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Archive for January, 2014

The case for smacking children – is there really one?


Category Parenting

So this week the so called “smacking debate” hit the media again, thanks to the reports that Mr. Colin Craig, aspiring politician and leader of the as yet unelected “Conservative Party” smacks his daughter.  Blogs were written, and moral outrage has been expressed via comments posts all up and down the country as people peruse the moral argument and passionately defend what they “believe”.

But beliefs aside, what does the current science have to say about the effectiveness of physical punishment of children as a parenting tool?  Does it work?  Wallace and I talked about this on his Sunday morning show on Radio Live.  (Click here for audio of the interview)

As you can imagine, advocates of smacking as a legitimate parenting intervention point out that the research cannot prove a causal link.  That is of course true, it would be unethical to randomly assign children to a “smacking” and “not smacking” group to test the differences.  But tobacco companies made the same argument, and despite that we all now accept that smoking kills people.  Why?

When we look at health research like this we are looking at correlations, and the more studies that keep coming to the same conclusion, the stronger the result.  And the literature on the effects on smacking is both large and consistent, in fact “the research on the effects of corporal punishment achieves a degree of consistency that is rare in social science”  (Click here for the whole article) and “up to 93% of studies now agree” (Click here for the source or see video below)

It’s also important to be clear that the body of research only  looks at what people largely consider “smacking”, that is a hit to the bottom or legs with an open hand, and excludes what most consider violence or abuse.

So, does smacking work?  Not according to a whole raft of studies, and the results are clear and consistent enough that even the American Psychological Association, or APA, have issued a clear statement against smacking.  (Click here for the article).

The various studies look at the effect on short term compliance, long term compliance and affects on aggression.  There is evidence that smacking has a small effect on short term compliance, but it’s not a strong effect and largely it appears that non-smacking alternatives like “time outs” work at least as well, if not better.  Interestingly there seems to be a stronger short term compliance effect with more conduct disordered kids, and there are a minority of studies that suggest the effects might be less under the age of six, but the results are mixed.

However all this comes at a high potential cost.

The problem is smacking tends to decrease long term compliance, that is kids behave less compliantly over time than kids who aren’t smacked, and it also tends to increase their aggressive behavior more generally, and specifically towards other children.  In short, smacking makes kids worse behaved over time, and more likely to see physical violence and aggression as a way to solve their own interpersonal problems.

So are their any adverse long term effects of so called “minor” smacking”?

Again the research is clear that a history of smacking has been associated with (see this article and this article):

  • Increased child aggression,
  • Increased child delinquent and antisocial behaviour
  • Decreased quality of relationship between parent and child
  • Decreased child mental health
  • Increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse
  • Increased adult aggression
  • Increased adult criminal and antisocial behaviour
  • Decreased adult mental health
  • Increased risk of abusing own child or spouse


Quite a risk for some short term compliance.  And again, it’s important to note this is not for severe or abusive assault: these effects increase with even minor smacking:

“The study concluded that even low and common levels of spanking were associated with increases in antisocial behaviour. Unlike studies using other statistical methods, this study suggests that the effect of punishment on behaviour is not linear, and challenges the assumption that only frequent and severe punishment is associated with harmful effects.” (Click here for the whole article)

So what to say to those of you out there thinking “my parents smacked me, and it didn’t do me any harm!”  Well, I would say two things.

Firstly you don’t know it didn’t.  Smacking is associated with all sorts of negative emotional effects, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse.  And those most likely to smack their own children, are those who were smacked.  This is a “negative effect” all on it’s own.

Secondly, you may be right (sort of).  Any so called “adverse event” in development has to balanced against all the other resilience factors in a persons upbringing.  If the occasional smack was the only adverse event in someone lives, they’re probably doing OK, despite but not because of being smacked.

The bottom line is this: “There is no safe threshold on the number of times or how hard you can smack your child” (Click here for whole article)

– See more at:      View the view:


New Zealanders, could you really consider voting for a person like Colin Craig (below) who appears to have a psychological problem? Link to ‘Smacking law is stupid’  below:

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A real Aussie job application..

