Sunday, 13 July 2008

New Zealand's shame

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

No New Zealand is not that great in this aspect. 15 years ago NZ signed "the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children" Nz hasn't lived up to the promise at all. It is a national shame and I am shocked at how often on the news they tell the sad story of a child that has died by child abuse in their own home. A place were they suppose to be safe.

I often wonder why the rate of abuse is so high in NZ. I think it has many reasons. Alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, teenage pregnancies etc. Another one is bad parenting skills.
When the anti smacking bill came through I was happy and a lot of children were happy. I was highly surprised how many people were strongly opposed. I talked to people and they were passionately telling me that a smack wouldn't do them any harm and that little children need that to listen. I totally disagree. They also wanted that nobody could interfere in their parenting.

Probably it is a lack of alternatives people can come up with in teaching children how to behave. Also it is only a short time ago that physical punishment was still allowed in schools. My husband told me that when he was young, children got strapped on the hand with a ruler at school. The tolerance for Physical punishment might be higher therefore.

I have given a tick a few times because I was overly tired and frustrated . I felt extremely guilty and have offered my excuse to them. It is my responsibility to ask for help when I can't cope or remove myself from a difficult situation. Children should never be at any risk. They should be highly valued They are the future.
I have never given a tick or any other form of physical punishment given out of choice. There are
many, much more effective ways to teach children.

The government should do more to help at risk families. I work in the field and know that much more money should be put into this area. There is a huge difference here between the poor and the rich but it is in the best interest of all that there should be a social system and channel more money toward the ones in need. Parents should be helped to give their children at least a place were they are safe. It is a right and we are all responsible. It is time to do more about it.

Bless all the children in need, Marja


  1. Marja, a strong subject that effects our world over. I agree with you. Lack of teaching and people being willing to step in keeps this going.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I know what you mean and I know this sord of situations to. it happens in holland to and I can say that if you can help a few of them than you did a perfect job. it's not on you to help all of them, that's imposible. good luck and never give up.

  3. It is a frustrating dilema to say the least, the very least.

    Can't even begin to wrap my mind around something as deplorable as child abuse.

    I do believe that it begins at the smallest level, for example, giving a swat on the hand. Find an alternative. Be proactive in the discipline. Teach proventive measures before the child acts out.

    Be patient when the child does act. Be a grown up and remember being a child. It is an over-whelming problem that begins, like you say, with each person in their own home.

    Good post.

    By the way... Thank you so much for the award!!!!


  4. Sadly, this is not confined to New Zealand - it is a worldwide epidemic. The Devil at work - everywhere he can find a way in. Such a horrific thing. I pray for them all.


  5. I did not know this aspect of NZ..somewhere we adults need to take responsibility of how our kids are I guess...

  6. I agree............ but dis agree
    we are getting into a deep thing here........
    I do not think I can express my thoughts with out them being misunderstood,,,,,,,,,,,

  7. spanking to me should be forbidden. there are many effective ways to teach a child the difference between right and wrong and good and bad than hurting another person. If an adult spanks it means that THEY are out of control with their own feelings......great lesson eh?

    Corporal punishment (the strap, and spanking) in Canadian schools is against the law (though like you husband I remember differently). the problem is that the teachers have to deal with so many kids who are undisciplined, out of control and disrepectful. These kids see the world only through their own eyes......and "diss" all authority. They are allowed to get away with verbally and emotionally abusing (even threatening) their teachers, and yet the teachers have absolutely no recourse.

    Parents know better......most of them DO know better.......but for many reasons, sometime socio-economic, sometimes other complicated reasons, they don't stop and think about the ramifications of the importance of setting standards, boundaries, rules and barriers.......of teaching self control, or realizing that we EARN respect and are not born with it, and that we always always respect our elders.

    There is no need to spank........what is needed is consistent love and respect and showing our young ones how to share love.

    Great post Marja. I'm sorry I havent left many comments for a long's been a bit of a roller coaster ride on my end and I try to read but sometimes don't have time to write. hope you're well.


  8. Dearest Marja, this is actually my 2nd blog. I started one much earlier blogging about Nurin alert, akin to Amber Alert in the US. A child, Nurin aged 8, abducted, body left in a bag on a sideway, autopsy shown she died of severe bleeding and they found a cucumber and brinjal inside her, a CCTV nearby recorded the murderer carrying her in a bag on a bike, 2 weeks after her death, pictures of her autopsy was circulated everywhere, I received one. Her murderers are still free and 2 more children are missing since august 2007, none found. Very sad but we are forced to live with reality everyday.

  9. Hmm... this is something I didn't know of... actually, in India it is the same. I was also brought up by getting a few ticks here and there on the hands and legs with a ruler. But I disapprove of this completely.

    ACtually, it is no longer legal to hit a child in most schools in India nowadays. And to the best of my knowledge all my friends and people of this generation do not like to hit their kids. They do try to use other ways to show displeasure... etc..

