Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Home discipline still a hot topic

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Home discipline still a hot topic

4:00AM Saturday Oct 25, 2008
By Carroll du Chateau

In a year when the morals and ethics of our political parties seem at an all-time low, voters are focused on policies sidling into our sitting rooms.

Many morally contentious issues are designated conscience votes by political parties, meaning their members do not have to vote along party lines.

The anti-smacking bill proposed by Sue Bradford of the Greens and finally cobbled together by Helen Clark and John Key started out as a conscience issue and ended up as a party vote for Labour, National and the Greens, who voted 100 per cent in favour.

Meanwhile, there was overwhelming opposition to the bill out in the community. Parents do not want the Government telling them how to parent. They say loss of discipline at home contributes to bad behaviour, out-of-control youngsters and, eventually, rising crime.

Many say the Government is sending the wrong message to the young.

“The idea that smacking should be against the law is ridiculous,” says Rodney Hide who, as leader of Act, stands for individual freedom and personal responsibility. “The fact that a small smack on the bottom should be up there with bashing kids with a pipe offends me.”

Mr Hide’s position is echoed by Richard Lewis of the Family Party (a Christian offshoot of last election’s Destiny Party) and Bob McCroskie of Family First. While Mr McCroskie’s organisation is a pressure group rather than a political party, it has signed on as a Third Party and is spending a chunk of its allocated $120,000 to push family values – and undermine this legislation.

Mr McCroskie says the law sends an underlying message that parents aren’t really in charge. “Kids are saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do!’ We need to establish parenting within the law and parents don’t feel they’ve got it.” He talks about a consistent message (feeding through legislation) that we don’t rate parents.

“We don’t recognise parenting as a career choice. The message is, ‘If you want to be a contributing member of society, get yourself a real job.”‘

He is talking about paid parental leave, 20 hours’ free childcare and all the other measures designed to make it easy for mothers to go back to work.

Mr Lewis insists the old legal defence in smacking cases “never protected anyone from child abuse. I think this bill exposes parents unfairly. There are reports of children turning up to school with innocent scrapes and bruises and being asked, ‘Did your parents do it?”‘

Sue Bradford fervently disagrees. A mother of five, she insists she is a staunch defender of the family. “It’s the ability to beat your children that undermines the family.” She also defends the Parental Notification Bill, which allows teenagers under 16 to have abortions without their parents being aware of them. “My belief is that a woman’s body is her own.” ‘

Less high-profile is the ethical issue around the refusal to pay parents and family caring for disabled children and adults, while professional carers qualify for funding. The practice was challenged in a tribunal hearing brought against the Ministry of Health by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings on grounds of discrimination against parents and families.

While all parties except Labour express concern at the unfairness of the law, only the smaller parties are prepared to change it. United Future would introduce a caregivers’ allowance; the Maori Party would ensure disabled people and whanau could access support; the Progressives favour funding “as fiscal conditions permit”.

Labour, meanwhile, is committed to steering away from the issue, instead pledging to provide $37 million on extra daycare and respite services, family caregiver support, extra funding for home-based support services plus wider criteria for the DPB so low-income couples and sole parents could receive extra support to care for sick or disabled children.

One ethical area where the larger parties are taking a risk is with gangs. Gangs are seen as an integral part of our social fabric and stopping people gathering together breaches ethical boundaries. The proliferation of P has Labour and National talking about cracking down on gangs – again putting them out of step with Christian parties who claim the Government should focus on eliminating drug dealing rather than the gangs themselves.

Another matter bothering Mr Hide is the issue of self-defence “Some things are worse than being charged: A, being a wimp and B, being dead.”

* Since the law came in

Sixteen months after the law change in May last year, eight parents have been prosecuted. One received diversion, one was discharged without conviction and six cases are yet to be resolved.

This, says John Key, supports the view that the law is being well administered by police.

A petition for a referendum on the legislation, which asked the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” gained 390,000 signatures, 310,000 of which were judged valid. To trigger a referendum, 10 per cent of registered voters (285,000) need to sign it. The referendum will be held next year.


From a link above:

National: Anti-smacking legislation to stay.

Bradford Encourages Parents to Carry On Smacking

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

In a stunning turnaround, Green MP Sue Bradford has told parents that smacking is not a criminal offence and implied that groups like Barnardos, Plunket, Every Child Counts and politicians who have said that the aim of the law was to ban parents physically punishing their children are misleading the public.

In a media release from the Green party today, Bradford says ‘smacking has never been a criminal offence, and still isn’t.’

Yet only last year, she told Newstalk ZB ‘it is already illegal to smack children but her bill removes a defence of reasonable force for the purpose of correction.’

And in the original 2003 media release from the Green party launching her amendment to section 59, it is entitled “Greens draw up their own anti-smacking bill”

“Sue Bradford is confused by her own law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, “and is misrepresenting the real effect and purpose of the anti-smacking law. She believes smacking is assault, yet more than 80% of NZ’ers continue to disagree.”

“Otherwise, we can only conclude that she is telling parents to carry on smacking and if investigated by police or CYF, parents should tell them that they don’t understand the law and to get lost. Yet parents are getting referred to CYF and the police by schools, neighbours, social workers, even their own kids, for light smacking.”

