16 Dec 2013

Changing approach to discipline among Samoan parents

7:52 am on 16 December 2013

The first student to graduate with a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington's Pacific Studies programme, says her doctoral research suggests that a new generation of Samoan parents have a different approach to disciplining their kids.

60-year-old Dr Esther Tumama Cowley-Malcolm, explored Samoan parents' perceptions of and responses to aggressive behaviour in young children and the usefulness of an intervention tool.

The Samoan grandmother says the new generation of New Zealand born Samoans have more tools to use when applying disciplinary measures and access to knowledge far greater than their parents.

She says that's led to an attitude change.

"The stereotyping of Pacific parents as wanting to use hitting or heavy discipline for their children did not apply to these parents in this study."

Victoria's first Pacific Studies PhD graduate Dr Esther Tumama Cowley-Malcolm.