  10. Unfortunately there are people in this world who are just not equipped to be parents and it is always the children who suffer. We have had a few cases here in Adelaide where children were taken out of their homes and hospitalised due to being severely malnourished. It's very sad indeed.

  11. Children need to be protected...and sometimes parents need help to know how to care for their children. I wish we could help one another more. It's not easy, but children are so precious.
    Thanks : )

  12. Children need to be protected...and sometimes parents need help to know how to care for their children. I wish we could help one another more. It's not easy, but children are so precious.
    Thanks : )

  13. There is a difference between beating a child and giving them a tap on the hand. I think the anti-smacking law is ridiculous. If someone is going to beat a child...having a law against smacking will not stop them harming the child. Well that's my thoughts any way. Hope you still love me x

  14. I agree with all other´s a worldwide problem and not only in NZ.

  15. Hi Missy Yes a stong subject but we own it too the children not to ignore it, isn't it. Yes teaching plays a very important role

    True Bert that's why more people need to make a voice Thanks for your comment

    Yeh thanks it does start at the smallest level. When you never ever buy a lotto ticket or anything for example it is highly unlikely that you become a gambler.
    The same with raising children when you never use it than it is more unlikely you go further so why not ban it
    Thanks for your comment

  16. Yes Poetikat I know but New Zealand is in the top ten countries. I thought some years ago it was when I am right the 6th worst

    Yes Rambler they do need to take responsibility

    Steve petty that you don't give your stand because it is good to have a discussion about it

    Thanks Dana I highly value your comment. You are an authority with lots of knowledge and experience and I totally agree with you.
    I agree also with not being in touch with your feelings but want to add that walking away when you can't cope is also valid. I was exhausted when I gave the tick. Didn't have a night sleep for years because of cry babies and other problems.

    I gave my child a tick on the fingers because after a tiring day
    she started to draw on the wall. I told her not too but she didn't listen. Was actually quite funny The tick was totally ineffective.
    She first nearly started to cry. Than stopped. Looked at me angry. Turned around and with a lot of expression put another line on the wall and looked at me what I would do.
    I walked away.

  17. M. Kate, wow very good of you to pay attention too such a horrible fact.
    I totally can't understand why somebody can do such a thing. As Dana says they are not in touch with their feelings. But if so that is than the worst thing there is. You feel so helpless if things like this happen. Thanks for you comment dear friend.

  18. Yes Anwin luckily we are moving forwards and with our increasing understanding about child development
    we are learning the best ways to treat our children to become healthy adults

  19. I know Gypsy That's why parenting courses are so important but probably the ones who need them the most won't take them

  20. Children are very precious I work with many children and haven't met any bad children. They are still very flexible and they are willing to learn the good way. They just want attention an love.

  21. Hi KB Don't worry I still love you. I just want to be a voice for the children. From what I have seen and I did talk to them any form of physical punishment makes them angry or sad. Not good

    Even in dangerous situations I didn't need to use it. As I said there are much more effective ways on which lots of books are written.
    So why use it at all

    As I said to k.c. if you never use it the change that you go to worse levels of punisment is extremely small. You therefore reduce the risk. Even if 99 out of 100 don't go any further but if you save one life with that that's a lot.
    What if it doesn't have effect the first time, do you increase the power of your tick, smack? Therefore don't use it.
    You don't hit an adult when he doesn't listen. Treat a child with the same respect.
    Furthermore children are much smarter than you think. I worked with the smallest and they never misunderstood me. I only had to adjust the way I communicated with them.
    I hope you agree for the sake of the children

  22. Steffi that's right and everybody should adress this problem because children can't talk for themselves.

  23. Much of the reason for the current problem we have with out-of-control kids is being blamed on schools not being able to discipline their students effectively. Reasoning with a problem child has very little effect - they simply feel they can get away with anything because law says they can't be punished. Whilst I would never condone beating a child, I see no problem with mild punishment. It did me no harm and I'm sure it can have a positive effect on their future development.

  24. Keith as Dana says teachers have to deal with too many children with no respect and problems and have a lack of resources They do discipline children however, but have to much on their plate.

    The most important place were children learn respect and control is in the home.
    Indeed reasoning is not effective especially with teenagers. . parents often fail to set limits and boundaries. You have to have rules and set consequences and follow them up, consistantly.

    Depends on the child and age what works. No computer time is a very effective one in our house. It works every time!!!!! No arguing necessary

    In my article about positive parenting you saw that besides consequenses you reward the behaviour you want. You reinforce good behaviour.
    This is only a glimps of what you can do. You don't have to use physical punishment

    My children had many challenges because of some problems I wrote about. It was hard work but they are both very well behaved!!!!!!!
    I didn't have to physically punish them to achieve that. I do make mistakes but work hard to do it right.

  25. A very deeply disturbing thought. Especially in light of the fact that Sir Truby King began the Plunket movement to save the children in New Zealand.
    So many modern problems, so many people who are never given the support they so badly need. Who pays? Always, the children.


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