Its bring-back-the-birch day for your hard-working MP.
Actually, every day is bring-back-the birch day for him, but three separate stories at Stuff highlight the need for parents to give up their molly-coddling approach to discipline.
The same goes for teachers.
The Bible Says:
“He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes” (Proverbs
We are ignoring this good advice: we are sparing the rod and spoiling the sprogs.
News item number one (here) tells of increasing numbers of fed-up parents wanting schools to get tough on discipline.
This story cites a recent international study which ranked New Zealand students among the worst-behaved in the world..
Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh – bless him – said there was a sea change in how discipline was perceived in schools.
“The public and parents are becoming less tolerant with the restorative justice approach, and want schools to get tough on serious offenders.”
Schools have widely adopted this restorative justice nonsense in recent years (ignoring Alf’s persistent protests and buckling to pressure from namby-pamby liberals deeply imbued with political correctness).
Now – it seems – research has shown that what Alf predicted has come to pass.
Children’s behaviour has grown worse in the past decade, with sexual and physical assaults increasing.
Almost three-quarters – 71 per cent – of respondents in a Sunday Star-Times reader poll, said discipline was lacking in our schools, and blamed the rise in bad behaviour on the loss of discipline at home and a lack of respect among young people.
Walsh said many of the worst-behaved students came to school with violence or sexual deviance learned at home, and it was a difficult balancing act between rehabilitating students and ensuring the safety of others.
The Stuff news item also cites an OECD report, which looked at how long it took teachers to control unruly children.
It ranked New Zealand 50th out of 65 countries for disruptive pupils. Many Asian countries ranked near the top, the United States was 22nd and the United Kingdom 32nd.
Post-Primary Teachers’ Association president Robin Duff agrees student behaviour has deteriorated over the past 30 years.
But he says this followed the pattern of wider society.
The association recently issued members with an instruction to report assaults on teachers to police. Statistics NZ figures show there were 567 assaults in schools last year. The number causing injury rose from 50 to 81 between 2001 and 2011, and sexual assaults more than trebled, from 33 to 116.
A second report on deteriorating discipline (here) addresses the awful incidence of increasing violence among teenage girls.
Dr Donna Swift, a Nelson-based social anthropologist, warns we ignore this at our peril because these are the mothers of the next generation.
The author of a two-year research project, The Girls’ Project, she has investigated violent and anti-social young women in her region.
Her aim now is to put a halt to the cycle of violence by sharing her knowledge throughout the country.
Dr Swift says money needs to be put into developing programmes which will specifically address girls’ violence in the knowledge that the reasons girls are violent is radically different from boys.
Currently, programmes on how to deal with teen violence are aimed at boys, who make up 70 per cent of offenders who come to the attention of police.
But the project revealed there was a definite increase in more aggressive behaviour in girls and that they were becoming violent at a younger age.
Girls were modelling themselves on the “kick-ass” sexualised and aggressive female role models glorified in the media, she said.
The third report (here) is headed Teens need tough love – psychologist
It addresses the issue of brats who run away from home.
One example is a year-old girl who was found by police at a friend’s house where she had been in hiding for several days.
In this case Alf is left seriously perplexed by the complicity of the adults in the household where the girl had been hiding.
According to her father, the mother of the girl’s friend knew that police were looking for her and instructed her not to use her cellphone or social media so they would not be able to find her.
This woman’s side of the story is not told, but it is hard to believe she did not know of the presence in her house of the runaway girl.
If she was aware of it, she deserves punishing too, surely.
But let’s look at the bigger picture.
Nation-wide police say they deal with dozens of reports of runaway teenagers every week.
Most are quickly found and returned home or come home of their own volition. But some remain missing for weeks, even months. A few are never found.
This report goes on to tell of a mother who turned to the parenting organisation Tough Love for help.
It also quotes a registered psychologist, Sara Chatwin, who said if children were repeatedly running away then parents needed to address the underlying reasons why.
Chatwin said parents should not be afraid to set boundaries and lay down the law if their child’s behaviour was getting out of control.
“These days parents don’t do enough to discipline their children or to outline what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in the family because they are very busy,” Chatwin said.
“Parents need to make it clear to the child what is acceptable in our home and what is not.”
Chatwin doesn’t mention administering a healthy dose of corporal punishment now and again.
But Alf recommends it.