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ERIC Number: EJ914590
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1175-9232
To Smack or Not to Smack?
Keown, Robin
Kairaranga, v7 n2 p28-30 2006
The issue of physical punishment is a particularly controversial one at the moment as child advocates are engaged in a struggle to persuade the New Zealand government to repeal a defence in law (section 59 of the 1961 "Crimes Act") which justifies parents hitting their children provided the force used is "reasonable in the circumstances." The most persuasive argument to support anti-smacking law changes to section 59 of the "Crimes Act" (1961) is that research shows that while smacking might reduce unwanted behaviours in the immediate or short term, as a long term strategy for positive and permanent behaviour change it is simply not effective, and more importantly, it can be harmful (Gershoff, 2002; Holden, 2002). Smacking is not a good teaching technique; it merely suppresses the problem behaviour (for the purpose of avoiding pain or fear), often breeds resentment, fear or anger in the child, and does not replace the problem behaviour with an appropriate alternative. In answer to the argument that "spanking works," the author contends that what "works" is not the smack, but the displeasure and disapproval conveyed loud and clear--usually both verbally and via body language--by the person the child usually reveres most in life. She believes that teaching is the key, and role-modelling, and helping children learn strategies such as problem-solving and communication skills are far more constructive and conducive to love and respect than smacking.
New Zealand Ministry of Education. Available from: Massey University. Private Bag 11 222; Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. Tel: +64-6-351-3396; Fax: +64-6-351-3472; email:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand