Loving Smack

Should a smack as part of venting parental anger be a criminal offence?

Should a smack as part of repeating habits passed down through the generations be a criminal offence?

Should a smack generating resentment be a criminal offence?

Should a smack as part of an instinctive (and lazy?) response to an undesirable or embarassing situation be a criminal offence?

Should a smack that you immediately regret be a criminal offence?

Should a smack as part of teaching children to not get caught next time be a criminal offence?

Should a smack as a genuine display of affection be a criminal offence? (what does that look like, I wonder?)

Should locking a child in a cupboard as part of good parenting be a criminal offence?

Should a hypocritical smack (‘How many times have I told you not to hit your brother? ‘) be a criminal offence?

Should a hypothetical smack (i.e. one that’s never given, because you don’t have kids) be a criminal offence?

Should a smack be a criminal offence?

That’s the question, isn’t it?

6 thoughts on “Loving Smack”

  1. I’m choosing not to vote. I can’t vote yes, as I personally don’t think that smacking a child is correct so I can’t agree that it is “good”. At the same time, I can’t vote no, as I don’t necessarily agree that it should be a criminal offense, it just isn’t my personal choice for how to parent.

    Ultimately, I believe it is all a huge waste of time and energy, not to mention the public money to run a non-binding referendum. Imagine if the same public response and media coverage could be devoted to an issue that really matters.

      1. Good on you for blaming the question, because it certainly is the question’s fault. It breaks at least two tenants of good question design:
        – Avoid leading the respondent (‘good parental correction’)
        – Don’t mix two questions in one (‘is smacking good correction’ vs ‘should smacking be an offence’)

        Given the reasoning in your post, it was probably the second issue that caused your confusion, and you certainly won’t be the only one caught by this. Many others will also be led to answer ‘no’ because of the blatantly leading use of the phrase ‘good parental correction’ (why should anything ‘good’ be illegal?). Some will throw their hands in the air and decide not to vote at all. All of this plays very nicely into the hands of the lobby group behind the question.

        This isn’t the first time a poorly worded question has been put to the public. Whatever the outcome of the vote this time around, we should all be writing to our MPs demanding that they reform the referendum laws to avoid questions with clear wording faults getting through to this stage. No question will be perfectly unbiased, but it doesn’t mean we can’t make attempts to ensure they are clear, simple, and confusing to very few people.

  2. It wasn’t that long ago in NZ when:

    1. The police looked the other way in cases of domestic violence because it was believed to be a ‘private matter’
    2. teachers could use corporal punishment.

    We now look at both those things as disgraceful.

    One minute we are calling for the reduction of child abuse to become top priority, the next we get angry when we are called to take the first step in stopping the violence, by saying ANY form of violence to kids is unacceptable. I believe in 50 years the next generation will look back and be horrified that we fought to ensure it was legal for us to hit our children.

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