April 30, 2009
After much debate and consideration of opinion and international evidence, this law was passed by both Labour and National and came into effect in May 2007.
It’s time the nation got the straight story on what the law does and doesn’t say, and how it is being used. The law is both fair and sensible.
It clearly states that parents can restrain or physically remove children from a situation to keep them or another safe from harm and to prevent them from engaging in any criminal, offensive or disruptive behaviour.
Parents can, of course, also perform the normal daily tasks that are part of good care and parenting, such as carrying a child to their room at bedtime, even if they protest; or holding them back from running onto the road; and enforcing boundaries, such as stopping them from hurting another person or an animal, shouting in a restaurant; and other disruptive behaviour. Fair and sensible.
It does not allow the use of force for the purpose of correction. Children and adults now have equal protection under the law from all forms of assault. Fair at last.
It also clearly states that the police are not expected to prosecute in cases where assaults are very minor. Police monitoring of their activity in this area shows no significant increase in complaints, investigations or prosecutions. This information is on the police website for anyone to read and parents can be reassured. Again, fair and sensible.
So, physical punishment is out, positive parenting is in. Love, warmth, guidance, encouragement, clear boundaries – these are the parenting strategies that work and that support children so they know what is expected of them, what the rules are, and at the same time they feel valued and loved.
So let’s clear up the confusion. Let’s be fair and sensible and simply get on with supporting each other to love and nurture our children.