Posts Tagged correction

FAQ: What does the law really let me do?

May 3, 2009

So what does the law really allow me to do as a parent?

Everything you need to do, as long as it doesn’t include using force for the purpose of correcting or punishing your child. Here’s the actual wording of the law:

Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of:

(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or

(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or

(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or

(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

Parenting can never be strictly ‘hands off’ and as you see the law is very clear parents are totally free to keep their kids safe, out of trouble and to go about normal tasks of parenting and caring for their children.

Sometimes parenting is a hands on process – you hang on to get them into their nappies or out of their coats, you remove them from tormenting the cat or their younger sibling. Imagine all the scenarios that are part of parenting a child, but take away the whacks and wallops. The whole intent of the law:
‘to make better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.’ Elsewhere on this site you’ll find background information on positive discipline as well as tips on positive parenting.

For our children’s sake, let’s be fair and sensible

April 30, 2009

A coalition of organisations committed to positive outcomes for children and families wishes to set the record straight regarding the child discipline law.

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.

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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