Dr Robert Larzelere

The Herald has a story on Dr Robert Larzelere, who Family First has out here regarding the smacking ban bill. Dr Larzelere is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on disciplining children.

What I like about Dr Larzelere is he is so moderate on the issue, unlike the extremists who equate serious child abuse with smacking, and on the other side those who think a daily thrashing is good for the soul (not that there are many of those).

Dr Larzelere makes the case that smacking is most effective as a back-up discipline, not a primary disciplinary tool, and only really for kids aged two to six or so. And this I suspect is the common sense approach most parents take – you don’t smack as a first resort but if for example they are refusing to do time out or something.

At the end of the day though it is not even a debate about whether or not smacking is the best way to discipline a child. Is is about whether the state should be banning smacking and telling parents that we are deciding this issue on your behalf.

There is considerable evidence that it is better to breast feed your kids, than artificial milk etc. But does the state pass a law mandating that all mothers must breast feed until at least a year old? No.

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