“If the politicians who designed the law are confused, where does that put parents who are simply trying to raise good kids without breaking the law,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First NZ continues to call on the politicians to change the law so that it clearly states that non-abusive smacking is not a crime (as wanted by 86% of NZ’ers according to today’s NZ Herald poll), and to then tackle the real causes of child abuse.

To comment go to:

Section 59 old and new

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Old Section 59:

Every parent of a child and…every

person in the place of the parent of

a child is justified in using force by

way of correction towards the child, if

the force used is reasonable in the


New Section 59:

Parental Control

(1) 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 disuptive behaviour; or

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

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or

in any rule of common law

justifies the use of force for the

purpose of correction.

(3) Subsection (2) prevails over

subsection (1).

(4) To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution.

Alarm over teen abuse of parents

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Alarm over teen abuse of parents

SMH | Friday, 15 August 2008

Teenage children are bashing and bullying their parents at an increasing rate in Australia, a largely hidden form of abuse that can arise from violent role models or overindulgent parenting.

Studies in NSW and Victoria show an increasing number of parents are the victims of physical and psychological violence perpetrated by their children, usually adolescent sons directing their attacks on their mothers.

A new Victorian report reveals a 23 per cent increase in domestic violence involving a person aged under 19 between 2002 and 2006. One in 10 of the state’s police family violence call-outs involves an adolescent perpetrator, and about 3500 cases happen each year.

While NSW police do not have readily available statistics, a recent study by University of Western Sydney researchers found 51 per cent of women experience some form of violence at the hands of their children. And the researchers say the figures could be even higher, because the shame and secrecy associated with child-parent violence prevents many mothers from reporting the abuse to authorities.

Jo Howard, a clinical family therapist who co-wrote the Melbourne report, said mothers often suffered years of violence before calling the police or seeking other assistance.

Many parents were confused about whether their children’s violence was normal teenage behaviour, and they minimised serious abuse as “just mucking around”.

“They would absolutely have to be at the end of their tether to call the police,” she said. “A lot of parents don’t even know they can call the police with these kinds of issues. It’s absolutely the last step.”

Ms Howard’s report documents adolescent violence in 10 families. Almost all of the sons had experienced or witnessed abuse by their fathers or other men – towards their mothers and sometimes themselves – and most also had learning and behavioural problems from an early age.

Mothers told the researchers how their sons would spit at or punch them, swear and call them names, threaten to use weapons such as knives, steal money, break objects and not allow them any privacy, even in the bathroom. They talked about always being fearful at home, and worried about how the young men would treat future girlfriends.

Ms Howard said another scenario in which adolescent violence was increasingly common was where stressed parents working long hours overindulged children and failed to set boundaries.

“Parents are trying to compensate for not being available, [they] are generally wanting to give their kids the best,” she said.

“Then the kids just start to use quite bullying tactics and slowly over time they will start to up the ante until they are smashing things and becoming quite abusive.”

In the University of Western Sydney study of more than 1000 mothers from the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith areas, 51 per cent reported some form of child violence ranging from physical abuse to more common forms such as swearing, denigrating, “silent treatment” and aggressively making demands.

Mothers were most fearful of sons aged between 13 and 18, and the younger the child when the behaviour began, the longer it continued and the more severe the violence became.

Lesley Wilkes, from the university’s school of nursing, oversaw the study, which also found that mothers who were young, single, had low education or were in casual employment were the most likely to suffer abuse from their children.

“Teenagers may swear at you once but they shouldn’t be doing it every day [and] no teenager should hit their mother,” Professor Wilkes said.

Runaway girl’s parents give CYF joint custody

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Runaway girl’s parents give CYF joint custody

By AMY MILNE – The Southland Times | Saturday, 09 August 2008

The parents of an Invercargill teenager have voluntarily signed joint custody of their daughter over to Child, Youth and Family in the hope it will prevent her from running away from home again.

Janelle Savage, 14, was found in Christchurch on Wednesday night, ending three months of anguish for her parents John and Christine Savage.

Police found Janelle, who had been missing from Invercargill since May 9, at the South City Mall in Columbo St about 6pm on Wednesday after a tip.

Police placed Janelle in the care of Child Youth and Family, and yesterday her parents signed joint custody over to the organisation in the bid to curb her habit of running away.

She was yesterday transferred from Christchurch to CYF’s Puketai Residential Centre in Dunedin.

It was a decision the Savages grappled with but believed it was the right one.

“Christine and I are finding this very tough,” Mr Savage said.

“We love our daughter a lot and are trying to do the right thing … it’s a hard decision to sign her to Social Welfare (Child Youth and Family) — joint custody — it’s hard to do that to your own kid. But I’m hoping this is going to break the cycle and she’ll know the consequences for her running away.” Police knew little of what Janelle had been doing but believed she had been staying predominantly with a former Invercargill woman.

The woman the Savages believed Janelle was staying with in Christchurch used to live next door to the family. Janelle had run off to stay with her four times now, Mr Savage said.

He said the woman was a bad influence on Janelle.

