Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse by their children is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s rights and the undermining of parental authority.
Counselors in the Bay of Plenty have reported that young people arguing and fighting with their parents or caregivers made up nearly one in five cases of family violence reported over the past three months.
“Combine this with other recent examples including the Nelson police reporting that young people are becoming increasingly violent or threatening towards their parents and that some parents no longer have the confidence to deal with the unacceptable behaviour, and an increase in both verbal and physical abuse towards parents highlighted by youthworkers in the Kapiti Coast, and you quickly realize we have created a major problem,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“This was a predicted outcome of the anti-smacking law and comes as no surprise to us. The authority of parents has been undermined by this law change, and children are now telling mum or dad they cannot touch them – even when the physical action is reasonable and appropriate to deal with the unacceptable or defiant behaviour of a child.”
“The experience of Gore bus driver Jim McCorkindale in being prosecuted when attempting to defend a girl being assaulted on his bus shows just how unreasonable the laws in this area have become.”
Sweden, one of the first countries to ban smacking in 1979 suffered a similar fate with assaults by kids increasing 672% in the 13 years following the ban.
“If the government wants parents to be responsible parents, they must firstly respect their authority,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The anti-smacking law has undermined the role of parents, has failed to understand the special relationship and functioning of families, and has communicated to some children that they are now in the ‘driving seat’ and parents should be put in their place.”