Grumpy Old Bastard

Grumpy Old Bastard (Photo credit: StooMathiesen)

  • AusThisWeek_440x230

    This is an actual job application that a 75-year-old pensioner submitted to Bunnings in Burleigh Heads. They hired him because he was so funny….


    Kenneth Way (Grumpy Bastard)

    Not lately, but 1 am looking for the right woman (or at least one who will cooperate)

    Company’s Chief Executive or Managing Director. But seriously, whatever’s available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn’t be applying in the first place – would I?

    $150,000 a year plus share options and a Julia Gillard style redundancy package. If that’s not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.


    Target for middle management hostility.

    A lot less than I’m worth.

    My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.

    It was a crap job.


    1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

    Yes, but they’re better suited to a more intimate environment.

    If I had one, would I be here’?

    Of what?

    I think the more appropriate question here would be “Do you have a car that runs?”

    I may already be a winner of the Reader’s Digest Timeshare Free Holiday Offer, so they tell me.

    On the job – no! On my breaks – yes!

    Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy Swedish supermodel with big tits and who thinks I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    Actually, I’d like to be doing that now.

    12 Kms

    Oh yes. absolutely.

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Australian – based Kiwis fed up with second class status. Is the spirit of Anzac dying?


Kiwis living under a bridge in Sydney   Watch this video:

Aired on television 13 Jan 2014
An Australian current affairs programme has reignited a longstanding debate about Kiwis in Ozbeing treated like second-class citizens. The story aired last night and showed Kiwis fed up with the Australian system and want to be treated the same as Australians who move to NZ.
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Christchurch: Place to go in 2014…    Watch this Video
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New York Times rates Christchurch as ‘a place to go’…

English: Scan of photo taken by Bmdavll in Aug...

English: Scan of photo taken by Bmdavll in August 2003. Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



PLACE TO BE: David Walker and Maddie Arthur, from Brisbane, on holiday in Christchurch.

Christchurch has the honour of being the world’s second best place to visit in 2014, according to the New York Times.

As part of its “52 places to visit in 2014” the The Times called Christchurch a “city in transformation” that was experiencing a “rebirth with creativity and wit”.

Thanks to the ingenuity of its “hardy residents” Christchurch was welcoming tourists back again, the influential news organisation said.

Cape Town in South Africa was top of the list with the north coast of California, the Albanian coast and downtown Los Angeles rounding out the top five of 52 places in the world.

The newspaper praised Christchurch entrepreneurs and volunteers that were finding ways of using empty lots to bring life back to the central city – particularly Gap Filler and the Greening the Rubble campaign.It also cited the transitional cathedral by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban as an example of the city’s slow renaissance.

It said businesses were “trickling” back into the city and one bar encapsulated the spirit of the entire city with its name: Revival.    Number two in the list:    Revitalising our city

Acknowledgements:   © Fairfax NZ News

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Read the latest posts at Petes Place

pete's place

pete’s place (Photo credit: marsha-marshmello)


Peterborough Petes
 Petes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A great place to visit.

pete's place

pete’s place (Photo credit: marsha-marshmello)

A variety of posts from Petes Place:

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Lyttleton to lose its old police station built in the 1880’s

Akaroa township, Canterbury, New Zealand - tak...

Akaroa township, Canterbury, New Zealand – taken from the end of wharf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Lorde confirmed she’s performing at the Grammy’s

Lorde isn’t making any old appearance at the Grammys this month – the Kiwi pop star and nominee will also be performing at the American music industry awards ceremony.

The news was confirmed earlier today by the official Grammys Twitter account:


Lorde was forced to pull out of a headlining appearance at the Laneway music festival in Auckland on January 27 after getting four Grammy nominations. The performance clashed with the Grammys on January 26, but she’s putting on a show on January 29 to make up for it.

