July 2004

Strategies with Kids: Information for Parents (SKIP)

Strategies with Kids: Information for Parents (SKIP)In 2002 and 2003 both the Minister of Social Development and the Prime Minister spoke in media items and speeches about a "Public education campaign on alternatives to physical punishment".  The campaign is referred to in the Government documents, "New Zealand's Agenda for Children" and "Action Plan for Sustainable Development".  Early this year the campaign suddenly disappeared.  The positive parenting initiative launched in May 2004 as "Strategies for Kids: Information for Parents" makes no mention of alternatives to physical punishment.  EPOCH New Zealand is hopeful that the huge weight of evidence against smacking and hitting as parenting techniques will prevail.  We hope that parents will be discouraged from using physical discipline and told that physical punishment is a risk factor for poor outcomes.

EPOCH New Zealand is disappointed that New Zealand may not get a thorough public education campaign designed to change citizens' attitudes about the use of force with children.  We support Joan Durrant's view, that effective public education must have clear messages from various sources.  The Canadian Government has had the courage to make the public education messages clear ("never smack") and there has been no massive backlash.