Few parents are keen on smacking as a first resort form of punishment, but as a useful threat or for an immediate impact most parents keep it in reserve, especially for younger children.
Smacking has perhaps been banned in New Zealand. I say perhaps because there is widespread opposition to the new law (some 80% against) and therefore the law has little credibility.
Smacking is of course not child abuse. It has its role in discipline as it has for 1000s of years of parenting.
Is it just me or has the number of child abuse cases risen since the law was passed? Criminals and bullies often operate by transferring the blame for their actions to others. Could it be that these child abusers have decided that they are no longer responsible for their children, but can leave the discipline to others? Do they then get frustrated with the child and lash out?
Parenting is not easy, and it requires consistency, calmness, plenty of sleep, sufficient gin, a genuine love of children and everything they do, plus a sense of humour. Mother Theresa would not qualify. Yet many of the child abusers we see are incapable of holding down a job, incapable of organising their human relationships (constantly fighting with girlfriends, friends and family) and functioning in society only in a very limited way.
How do we expect these dropkicks to be good parents? Obviously we can't. The solution may be to accept that fact, and stop tarring the rest of us with the faults of a few. Another idea would be to stop actively funding the underclass where this sort of abuse happens. Fighting child abuse without fighting for stable two-parent families (where the siblings all have the same parents) is silly. Hansel and Gretal taught us that step-parents often care less.
Also, why are very young children or babies suffering so badly? Obviously babies can be very annoying. They get in the way of your lifestyle by waking you up in the middle of the night. Very young babies don't give a lot back, t least until 4 months or so. But do some parents see newborns as 'not real', just a thing that hasn't become a human yet? A candidate for late term abortion? Younger people are not so sentimental about children either.
There is of course no point in smacking a baby, it is just cruel and pointless since babies really have no idea about free will. I can't remember at what point children can have some control over their behaviour (that a parent must influence) but I suppose it is around 2 years of age. So smacking as discipline simply isn't a factor with the recent cases we have seen. No court would agree that smacking a 3 month old is reasonable.
Of course the other explanation for child abuse is that some people are scumbags. Perhaps we should just leave it at that. Child abuse is illegal and immoral. It was illegal and immoral before parliament's recent ideological burp. But if Sue Bradford, who promoted the law, was hoping that an attempt to criminalise smacking would fix the problem, she has been proven wrong enough times that we should regard all further ideas from that quarter with fullsome suspicion.
The law should be repealed.