Last year’s Grammy audience topped 28 million in America alone, and it’s likely Lorde will perform Royals, her hit single which spent nine weeks at No. 1 in the US.

The 17-year-old Kiwi schoolgirl is in the running for song of the year, record of the year, best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album for Pure Heroine.

Her Grammys performance will be on a line-up that includes Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder, Pink, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons.

A special 50th anniversary tribute to the Beatles, The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute, will include a performance by reunited Eurythmics duo Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox and will be recorded the day after the Grammys.

Lorde missed out on a showing in the best new artist category, which featured James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves and Ed Sheeran.

Lorde’s competition for song of the year comes from Bruno Mars‘s Locked out of Heaven, Pink’s Just Give Me a Reason, Katy Perry’s Roar and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘ Same Love.

In the record of the year category she’s up against Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams for Get Lucky, Imagine Dragons for Radioactive, Bruno Mars for Locked out of Heaven and Robin Thicke Featuring TI & Pharrell for Blurred Lines.


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Clean and Green NZ wind power – wind turbines and wind farms…

English: The , also known as the Green Mountai...

English: The , also known as the Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm, near . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Modern Wind Turbines a Far Cry from the Old Windmills

Clean and green New Zealand wind power – wind turbines and wind farms…First published at Qassia:Wind power – wind turbines and wind power. What better product can be produced in our own countries, than pure, unadulterated wind energy? The answer is, of course, none!

China now, and Japan all those decades ago, could copy and produce just about anything – a variety of products, machines and mechanical tools, musical equipment, computers, motor vehicles, boats and planes, clothing and accessories – and food too!

But pure, clean and green, unadulterated New Zealand wind power can never be emulated by China or anybody else for that matter. They may create or buy a New Zealand company to generate windpower here, but it will always be “New Zealand” energy. We will always be buying New Zealand energy products.

Wind power is undoubtably the energy of the future in New Zealand, with its mountainous and hilly terrain, and its reasonable closeness to coastal areas and wind and sea currents. And the sea too, is another energy alternative – using the power of the sea and tidal currents to generate electricity.

In New Zealand the modern wind turbine is a far cry from the old windmills associated with countries like Holland and the other low countries, in ages past. The modern symmetrical and clean lines of the modern wind turbine are appearing in clusters of “wind farms” up and down the country, with many applications to planning committees to create even more of these wind turbine generators.

The majority of New Zealand power is generated in our rivers by hydro electric plants, supplemented by coal fired turbines, geothermal plants, solar energy, wind turbines; and the futuristically planned tidal generators off the coast of the country.

Nuclear energy has never been considered as an option in a country that has actually had a proud and determined anti- nuclear policy for just on a quarter of a century.

What could you expect, I wonder, in another quarter of a century; urban houses with rows of solar panels and a small wind turbine or two attached to their chimneys?

In rural towns and on hundreds of farms around the country rows of solar panels and a small windfarm could be utilized to make them self sufficient in energy. Perhaps in time the bulk of our hydro electric and coal fired plants could be used for industry, schools, universities and hospitals – all of which could have some form of alternative energy generators as well.

Wherever, and however, this energy will be clean and green, pure unadulterated New Zealand energy that cannot be emulated anywhere else on the globe. We will buy New Zealand without a doubt!

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The 2014 equivalent of John Churchill’s ride to Axminister – Cunliffe Labour’s rejection of Rogernomics…

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Cunliffe closing the 2005 Auckland BioBlitz (Photo credit:Wikipedia
So, what would be the 2014 equivalent of John Churchill’s ride to Axminister? In the New Zealand context it could only be David Cunliffe and his colleagues publicly forswearing their allegiance to the 30-year neoliberalmodernisation programmeunleashed by their predecessors in 1984.
The radical-populist argument such an announcement would inevitably inspire would very rapidly “politicise and mobilise” the electorate; transforming the 2014 General Election from a mere test of the public’s readiness to change political managers, into “a presage to revolution”.
Chris Trotter
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