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No need to smack children: expert

By Kathryn Torney

A parenting expert is in Belfast today to encourage parents who smack to reconsider how they discipline their children.

Dr Penelope Leach will talk about ‘positive parenting’ and take part in a discussion event between 7pm and 9pm tonight at the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast.

The event, free of charge, has been jointly organised by Children are Unbeatable! (CAU!), a group promoting children’s right to be protected from all corporal punishment and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY).

Dr Leach said: “I wholeheartedly support the two central aims of CAU!: to seek full legal protection from physical punishment for children and young people within the law and to promote positive parenting methods.

“Many parents in the UK still smack their children in the name of discipline, not because they think violence between adults and children is any more acceptable than violence between adults, but because they can’t see what else to do. We need to help all parents to understand that an alternative to smacking isn’t a different punishment but a different approach to discipline.”

“Positive discipline focuses on good behaviour; expects it; makes sure children understand what it is and why; rewards children for it and hopes that it will motivate them to keep on.”

Children’s Commissioner Patricia Lewsley said: “My role is to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people and it is fitting that in the run up to the 21st anniversary of United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child we help promote positive parenting.

“I have no doubt that the interactive nature of this event will lead to some very constructive discussions and debate.”

If you would like to attend, contact Grainne Gilroy on 028 9040 1290 or email grainne@ci-ni.org.uk . For more, log on to www.childrena reunbeatable.org.uk/NorthernIreland and www.niccy.org

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