2009

Most parents do not seek to harm their children but want the best for them, writes Michael Reid. What does that imply with respect to the “smacking” referendum? “When war comes, the first casualty is truth.” In the debate over smacking and the associated referendum, the definition of violence is the casualty. Advocates of the “yes” vote get away with using the word “violence” all the time.

They don’t distinguish between responsible parents who use a light smack from those using implements to inflict severe pain. Emotive words like “belting”, “beating” and “whacking” all blur the distinction. But the difference between parental correction and violence is critical.