A Central Otago woman has been convicted of assaulting a child after a judge found she used unjustifiable force to discipline her unruly son.

The woman, who was granted final name suppression, denied the charge of Crimes Act assault of her son in Central Otago on August 19, and the case was heard before Judge Michael Turner in the Alexandra District Court recently.

Judge Turner said it was clear her child had significant behavioural issues, and the woman had used force to stop her child being disruptive during the incident.

The child had been kicking and verbally abusing her while she was driving, and the woman had been swiping away the child's punches, she said.

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However, two witnesses, whose names were also suppressed, said they saw her punching at the child with a closed fist.

One of the witnesses said they saw one of the punches connect.

Judge Turner said he found the witnesses to be credible and the charge proven.

"You were trying to stop him but you went too far. Pushing him is fine, punching him is not.''

He commended the woman for the strategies she had to manage her child and encouraged her to find more, and sentenced her to a 12 months' suspended sentence.