Smacking – beneficial or harmful?

Dr Philip Wescombe is a concerned father of three boys, a Microbiologist by trade and stood as a candidate in Dunedin South for the Kiwi Party at the 2008 general election.

With the referendum looming there has been increasing scrutiny of the wording “Should a smack as part of good parental discipline be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Many commentators have derided the “good parental discipline” component, saying they don’t believe good parents smack their children. I would challenge these commentators to come up with the scientific research to back up their opinions. As will be outlined below, there is considerable solid evidence in the scientific literature that supports the use of spanking/smacking as a useful and beneficial tool for loving parents who raise healthy, well adjusted children.