To smack or not to smack…

This is a bit of a touchy topic, but I am going to go for it anyway.  Before we left New Zealand a law was made that parents are not allowed to smack their children (or use any force to discipline their children) – in spite of 80% of NZer’s being opposed to it (correct me if I am wrong!?).  The aim of making that law was to lessen child abuse, which is a good aim.  But it hasn’t done a damn thing, only made everyday ‘good’ parents feel guilty for loving their child enough to discipline.  And it made it pretty tricky for us, especially since we would give the boys a smack once in a while or ‘force’ them on the ‘naughty chair’ to sort them out (and it worked too!).  On arriving to Switzerland I wasn’t sure if this was the case here.  Was I allowed to give a quick smack on the hand in public, or pick my kid up and buckle him (using pure force) into his pushchair? – you know, to stop him from running out onto a busy road.

I didn’t actually end up checking out the law or asking anyone.  Dan and I have a way of dealing with wrong behaviour with our children, that we believe works and is right.  Every parent is different and that is for every parent to decide, not the government.  I hate it when the government imposes on what should be the parents responsibility.  I mean, if a parent is against smacking, then they can choose not to smack.  Simple!

I read this article today, and am glad to hear that the Swiss don’t just make laws for the sake of making laws.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament Tuesday voted 102 to 71 against the proposal that aimed to ban corporal punishment, after it had already been rejected by the upper house.
Opponents of the law say that the Swiss constitution already gives adequate protection to children from corporal punishment.

The less laws the better. I know that child abuse is a massive issue in NZ.  It is a much bigger problem than here in Switzerland.  Nonetheless, a very sad and horrible issue which, I agree, needs to be dealt with.   But a law is not going to change people’s attitude and hearts, and anyway, there are laws in place in NZ which make abuse illegal, that doesn’t stop the abuse happening though.

Switzerland’s government is the closest in the world to a direct democracy.  There are so many things which work well in this country and I can’t help wonder if it isn’t because of a great government system.  And people in parliament who care for their country, who are ‘real’ and realistic.  They think things through.  Other governments could learn a lot from the Swiss.  I wonder, though, if it helps that Switzerland is over 700 years old and so has had lots of practise.  NZ has a little catching up / growing up to do!

3 Responses to “To smack or not to smack…”


  1. 1 Priscilla

    Yeah thats very true, New Zealand (and Australia) are such incredibly young countries!

  2. 2 Susan

    Hi Michelle -
    My children are young adults now (22, 24 and 26) but even back in my day, it was tricky knowing when and how to discipline. Doing discipline the right way is so time-consuming, and exhausting. But the results are well worth it. I’m sure that you are following your heart and your head … God bless you and your family.

  3. 3 Kathryn

    Hey Michelle! I totally agree that it is a parents right to choose how they discipline their children and when that discipline is carried out without causing harm to the child, then it is ok. It still saddens me that the NZ government resorted to making a law against smacking which has lead to good parents being prosecuted for smacking. Child abuse in NZ is a way bigger problem and far more involved than most people realise and the anti smacking bill shows that the government failed to consider the underlying problems behind child abuse. National mentioned removing the smacking bill as part of their election campaign so hopefully now that they are elected, they will carry that out. I think there are lots of things that NZ does right compared to other countries in the world but caring for their children is not one of them. You and Dan are awesome parents so I am sure that whatever discipline you use – its the right one! xxx

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