While Mr and Mrs Savage had not spoken to Janelle, they had received text messages from her saying she was “very sorry, she loves us and wants to come home”, Mr Savage said.

“It brought a bloody tear to the eye, actually.

“We love our kids. We love Janelle and we just want what’s best for her and it’s a wee bit hard when she keeps running away.” Janelle would remain at Puketai at least until Monday when a decision would be made about whether she would stay on, come home or be placed into another CYF home, Mr Savage said.


This is a terrible situation. The parents lost the heart of their daughter to their neighbour and it has wrecked their family life. If you are in a similar situation I would highly recommend listening to this tape. It is excellent:

Parents Reject Anti-Smacking Bill

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Parents Reject Anti-Smacking Bill


87% Of Parents of Young Children Reject Anti-Smacking Bill

Family First NZ says that the Littlies website poll which found that 87% of parents of young children don’t think the anti-smacking law is effective is confirmation that NZ’ers have soundly rejected the law change and its time the politicians listened and changed it.

The poll asked “One year on, do you think the anti-smacking Bill has proved to be effective?” 87% said No, and a further 7% were unsure. Only 7% said it was effective.

According to their website, Littlies Magazine is the country’s fastest growing and only monthly parenting magazine. They reach more families with children 0-5 years than any other parenting magazine in New Zealand (81,000 families).

This is the voice of kiwi parents. The opposition to the anti-smacking law is just as strong as it was when it was first pushed by the Prime Minister and Sue Bradford,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, “and follows on from other polls which have recorded similar opposition.”

A Research International poll in February found that 74% parents believed it should be legal to smack; a Family First commissioned poll in May found that 85% wanted the law changed to allow light smacking; a TVNZ website poll in June found that 85% wanted the anti-smacking law scrapped; and a NZ Herald poll in June found that 81% wanted a referendum on the smacking legislation at this year’s election.

“The anti-smacking lobby has tried to argue that NZ’ers have changed their mind on the legislation and that the 390,000 NZ’ers who signed the petition were either misled or have changed their mind. These arguments have been found wanting and smack of desperation,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“It’s time to tackle the real causes of child abuse, violence and crime without criminalising the efforts of good parents raising productive and law-abiding citizens of the future.”

“NZ can lead the world by being the first country to reverse this flawed law before its effects are fully felt by families and the community,” says Mr McCoskrie.


Police ‘Taxi Service’ for Truant Sets Dangerous Precedent

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Original article:


August 2008

Police ‘Taxi Service’ for Truant Sets Dangerous Precedent

Family First NZ says that a dangerous precedent is being set by the police by taxiing a truanting 14 year old to school every morning, and fails to deal with the underlying problems.

“The causes of truancy are predominantly a lack of parental supervision or a breakdown in the functioning of the family to the point that the parent has no control over the actions of the child,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“In this case, reported from Christchurch and under a new scheme called Rock On, the police are simply fulfilling the role of the parent and are providing a short term solution to a potentially longer term problem.”

“The problem, which is becoming more common, is that a student is being left to fend for themselves – in this case from 6.15 in the morning. Schools are already expressing concerns that children are being dropped off at schools earlier and earlier.”

30,000 students are absent without leave every week in NZ, and the truancy rate has increased 41% since 2002.

“Research is quite clear that parental supervision needs to be in place at key times of the day, including before and straight after school, to ensure that the child doesn’t become at-risk.”

“Unfortunately, the expectation on both parents to work, economic pressures on families, and the hours that parents work, means that children and teenagers are more likely to be unsupervised at key times,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Shift work can also mean that mum and dad are at home at completely separate times for their kids.”

“It is time we expected and enabled parents to fulfil their important and essential role of supervising their children rather than trying to put ‘rescue nets’ and programmes in place which simply mask the problem.”

“But this will mean a huge ‘mind-shift’ in terms of respecting the role of parents and supporting that role.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

The Repeal of Parental Authority and Turning Parents into Criminals

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The Repeal of Parental Authority and Turning Parents into Criminals

This pamphlet will first look at Section 59; then at the Bill; then at what might be called the “Unintended Consequences” of the Bill; then finally make some recommendations.

When we changed websites these brochures were lost in the change. Sorry this was not picked up until now. We have been asked to put these back on our website. This brochure was written half way through the Section 59 debate.

Ban-smacking? – read on computer

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

For Reading on your Computer:


What Does the Law Really Say?
Is Smacking the Same as Abuse?
Will Parents’ Authority Be Taken Away?
Will This Turn Parents into Criminals?
Questions….and Answers

When we changed websites these brochures were lost in the change. Sorry this was not picked up until now. We have been asked to put these back on our website. These brochures were written before Sue Bradford’s Section 59 Bill was pulled out of the Ballot.

Ban Smacking? – For printing out and giving away

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Ban smacking?

What Does the Law Really Say?
Is Smacking the Same as Abuse?
Will Parents’ Authority Be Taken Away?
Will This Turn Parents into Criminals?
Questions….and Answers

When we changed websites these brochures were lost in the change. Sorry this was not picked up until now. We have been asked to put these back on our website. These brochures were written before Sue Bradford’s Section 59 Bill was pulled out of the Ballot.