It’s Children’s Day today, a great day to recommit to protecting and caring for not just our own babies but for children everywhere. This year is the 10th anniversary of Children’s Day in Aotearoa New Zealand, which aims to:
• heighten awareness of the importance and needs of children in society, and ways of promoting their development
• promote a national focus on children and motivate adults towards positive appreciation and support of children; and
• promote community responses for the ongoing celebration of Children’s Day through local ownership and widespread participation
There are a heap of activities around the country. Check out what Children’s Day events are happening in your area here.
‘Praise and Encouragement’ is this year’s theme, an important message that often gets lost in the daily work of parenting. I remind myself of this often with my girl, when she is getting up my nose. You know how kids always seem to behave better for other people? That just means that they really are great kids, smart, kind, funny and on to it.
Praising our kids for the great things they do is one of the best strategies for parents seeking alternatives to physical discipline for their kids. It reinforces good behaviour and makes kids feel loved, valued, and less likely to act up in future.
It was this kind of abuse that our amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act was all about. Kids deserve legal protection from assault – the same legal standard that we have for adults – and that’s what the law change did.
Last week also saw the release of the Police’s 6th review of how the change to section 59 is working.
Since the law change in 2007 there have only been two prosecutions for acts involving “smacking”. There was one in the last six months, and it wasn’t “trivial” – the victim was left with a visible red welt for three days.
This just goes to show that all the scaremongering about prosecuting “ordinary parents” was just that. We’re not seeing massive number of “trivial” prosecutions. Police have discretion and they are not going after parents for a ‘light smack’.
Police agree that the law change is working well. They say the guidelines their officers have been given for dealing with these cases are appropriate.
The law change that the Greens fought so hard for in the last Parliament was about keeping our kids safe. No longer is there one standard of protection for adults and a lesser one for kids.
We’re absolutely stoked to have achieved this.
I’ll be celebrating this today, and I encourage you all to show your kids some extra special love, praise, and encouragement this Children’s Day.